5 Tips For Drinking At A College Town Bar

Hendrik Wieduwilt
Hendrik Wieduwilt

Upon entering your college town bar, you’ll quickly see it’s not the type of bar one usually sees on television. There’s no women in cocktail dresses sipping on cosmos like in Sex and the City and there’s no gritty truckers drinking beers like in every other horror movie. Rather, it’s like Coyote Ugly, minus the unbelievably attractive bartenders and the dance numbers. It’s loud, it’s crowded, it’s hard to get a drink, and there really is no Cosmo in sight.

So here’s how you do the college town bar with success:

1. Consider pre-gaming before hand.

Bars are crazy expensive, it’s a fact. $4 for a shot of cheap vodka? That’s normal. $7 for a humble Long Island in a plastic cup? Yes. So if your plan is to really go out and get wild, don’t start at the bar, or you’ll be walking home from lack of cab money. So pre-game at home rather than spending a fortune on crappy alcohol.

2. Become a regular at the bar.

This absolutely does have logic to it! When the bar is swarmed with thirsty college kids, the bartenders are literally avoiding contact with everyone because they don’t want 10 people screaming orders in their face at once. But if you come by the bar now and then on slow nights and get to really know the bartenders, they’ll remember you. So then when it’s a busy night, they’re more likely to serve you, the friendly face, than the complete stranger.

You’ll also have the added bonus of knowing the bartender’s name, which you can yell at them when they’re super busy, startling them into actually looking up. Once that eye contact is made, they’re trapped! They’ll be more likely to make you your drink. They’ll also be flattered that you know them by name, putting you in a better light.

3. Take care of your bartender!

This is oh so important! Even on a busy night, bartenders remember faces, as well as the tip that face left. So if you leave a small tip, or worse no tip at all one night, they’ll know. Then when you come back, be it the next day or the next month, that bartender will serve others before you because they know you won’t tip well anyway. Bartenders do work for tips after all.

But if you instead make it clear to your bartender that you’ll take care of them, with a hefty tip I mean, even by yelling it in their face while everyone else is just whimsically trying to get their attention, you’ll be the one the bartender serves. And when you’re back 20 minutes later for the next round, you’ll be prioritized.

The message here is: you take care of your bartender, they’ll take care of you.

4. Come with cash.

We’ve all accepted the fact that cash probably won’t be going obsolete as long as we still have shameful things to buy, so there’s no excuse for refusing to bring cash to a bar. Running a credit card in the bartending world is like actually reading “Heart of Darkness” instead of spark noting it, it feels like forever and all you want to do is throw that copy of the book into the darkness of hell. So for the sake of efficiency and your bartender’s good graces, pay with cash!

5. Base your order on the business of the bar.

If the bar just has a few people casually sipping on drinks and talking, you can go ahead and probably order whatever it is your heart desires. If you’ve been wanting a chocolate martini or an old fashioned, go for it, there’s ample time to make one.

But if it’s Coyote Ugly busy, don’t expect your Daiquiri order to be fulfilled. Instead, as in Coyote Ugly, stick with the basics. Shots, beer, and liquor-mixer drinks. So a screwdriver, gin and tonic, even long island is fine. Just stay clear of anything that comes in fancy glassware.

There’s a reason the classy, upright guy doesn’t leave the bar alone if he doesn’t want to. He tips and acquaints his bartenders, hence he gets his drinks in the fraction of the time as the ordinary man. With all that time saved trying to get a drink, he actually has time to pick up a girl. TC mark

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