The Fourth Avenue Merchants Association wants to invite you to spend your Friday on the avenue.

Grab a beer — you can save a buck on drafts all day Friday, June 2, at Bar Passe, 417 N. Fourth — or get some free garlicky, knotted goodness with your lunchtime pizza at Brooklyn Pizza Company, 534 N. Fourth.

Heck, spend your whole Friday on the avenue and enjoy a plethora of special deals and discounts from nearly 20 restaurants, retailers or bars as part of the association’s new Fridays on Fourth initiative.

“We want to encourage people when they are thinking about what they are going to do Friday nights to consider Fourth Avenue,” said Fred Ronstadt, the association’s executive director.

Fridays on Fourth, which launches on June 2 and continues weekly, is the association’s latest and most expansive merchants program to date. Each week dozens of the avenue’s 120 merchants will offer discounts on merchandise, eats, drinks and services as a way to encourage people to make Fourth Avenue a Friday regular destination.

The program comes as the dreaded annual summertime slowdown kicks in. Merchants throughout the city brace for a dramatic drop in business throughout the summer months, driven largely by the exodus of University of Arizona students and winter visitors.

Downtown businesses are particularly hard-hit, which is why Ronstadt and the association are trying to head off the hurt before it starts.

Ronstadt said Fourth Avenue is a little better positioned to weather some of the biggest business declines because of the avenue’s business diversity with unique retail shops operating alongside restaurants and bars.

Ronstadt said the list of merchants offering Fridays on Fourth deals could change weekly. It’s a volunteer program so some merchants might opt out. Some of this offers in this week’s inaugural Fridays on Fourth are good for Fridays indefinitely.

“Our hope is that people who already know about the avenue and love it get a deal for coming down here, and people who have no experience with Fourth Avenue will come down and enjoy it and love it like we do,” Ronstadt said.

For a complete list of participating merchants, visit fridaysonfourth.com

Here are some of the inaugural Fridays on Fourth deals:

  • Bison Witches, 326 N. Fourth Ave.: $4 draft wheat beers.
  • Cafe Passe, 417 N. Fourth: Four bucks gets you a 12-ounce coffee and pastry.
  • Che’s Lounge, 350 N. Fourth: Four bucks gets you the bartenders choice cocktail.
  • Delectables Restaurant & Catering, 533 N. Fourth: Perfect finale for a Friday — Two for one sangria.
  • Magpies Gourmet Pizza, 605 N. Fourth: The tale of twos — Two medium pizzas with two toppings, $22.
  • Mr. Heads, 513 N. Fourth: Get $2 mugs of PBR, $3 well drinks all day at this classic downtown dive bar.
  • Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth: Take 10 percent off the staff’s favorite books from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Creative Ventures, 522 N. Fourth: Knock 20 percent off all salt lamps, the perfect complement to creating some ambiance on the homefront.
  • Mabel’s on 4th, 419 N. Fourth: Here’s a great deal without strings: 10 percent off any item in the store.
  • Rustic Candle Company, 324 N. Fourth: Shave 15 percent off the price of all their funky shaped candles.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter: @Starburch

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.