Food & Drink

Things No Self-Respecting Adult Should Do at the Bar

Published On 04/15/2016 Published On 04/15/2016
Things No Self-Respecting Person Should Do in a Bar
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

I'm often the worst person at the bar: I'm only referred to as "sir," when it's immediately followed by "you're making a scene." There's a period bar in Old San Antonio with my Polaroid on the wall that reads: "Wanted: Preferably Dead." My mom gave birth to me in Chili's Grill & Bar and now we both have lifetime bans -- and it's a damn shame because I really like half-priced apps

That's why you should listen to me. And remember, we all suck sometimes, but what's important, is making sure at least one person around you sucks slightly more. These rules -- nay, guidelines -- should help you do just that. Print them out and staple them to your wingman/woman's back. Or just try to remember them; whatever's easier for you.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Wave your bills at the bartender

It's like waving little presidential flashcards that read: "Hey! I'm a dick!"

Not tip your bartender well

Like professional elephant mohels, bartenders rely on big tips to make a living. Obviously, the size of the tip fluctuates to accommodate variables -- like how complicated the drinks are, how busy the bar is, how sexy the bartender looks, and how much money you don't have -- but even if you order a simple pint of Midori on the rocks, at least drop $2. Preferably in a $2 bill, because they are just neat. 


I have a friend, I don't want to blow up his spot, so let's call him "Rob Alexson." I saw him throw up on a chair in a bar once. It was decidedly uncool. At least make it to the bathroom and try to up your chucks in a civil manner. 

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Reach over the bar to steal drinks

This is the one and only time a reach-around is not courteous. 

Hose the bathroom down

Even if you are a man in the shittiest dive bar bathroom in the world, just remember: someone's sweet little grandma may come in later and need to tinkle. I know mine probably would. Aim to please, as they say.

Stay in the bathroom for longer than four minutes 

The bar bathroom is a vessel for many (fun and/or necessary) things that often can't be done in the light of even the darkest, dingiest bar. Whatever you need to do can be done in four minutes tops. Trust me. I've done it. And by "it," I mean everything. And by "everything," I mean nothing, obviously.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist


Why can't you just keep your emotions locked inside until they physically transpose into debilitating heart disease and/or crippling depression... like a real man?

Change the channel to something only you would like

No one is trying to watch Family Feud and look at Steve Harvey's shiny, mustached, name-flubbing head on a Saturday night, friends. 

Smuggle in outside food

I have to admit, I do this all the time. But again, I'm kind of a jerk. I always have pizza in my pocket for some reason. But if the establishment offers up its own snacks, it probably won't take too kindly to you bringing in yours. 

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Bring in outside liquor 

This is true: I took a swig of whiskey from a bottle smuggled in by some girl inside my favorite college bar the week of my graduation. I was banned until AFTER the ceremony and it was devastating. But we buried the hatchet and the bar put me in its Facebook cover photo. It's also important to note that this is illegal as fuck, in most cases.

Take your shirt off

If you are a girl, this is a little less frowned upon. I'm not trying to be sexist, but the female body is just generally more pleasant than its Y chromosome-packing counterparts. It's why Degas didn't paint a bunch of dudes pirouetting.

Ask the bartender to water your drink down

This is the alcohol equivalent of going to see Legends of the Fall in theaters, and asking the projectionist to cut the film right at the beginning of the third act, which is obviously the best act. Get your money's worth, buddy. 

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Deny yourself a "girly" drink

What kind of heteronormative, machismo maniac would deny himself the opportunity to sip a delicious appletini if he so chooses? There's no such thing as a chick drink. And even if there was, this is America, dammit. We do what we want. 

Post up at a busy bar after you ordered

"Yeah, this extremely crowded bar counter is the perfect place to stand and casually sip my appletini! I also enjoy sitting criss-cross applesauce in the middle of subway trains during rush hour."

Stand in front of the taps and ask the bartender what they have on tap

It's like that friend that always asks you what time it is even though he has an iPhone, a watch, and is also wearing a comically oversized clock as a necklace.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Fall asleep

This is the universe telling you that you are either way too young, or way too old, to be out this late. 

Make out for more than two minutes at a time

Get a room. Or least a sizable dumpster to squat behind. Or a dark alley. Or put a coat over your heads. I don't know. 

Get an erection

Again, at least go find a dumpster, alley, or coat. Or a bathroom. For four minutes.

Order fancy cocktails at a dive bar

If the bar you walk into has sawdust on the floor, a special on PBR pitchers, and Rob Alexson puking on chairs, it's not the place to order a bougie-ass cocktail. Your bartender will have to look it up. It will probably be gross as hell, and it's likely they haven't used that bottle of Chartreuse since the Reagan administration. As Liam Neeson said in Batman Begins (and probably some other movies, too), "Always mind your surroundings."

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Hit on girls/guys that are clearly there with someone

Unless you are pretty sure you are more interesting/rich/attractive then the person they are currently with. In that case, carry on.

Play shitty songs

"Sweet Caroline" is so bad, so bad, so bad

Talk on the phone for more than like, 30 seconds

This was only really cool in the '80s, when Whitney Houston ruled the charts, everybody slicked their hair back, and cellular phones (also called car phones) were the size of watermelons and a total status symbol. Now, my 12-year-old niece has a nicer iPhone than I do and you can just text people, ya dummy. 

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Be an annoyingly overzealous sports fan

I can see the veins in your neck, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should never matter enough in your life to cause your veins to pop out. Also, your team can't hear you. 

Break a glass and don't clean it up

There (potentially) will be blood.


Even if someone else's broken glass cuts through your flippy-flops, you should still probably remove yourself from the situation. 

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Get into fights

For some guys (and girls!) going to a bar and getting into fisticuffs is as normal as going to the circus and smelling elephants -- which is to say, it will definitely happen. Americans have a lot of pent-up anger. It's why every video game is about murder. So, there are always exceptions to the rule -- like when someone questions your spouse's honor, or when Rob Alexson defiles your chair with his vom -- but for the most part, try to act like you aren't the coolest kid in fourth grade.

Try to force conversations about politics and/or religion

You know what would really make America great again? If you didn't use your Intro to Poli-Sci class from eight years ago as a license to believe you are an expert in anything. 

Buy someone a drink and expect them to be interested in you

Also, I don't know about you, but I would much prefer an order of tater tots.

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Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. He's never once peed on a busboy, but once he threw up on a horse. Follow him: @wilfulton.



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