I'm turning 21 soon, and I would love to hear any advice you all have to share. Mainly, I would like some advice on how to NOT look like a ”newbie” at bars and such. However, any advice you have for drinking in general would be greatly welcomed.

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Drinking:

Always have a driver before going out.  Have plans in case your driver falls through.

Find a drink you like and stick to it.

Rum and coke is usually the cheapest mixed drink you'll find, unless they're running specials.

Be wary of the pretty colored drinks, they tend to not taste like alcohol and it's easy to overdo it.

Same applies with a proper Long Island, they're cheap, consist of only alcohol, and don't taste like it.

Move in between drinks, whether you're dancing, moving to another bar, or just going out to smoke.  Don't just sit and drink all night, you wont feel it until you stand up the first time.

Eat the ice.

If you're going all night, eat food while you're drinking.  Bar foods are great.  Anything with cheese and bread.

If you're strapped for cash, pregame before going out.  It's cheaper to drink at home, but don't go too far or you'll never make it out.  Also, don't eat.

Once your lips start to tingle, maintain.  When your cheeks start to tingle, slow down.

Don't get too drunk to fuck.

Before going out place two bottles of Gatorade and eight Ibuprofen on your night stand.  When you get home, before you pass out, drink one Gatorade and take four Ibuprofen.  When you wake up at 0430 to piss, drink the other Gatorade and take the rest of the Ibuprofen.

Bars:

Don't flash money or snap your fingers to get attention, just give a nod and a slight wave to let the bartender know you're ready

Keep the orders short and simple.

Know what you're getting before you saddle up to the bar, bartenders don't have time to waste waiting on you.  If you ask what they have on tap and can't immediately decide, tell them to come back around.

Tip one dollar for every five you spend.

If you get hooked up on a price, tip the difference.

Pay attention to the flow of the place, each bar has it's own personality.  Don't break the character of the establishment.

Watch where you stand to order.  There are certain places at a bar which will get you served quicker.  Sometimes it's front and center, sometimes it's the corner where the servers go back and forth.  Some places will insure you never get served; the back corner, right behind the taps.

Flirt with the servers.  Don't smack their ass.

Money Saving:

Put the cash you want to spend in one pocket.  Cash for your emergency cab ride home in the other.  Remember which is which.

Don't take your credit/debit cards with you.

Never open a tab, always pay with cash.

When you're out of cash, go home.

As for where to stand. Every bartender I know has told me this one. Don't stand at the spot where the servers come to the bar. It usually has two metals rails and maybe a rubber mat for trays on it. Or is the part where the door to the bar it. Its where the servers come. If you stand there you will be ignored.

I'll go with Shane on a lot of things, but I'll add and disagree on some

Drinking: 

"Don't sit" is very important. I once felt fine and passed out on standing up. 

Don't start pissing until you really really really have to. Once the floodgates are open you can't close them, and it will seem as if your pissing more than taking in. 

Find out what drinks you react to in what way. People differ greatly. I'll go on vodka, scotch and tequila all night, but slip me a Jaeger and I'll be praying at the porcelain altar in no time. 

Get really obnoxiously drunk at least once. Do it at home with a couple of friends. Get to know yourself on alcohol. You'll be able to watch your progress much better afterwards.

I'm not a fan of medication. I think it just masks the lack of fluids in your head. Drink and keep drinking lots of water or Gatorade during the night.

Bars:

Tip well on your first or second order. It shows the bartender you're there to stay, and he or she will serve you well all night. It's better to tip well once than to let someone 'keep the change'. 

If you're in a busy bar or club and have a big or complicated order (more than 6 different drinks), write it down on a coaster or napkin and give it to the bartender. They'll be happy, as it avoids mistakes and shouting over the bar for 5 minutes. 

If you shout out your order while the bartender is busy or it isn't your turn, you can pretty much forget it for the rest of the night. 

If the bartender tries to take your order but the guy or girl next to you was first, let them go first. Bartenders admire the honesty and will serve you directly after. 

If it's not to busy, ask for their names. Asking someones attention by name is OK. 

Lastly: Have fun!

Great post comment!

I would add drink 1 water for every drink.  In the case of low acholol drinks you can to to 1 water every 2.

The water will do two things, 1 hydrate you and help you meter yourself, 2 keep you away from hangovers.

Shooters = Something so horrid the point is to get it past your mouth so you can get drunk.  I don't see a reason for that at all.

 

With the water, if you're not drinking it throughout the night, don't drink it at the end of the night.

To add, when you lie down at the end of the night and the room starts spinning, put one foot on the floor.  I don't remember all the science behind it, but it stabilizes your equilibrium.

Don't over do it. Drink a glass of water for every two hard drinks or every four beers. It will keep you hydrated and more sober. Don't get sloppy drunk just maintain a slight buzz that will make you less inhibited but not stupid. Women do not like men to be drunk. If you buy a woman a drink get one for her friend too, don't ignore the friend. Get the friend to like you and the one you want will follow. Don't hassle the barmaids or waitresses, they heard every line in the book and you won't impress them (you'll just sound stupid). When you meet a woman, make it ALL about her not YOU. If she's interested she will start asking about YOU. Don't waste your time with a woman that blows you off there are plenty more out there that won't. Be a gentleman and don't take advantage of a drunk chick. Act like you've been there. Be sincere.

Another thing..Don't drink ANYTHING through a straw...that is NOT manly!

My advice would be to not drink or smoke. I do neither, and it may be better for your health as the years roll by.

You are young, and have time, but try your best at achieving worthy goals in life sooner rather than later. Don't be lazy. Time is precious. So go for it. Appreciate what you have. Love people who love you.

Be wary of anything that doesn't look 'right' and don't take drinks from strangers. And check out a bar's history first. And if you're drinking overseas, this is even more important. 

My brother was in China and he damn near died from alcohol poisoning. Long story short, methylated spirits tastes like shit so that you DON'T drink it. He spent a week in hospital throwing his guts up and barely made it home alive. 

Go slow. I don't know how many times when I was younger I had that awful moment in a bar when I realized I should have stopped two or three drinks ago. If you are like me and feel the need to have something in your hand all night then alternate between alcoholic drinks and non. A pint glass of water is the best (and cheapest) but if you are with the guys and they are going to hassle you all night about not drinking then just get a coke. It looks the same as rum and coke and you don't have to listen to your drunk friends hassling you. Shane's idea of changing bars or dancing between drinks is a good idea. Nothing worse than standing up in a bar and suddenly realizing that you are too drunk.

 

Avoid the fancy drinks. Rum & coke, vodka & orange (called a screwdriver), or rye&ginger are nice simple drinks that taste good. The fancier ones are expensive and are easy to over drink since you can't taste the alcohol.

 

Simple rule: Liquor then beer, never fear. Beer then liquor, never sicker. Basically, its best to not mix beer with bar shots when you are first getting used to alcohol. Pick a drink and stick to it. But if you do want to mix then have your spirits first and then switch to beer.

 

Never drink and drive. I know they say that you burn one drink per hour but if you had so much as one drink don't go near a wheel for a day. Think of it this way. Accidents happen. If you hit a kid, even if sober, but had a drink that day, you'd always wonder if it made a difference. Not worth it. Remember too that sleeping for a couple of hours doesn't mean its the next day either. It just means that you had your last drink a couple of hours ago. Same goes for getting in a friend's car. Either have a non-drinking driver or keep enough money for a cab.

 

Keep your cab money in a separate pocket that you will not touch until going home. You will be amazed how quickly you can clean out your wallet after a few drinks.

 

Spread your money around your pockets and don't take out a wad or a wallet at the bar. Just take out the few dollars you need for the drink. Had a buddy once who took out a wad to count out what he needed at a bar. He was punched in the back by one guy while another took his money.

 

If you are going out and gonna get drunk then stay with your buddies and keep an eye on your buddies who are drunk. The guys who run into trouble (either mugged or fall in a river or something) are the ones who wander off drunk alone.

One more thing. When I think back to my youth. If I could blame any trouble I've ever got into while drinking I can think of only one common thing.

Tequila. Honestly, the dumbest things I've ever done all relate to that spirit. Go easy on it.

Don't let all your friends take you to a shot bar and let each one of them buy you a shot. You won't make it long into the night.

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