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.
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When we drink


I embarked on my first week-long bender because I got dumped. Even when you know it’s coming, when you’re young—or maybe, also, when you’re not—it sucks. Really bad. After pleading and crying and many empty threats, I called some friends, went to the Greyhound station, got hit-on by some dude on his way to a Job Corps forestry program, and tearfully rode the bus to Santa Cruz, where I wallowed in cheap vodka, puked up cheap vodka, and might have eaten a burrito at some point. I stumbled through five misty, hazy days of drunk before catching a ride home. Splitting headache and trembling hands aside, I felt much better than I had before I left. I felt cleansed.
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