Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How to Own the Night

When you're out for a night on the town, the little things are what can make or break an evening. Especially, when you go out looking for that special someone. Even though those days are over for me, having met my wife in a bar, I can still offer a fair amount of insight from spending time on both sides of the bar counter. Here are some tips I picked up over the years on how to go into any club/bar, and look like you own the place.

1. Walking in the bar is the first step, literally. Some people timidly walk into a bar, and stop just past the doors. They begin looking around like they're lost and don't belong. This is not the way to start off the night. It is important to have confidence when walking into a bar, lengthen your stride, mind your posture, and assertively walk to a predetermined destination. If you are meeting people, go to them first. If you don't see them right away, walk over to the bar and order a drink. Just don't stop like a deer in head lights.

2. Picking a drink. Sometimes trying to order a drink at a busy bar can be difficult. It can be embarrassing if the bartender acts like you're invisible, and starts serving everyone in the bar except you. It is imperative that you do not try to order a drink until you know exactly what you want. If you hesitate the bartender may lose interest, and help someone else. I usually decide on what to drink before I even enter a bar. Also, what you drink can stereotype the kind of person you are to everyone in the bar. Don't order a brightly colored martini with elaborate fruit garnishes unless you want people to think you are a push-over.

3. Time to signal the bar keep. I like to put my arms on the bar counter, and lean in just past the wall of drink-ordering patrons. Don't lean in so much that you encroach on the bartenders space, or make him think you are trying to swipe a bottle from behind the bar. Just enough so that when he looks down the line of customers, he sees your face sticking out of the amongst the crowd. Try to make eye contact with the bartender, and give a friendly nod when he looks at you. More than likely he will come over and help you first.

4. Placing the order. After you have the bartenders attention, order your drink clearly and concisely without hesitation. When he returns with your drink, pay him, thank him, and leave a good tip. For most bartenders in the US, the standard tip is a dollar per drink. If you leave $2 dollars on you first drink, and $1 dollar for each drink thereafter, the bartender will remember you, and tend to serve you first for the rest of the night.

5. Know your limit. Being heavily intoxicated brings out the worst in people, and nobody like an out of control drunk. If you don't drink much, go slow and nurse you drink. If a friends is encouraging you to drink more, order a soda or non- alcoholic beer, they will never know the difference and stop bugging you.

6. Accept liquid courage. Don't to be afraid to strike up a conversation with people you don't know. The main reason people go to bars to talk to other people, just watch for signs if someone does not prefer you company. Be yourself, and have fun. It is not as hard as it seems.

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