Typically, paying your tab is the only part of a night out at a bar that isn’t fun. But there are ways to inject a little joy into even this most painful of tasks, namely by turning the check into a game. While these games range from tests of skills to absolutely random, they all make settling up just a tad more bearable. Win and you may walk away with a free drink. Lose and you’ll have to pay for your own drinks plus those of your companions (but at least you’ll have some fun in the process).
Credit Card Roulette
If you can’t find a fair way to pick who has to pay, let lady luck decide. Everyone must place a credit or debit card in a hat or empty bag. One card is chosen at random and is charged with the full tab. If lady luck isn’t available (i.e., if you don’t have a proper receptacle for your cards), your server can step in. Give all of the cards to your server and let them pick one at random to front the bill. Just try not to hold it against this innocent barkeep if your card gets picked. There are even apps like Credit Card Roulette and Pay Roulette to digitize the process.
Play a Drinking Game for It
All you normally win in a drinking game is the pride of defeating your friends, but these games only get more intense when the bill is on the line. Any drinking game where players compete alone instead of in teams will work, but we prefer Quarters since it is a game about money, after all. Plus, at least the loser gets a beer to drown the sorrow of paying the group’s tab and a quarter towards their losses.
Make It a Test of Phone-Free Willpower
In the digital age it can be tricky to bring the gang together at the bar without someone texting constantly, browsing Instagram or swiping on Tinder. Not only can this test of will help you decide who pays the bill, but it also doubles as a digital cleanse. Everyone sets their phone on the table at the beginning of the evening. First person to check theirs has to pay the group’s tab. It’s that simple. After a few hours of legit conversation with your pals, you probably won’t be all that upset at having to pay for the pleasure.
Guess the Check
If you’re unwilling to assign the full bill to any one drinker, this guessing game allows you to split the bill but still invites a little fun. Sort of like a reverse auction, this guessing game is a great way to determine how much everyone will pay for a hefty tab when no one has any real idea of the final amount.
The game proceeds in a circle around the group. Each drinker suggests how much they bet an even portion of the check will cost. The next player must agree to that price or go lower. The guessing proceeds around the circle until all players agree on a cost. Whoever chose that exact price collects the money from the group and uses it to pay the bill. If the total is less than the check, that player must pay the extra. If the collected sum is more than the bill, the player keeps the excess.