Drinking beers in your friend’s backyard or their parent’s basement isn’t quite the same experience as a bar. There’s a whole new level of etiquette involved, because well, you’re in fucking public so maybe try and conduct yourselves as such. You can always spot someone who is new to the legal watering hole world, and it’s sort of sweet and nostalgic to see the excitement…but also really painful based on the numerous rookie mistakes being made every 30-50 seconds.
Also, let’s be clear, we veterans can make these mistakes too but we have no excuse other than lack of self-control and poor judgement.
Here’s some shit you newbies need to stop doing:
1. Yes, the variety of alcohol available to you is exciting, but that doesn’t mean you should be chasing beer with whiskey, vodka, tequila, and/or rum. You will die…or at the very least come close.
2. Sip. Don’t chug. It’s not a race, it’s not a frat party, and you have to stand in line to get more.
3. Bring cash. Don’t open a tab, you will go broke. Better yet, leave your debit card at home entirely. Your generosity is admired but ill-advised. Do 21-year-olds even have real jobs? I can’t remember.
4. The bouncers aren’t your friends. Stop trying to shoot the shit with them. They just want to go home and kiss their children and pray they don’t turn out like the 100’s of poorly-behaved patrons they see on the daily.
5. Stop instigating the bartenders to card you. The excitement of being legal should last all of one-evening (your birthday) and that’s it.
6. Speaking of birthdays, and I know this is more of a chick thing, but please refrain from wearing a button, ribbon, or hats that lights up declaring you’re 21. I don’t care about the non-light up ones (yes, I realize how ridiculous this sounds, it just irks me).
7. This isn’t your friend’s house, and thusly you don’t have access to food. Eat before you get to the bar. Drinking on an empty stomach is about as logical as showing up to take a test without a writing utensil.
8. Stop jumping up and down in large crowds. Maybe this is just my observational experience, but I feel like 21-year-old dudes travel in packs, get drunk, and then attempt to dance by way of aggressively hopping in circles screaming lyrics from 2001 hits.
9. Not every bar is geared toward your age group. It would be wise to attend bars with a crowd more suited to you, otherwise you’re gonna look like an ass. If you want to party and have a good time, don’t frequent a place where a majority of the patrons are drinking sparkling wine.
10. Additionally, learn how to order a drink. I’m not an alcohol snob, but the bartender is going to ask you what sort of vodka (or whatever you prefer) you wanted in your mixed-drink. Top of the shelf isn’t necessary, but you don’t want engine fuel either. Do your homework before going out and getting annihilated.
11. Dress code with bars is tricky. I realize that a button-down shirt and docksiders isn’t exactly required at a sports bar, so I’m simply going to provide the only hard limit: no sweatpants.
12. I acknowledge that it’s 2016 and that the idea of your iPhone dying while you’re out is terrifying, but please don’t be that douche asking everyone in the bar for a charger.
13. To that point as well, you know those nifty-little charging stations they have at bars/clubs nowadays? Yeah? Don’t use them. You’re either going to get your phone jacked, broken, or you’re going to be worried about the two happening the entire time.
14. Now, for the topic of happy hour. It’s a beautiful thing. Half-priced drinks? Sign me up. But try and remember that happy hour generally takes place earlier on in the evening, say from 5-8 PM. If you plan to stay out until last call, make wise choices during happy hour.
15. There is no shame in ordering water at some point. I repeat: there is no shame in ordering water at some point.
16. Look up what beers are on tap before deciding on a bar. Again, I’m not an alcohol snob, but is there really anything better than a draft beer? Save that bottled shit for the peasants please.
17. Cover fees are a thing, especially in NYC. If you have $30 to your name, it may be more lucrative to go somewhere without having to pay at the door (because if it’s NYC, it will in fact be, $30).
18. Do not request songs to the DJ. He isn’t listening. He’s not going to do it.
19. If there’s one of those fancy new wave Jukeboxes, do not spend 40 dollars playing every album by your favorite artist. People will not like you. Unless, like me, you have spectacular taste in music, in which case, don’t let the haters bring you down.
20. Don’t go to places just because you read about them in a BuzzFeed article. You’re not the fucking Zagat guide. Scope out places for yourself. See what you like. See what fits your personality. Not everyone is designed for smoke machines, shitty EDM music, and glow stick nightclubs.
21. Don’t make the whole experience about picking up chicks or something generic like that. Let that be what you do when you’re 25 and desperate. For now, have fun, relish in your newly legal status and don’t take it for granted.