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4 Secrets To Being The Best At The Bar

Bars can be kind of stressful. They’re cool places for cool people to be cool at. Which is great, unless you’re not cool. Don’t sweat it. There isn’t much in the way of watering hole etiquette that you can violate. For the few ways that you can mess it up super bad, we’ve got you covered with four tips to make you the best bar patron around, bar none.

Nobody gets left behind.

Nobody! Unless you’re a party of two, in which case you’re out of luck. Don’t leave one person minding the table while you and a pal head for the pool table. Don’t leave one person to grab drinks alone for the rest of the table. Don’t take a break outside and leave one of your number twiddling their thumbs. We could go on. Exception: In a party of three, someone has to fall on that grenade and go grab drinks. That person should be you. (“You” will be “They” next time around.)

Elbows in!

Bars get crowded sometimes. Sometimes you’re gonna have to be in the way a little bit — that’s OK. Just resign yourself to getting out of the way. Frequently. Pay attention to folks around you and get used to stepping, turning, and doing all sorts of weird bar yoga to make it easy for everyone to get around. Corollary: Don’t take up more room at the bar than you need. We see you, Mr. Coat-On-The-Stool.

Get water.

Get water for your whole group. This could be a wild assumption, but we like to think that bartenders take a shine to responsible-seeming patrons. Responsible-seeming patrons stay hydrated. You don’t have to go one-to-one and down a pint of water between every Adult Beverage, but keep some handy. And no, you don’t have to tip for water. If you put your bartender through the trouble of pouring a half-dozen cups of water, keep it in mind when you tip for your actual drinks.

Don’t be the loudest person around.

This goes without saying. Some bars are quiet. Some bars are noisy. Either way, don’t be the loudest person in the place. It doesn’t matter if it seems like a “good place to shout”. Let someone else be That Person. If they get louder, then congratulations! You’ve got some rope to work with. If they get quieter, follow suit. Because no one likes the loudest person in a room unless they’re holding a microphone (and even then it’s hit-or-miss).

Got it? Great! You’ve probably been a five-star bargoer long before now, but hopefully a few tips will help make you part of the crowd solution and not the crowd problem. Looking for a quiet watering hole or a not-so-packed one so you don’t have to worry about putting some of what you’ve learned to use? Search the bars category on Yelp and use Yelp’s Ask the Community feature to find the answers you need.