Everyone has a booze-bum friend who never contributes any alcohol to the party, but has zero qualms about beelining straight for the top-shelf stuff as soon as it's set down. Are you that friend? Oh man, you might be that friend.
And while some are simply unabashed mooches, others are merely ignorant of protocol. In an effort to inform well-intentioned partiers, we decided to explore the proper booze-bringing etiquette for nine different event environments.
Your boss invites her "inner circle" of trusted employees to her apartment for a holiday get-together
What to Bring:
Nice bottle of wine, or a big bomber or two of craft beer
Unless you hate the idea of a sustainable career, you don't want to show up with a plastic handle of Old Crow
yelling, "Where the party at!?!" This is an excellent opportunity to bond with co-workers, but don't let the fact that they're CO-WORKERS escape you. A nice bottle of wine, or a 22oz or two of classy craft beer, will trick them into thinking you don't eat cereal out of Solo cups on a daily basis.
A friend is taking you as their guest to a sporting event, concert, or matinee performance of Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots
What to Do:
Offer to buy a beer and a hot dog
Shame on you if you don't offer to at least spring for a drink and a dog. Even if they didn't actually pay for the tickets, they still took you of all people. Don't make them regret their decision or you could be taken off their extra-tickets invite list forever, which World Book
confirms is a long time.
A housewarming party for a friend who, yeah, he's your "friend", but you're not calling him up to hang just the two of you or anything
What to Bring:
Split a liter bottle of liquor with two buds
Housewarmings are one of those events where you really look like a cheap schmuck if you show up empty-handed. That being said, you don't need to break the bank on this one considering you're not that close with the host. Get one or two of your pals who are also peripherally friends with this dude to get down on a bottle with you, and you can present it to him as a group. Make sure you're the one carrying it into the party though, so you get all the credit.
The Party: A raucous Halloween party at a friend's house
What to Bring: Two-liter of soda
Why: Regardless of what you bring to this party, one thing is for certain -- nobody will notice, as your hosts will most likely be too caught up in making sure their house doesn't burn to the ground to care. Do you really want to spring for a bottle of liquor so a bunch of random sexy Sumo wrestlers can party on your dime and then not even have the decency to compliment your Cash Mummy Millionaire costume?
The Party: A small pre-game comprised of five to ten close friends
What to Bring: Liter of liquor or twenty-four pack of beer
Why: You know how they say you should tip more if the restaurant or bar is a local joint you frequent often? Same goes for a pre-game with your close friends. Just because they're good friends doesn't mean it's an opportunity to skimp because "ehhh, they won't care." Bring more than your fair share for this one.
The Party: Some girl you don't really know is having a birthday pre-game
What to Bring: Split a handle of liquor with a friend or two
Why: There are a lot of factors to consider here, but if this is potentially a new group of girls that you and your friends could infiltrate, you've gotta make a good impression. Taking slugs of Rumple Minze from your flask in the corner is likely not going to make that impression. Make a real show of gifting the handle to the birthday girl as a "present", before immediately taking it back once she's distracted by all her birthday girl-ing, and drinking it yourself.
The Party: You're visiting your younger brother at his college and attending a house party
What to Bring: Liter of top-shelf booze
Why: No, you cannot get away with mooching off 21yr-olds. This is a great opportunity to show off in front of children who still suckle from the teat of plastic liquor bottles. Once the college kids see you strutting around, good stuff in hand, the whispers of "Whoa, Greg's brother must be doing really well for himself since he graduated" will commence. Even if your brother isn't named Greg, they'll say that. College kids call everyone Greg these days.
The Party: A co-worker you have a massive crush on invites you over to her place to cook you dinner
What to Bring: LOL, yeah right! This is never going to happen to you, you fat idiot.
The Party: You're staying the weekend as a guest at a friend's Summer house
What to Bring: Protocol varies
Why: If the host's parents are there, show up with a semi-nice bottle of wine, awkwardly present it to them, and you've done your job. If this is a NO PARENTS ALLOWED weekend, you should bring an entire handle of liquor. You're getting an awesome weekend with free lodging -- the least you can do is get your host liquored up. If you don't anticipate doing much drinking at the house, insist on buying your host multiple shots at a bar. All of this will help them forget that you sunk their pontoon boat last year.