CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For almost two weeks now, a bartender in Downtown Corpus Christi has noticed locals and tourists alike doing the same thing as they walk into the bar where he works.
"It’s kind of funny watching them come in and be on their phones and checking in and everything," Michael Cantu from The Gold Fish said.
They're checking in on the Corpus Christi Margarita Pass that Visit Corpus Christi launched March 10.
Staff members from that tourism group selected 11 bars and restaurants based off the quality of their signature margaritas to be on the pass.
Participants first download it from the Visit Corpus Christi website and then use the pass to check in when they visit those establishments.
The more check ins, the more Margarita Pass-themed prizes you get.
For one — it's a sticker, five — a tote bag, and all 11 — a margarita cocktail kit.
“We are really wanting to enhance the visitor experience and locals' experience here in Corpus Christi," Visit Corpus Christi Brand Manager America Segura said. "So we’re wanting to showcase more of the bars and restaurants and different attractions that we have here in Corpus Christi through these passes."
Segura's group created a similar pass in hopes of drawing people to downtown businesses during the holiday shopping season, but she says the Margarita Pass is quickly becoming more successful.
This new program features eight downtown bars and restaurants — but also three in the shadow of the J.F.K. Causeway — Doc's, Snoopy's, and Marker 37 Marina.
“We wanted to make sure that we were including the two major spots that our visitors tend to stay, which of course, would be on The Island and Downtown,” Segura said.
Visit Corpus Christ timed the release of the Margarita Pass so that Spring Breakers would be able to use it.
Cantu says he saw plenty of them doing it, and he's hopeful business will continue to improve from the lull of the COVID-19 pandemic — thanks in part to the Margarita Pass.
“It’s been a fun and very busy Spring Break," he said. "It just lets us know that Corpus is healing a little bit, and I think we’re going to have a busy summer coming up."