Food & Drink

The 6 Unspoken Rules of Navigating an Open Bar

An open bar is a beautiful thing. Drinking can get expensive, so getting a chance to imbibe whatever you want without the high markup is a real treat. But just because the alcohol is free doesn’t mean you can forget your manners and sense of common decency. If you plan on imbibing at an open bar in the near future, be sure to follow these six unspoken rules to avoid embarrassing yourself and everyone around you.

No Complaining

No one cares if you don’t like vodka or think ginger beer is the worst. At an open bar, you’ll drink what they’re serving, and you’ll like it. Don’t be the ninny who complains about free alcohol.

Don’t Double Fist First

Usually it’s good to be a trendsetter, but if you’re the first one to double fist, you’ll be seen as the party lush. Let someone else carry that weight while you ride the coattails of dual drink bliss.

No Shoving

We shouldn’t even have to mention this rule because we all learned it in kindergarten, but an open bar can make you forget even the simplest things. So, here’s a refresher: Don’t shove people to get closer to the bar. It’s bad manners, someone could get hurt, and it makes you look like an immature tool. Wait patiently for your turn.

Tip Well

The drinks are free, so don’t be cheap. Even if you’re not paying for your cocktails, show some respect to the bar team that has to deal with the hoards of open bar zombies. Plus, if you tip well on the first drink, the bartender might show you some favor above the stingy folks who didn’t tip. You shouldn’t expect special treatment, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Keep It Simple

If you want a cocktail, stick to the signature menu items (if they have any) or a simple Highball. Beer and wine are also great choices, but don’t try to get fancy with a Mojito or Margarita when the bar line is six people deep. You’re just going to piss off the bar staff and hold up the fun for everyone else.

Pace Yourself

Technically an open bar is a sprint, not a marathon, but you still need to keep your intake under control. There’s always someone who can’t see, stand or walk straight halfway through an open bar. This is a perfect example of how NOT to act. Drink a glass of water in between every libation to keep yourself on your best open bar behavior.