An Enthusiast’s guide to open bars


Whether the open bar is a Tuesday night Absolute vodka or Go Girl energy drink-sponsored party at a fancy downtown nightclub, a company holiday party, friend’s wedding, or the UC Davis law school prom, the pairing of these two words is the alcohol enthusiast’s siren song.

But how can we make the most of the two to eight hours of gratis libations?

1. Arrive early and get in line for the bar immediately. Saying “what’s up” to your buddies can wait, and so can checking your coat, scoping out a good table, getting food, eating food, using the restroom (just piss your pants like a real drunk), or, you know—enjoying the party. That long line for the bar is growing longer by the nanosecond, and let’s face it: You’re never going to enjoy the party sober anyways, so get thee to the booze line, stat.

2. Tip your bartenders. Sounds obvious, but surprisingly sometimes forgotten in free booze situations. In addition to being the right thing to do, tipping will endear you to the over-worked event bartenders and help ensure you won’t be ignored during your next 18-29 visits. A friendly chat, warm smile, and some cold, hard cash will go a long way towards ensuring good service at a chaotic event.

3. Don’t be an asshole. Open bars can be on par with New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day for attracting amateur drinkers who don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. At an Important Life Event such as a wedding or 50th birthday party where open bars may—nay, should—exist, guests will be a mixed bag of seasoned drinkers, weekend-warrior types, the very novice, and even underage imbibers. At a club promotion, Enthusiasts incapable of saying no to free alcohol will rub elbows (and possibly other body parts) with the city’s younger see-and-be-seeners. The latter group may not be aware of nor respect the drinker’s code of conduct: although we are anxious to pour sweet, sweet booze down our parched throats we will not in pursuit of this delay another drinker from the same. Don’t let those amateur hour assholes cut you in line, and don’t be the asshole that cuts. Strategy is another story. Knowing, for example, that waiting patiently at the corners of the bar is better than wading through the middle is simply smart planning. But elbowing, say, shorter ladies out of the way so you can get wasted on half a vodka soda faster than I can write a drunk of the day post about it is not cool, peeps.

4. Quadfisting. And we’re not talking about double-V, double-A (this time…). When you’ve waited 40 minutes for a 1/2 ounce shot and Go Girl cocktail, mere double- and triple-fisting is not enough. It’s time to quadfist your drinks. As someone with freakishly-small hands (I recently un-repressed a high school memory of my friends calling me “carny hands”), trust me that carrying four drink in two hands is a trick anyone can pull off, no matter how slick with spilled Go Girl and vomited-up Go Girl the dance floor has become. If you’re a dude with huge hands—congratulations—and not just because that means your penis is correspondingly large, but because you can sexfist your drinks. And I’ll just leave you to ruminate on that.

Open bar picture by Ricardo Diaz (flickr)
Crowded bar picture by Tricia Gdowik (flickr)
Quadfisting photo by Mark Norman Francis (flickr)