no 1. The bar could charge something reasonable for a pint of water.
2. People would be more willing to buy items if they were offered a discount. Give out discount coupons or tickets to people who attend the happy hours. They can use this to buy items they probably wouldn't have otherwise bought. Bars charge above and beyond the cost of many items (especially alcohol, for the price of two bar beers I can go to my local liquor store, buy a 12-pack and get plowed at home, and watch whatever I want to on TV) so any discount they are willing to offer will still net them a profit. You will also potentially draw more people to come out than who would have otherwise stayed home or went to a non-NJYP event.
To everyone that's giving Laura grief about her request:
CLEARLY you do not understand the amount of time, energy, and sweat that it takes to build a relationship with bar/club/venue. CLEARLY you've never thrown events before.
All that nonsense about free-will; freedom of speech, etc are immature red-herrings given by the "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" types.
Yes the point is to socialize and make friends, but who wants a cheap, mooching friend? I certainly don't. If you don't have money to spend, then stay home and make room for the person who does have money to spend.
If you don't drink alcohol, order some food and offer your services as a designated driver. More than likely, people will show their gratitude by paying for your meal.
Bottom line is that businesses need to make money to stay in business. And if they can't afford to pay their water bill, then all you water drinkers are out of luck too.
Grow up and put away childish thinking and support Laura, her efforts and the businesses that open their doors to NJYP.