It’s about reading the room.
Lots of us have been in this position. Waiting for a space to open up at the bar so we can squeeze between the two guys in power suits talking a bit too loudly about their “p & l’s” just to get cold feet once the bartender gives their attention. Then you don’t know what to order so you get a Jack and Coke, as per usual.
If you’re somewhat of a regular drinker, you probably have a go-to libation. If it’s Jack & Coke…change it, that’s embarrassing. Kidding, but there really are so many amazing options out there, it can be a lot of fun to try new things. If you’re feeling adventurous, try going to a cocktail bar rather than your normal sports dive. The drinks will be more expensive, but look at it like an opportunity to try something that’s been especially crafted for maximum enjoyment.
Believe it or not, a lot of bartenders really enjoy their job. It’s creative, fun, and always different. If you’re up for it, give them a couple of instructions and let them do the creative part. For example, if you know you want tequila and you know you don’t like spicy, say that. Odds are they’ll come up with something new and different that’s really exciting. They’re not there to gouge you and try to create a drink that’s as expensive as possible. They want you to enjoy yourself so you stick around and have more drinks.
Gin is a really exciting spirit right now, so ordering something gin based will probably give you a bit of cred with the bartender. This plays in your favor because when you come back, they’ll be more likely to engage and less likely to avoid you because you’re the loud asshole barking a drink order at them. Try a 50/50 gin martini, which is equal parts gin and vermouth. It’s a classic drink that rarely gets ordered anymore.
On the other hand, if you find yourself in a dive bar as opposed to your normal cocktail lounge, there’s certain etiquette as well. You don’t want to ask a dive bartender to craft you a bespoke cocktail. That’s not what they’re there for. The best route to go in a dive bar is a decent bottled beer and a shot of decent whiskey or tequila. The reason you order bottled in a dive bar is because sometimes they haven’t cleaned their taps in quite awhile and those things can get nasty. Also, sip on the shot, don’t shoot it. One of the best things about dive bars are the prices, so you’d be surprised at how affordable their top shelf spirits can be.
Adapting to your surroundings is a necessity for any successful gentleman. You never know who you might meet at any given place. Being able to fit in will help you have the best time. Knowing what to order to drink will also help with this.
Enjoy your weekend!