A Bar Hopper’s Guide To The Galaxy

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A Bar Hopper's Guide To The Galaxy

Hitting the local watering hole after a long work week is time honored tradition for postgrads across the nation. But why settle for the scene of one dive when you could have several, am I right? Exactly. That’s why all too often we jump from bar to bar faster than we change jobs. Enter the bar hop. Before we go any further, it’s important that we understand the difference between bar hopping and bar crawling. Whereas a bar crawl you are on a mission to make a checker board out of your liver, bar hopping is more of an unplanned, experience-oriented event. Depending on the bar, you might not even have to drink, but that isn’t something I would recommend. Hailing from the great city of Atlanta, and Tallahassee before that, I am no stranger to the bar hop and have put together a few tips to keep you standing and the good times rolling.

Respect The Pre-Game

Or it will disrespect you. Don’t be the guy who leaves (or is kicked out via the no vomit policy) early because you couldn’t hang. Then you have to listen to all the awesome stories that you missed when you were passed out. Not to mention that now the nausea, anxiety, and that throbbing pressure just above your right eye was for nothing. Nobody wants that. While a strong pregame is always recommended, take your time with it. Maybe consider some kind of heavy meal? What I’m trying to say is the beer guzzling, keg standing, days are over, my friend. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so lock it up.

Assemble Your Crew

You know Joe who just broke up with his girlfriend and does nothing but play Clash of Clans and cry after five beers? Yeah, leave him at home for this one. Joe’s a great guy, but Joe and his crab shack have no place in your bar hop plans. Typically, you are going to want 3-5 solid dudes that all play certain roles in your friend group. For example, you’re going to want your wildcard buddy. This guy drinks with the mayor at night and goes to church with a stripper in the morning, and nobody has any idea how he does it. You might also consider your, nice guy/silent type friend. They are approachable, and people seem to gravitate toward them, but not like in a, “Hey can you take my picture but then I’m going to leave and never talk to you again” kind of way. More of a “Hey, let me introduce you to all my friends” kind of way. And might I also humbly suggest your married friend. This is the peacemaker/rule keeper of your group. Always down for a good time, but he’s going to be the one to talk you out of trying to see if you can start up that police officer’s motorcycle, or pour beer on that bouncers head. Why? Because if he has to call his wife to bail him out of jail… well let’s just say there’s no coming back from that one.

Have A Plan

Don’t be the dick who says they drive better after they’ve had a couple. That concept is fucking stupid. Figure out how all you clowns are making it your final destinations prior to drinking. This way you don’t hatch some half-baked scheme during the evening for getting back to your bed. Yeah, renting a bicycle from your town’s robust bike sharing program seems like a great idea, but I can promise you it isn’t. If you’re smiling right now, I’m probably talking to you.

Dress To Impress (But Don’t Overdo It)

You wouldn’t work out in a tuxedo, so don’t go the bar in blazer and wing tips. And please, for the love of god, leave the fedora at home. Justin Timberlake is the only guy on the planet who can pull that off, and you sir, are not Justin Timberlake. My standard go-tos are jeans, collared or button down shirt, and boat shoes. Play it safe, and you can’t lose. Of course, shorts will work too depending on the season, but you won’t be hauling any cargo, so leave the shorts of that variety at home. Or better yet, just give them to Goodwill. There is also nothing wrong with jeans and a tee shirt, v or crew neck. Again, I would say steer clear of anything that has a skull on it or is bedazzled to the point that it looks like the wall paper at Lady GaGa’s house. Less is more guys, less is more.

Confidence Is King

Don’t confuse this with the popular misconception of “act like a douchebag.” Not at all what I’m saying; however, I certainly am aware of the very fine line between the two. What I am saying is walk in to the bar with confidence. Confidence is attractive. Attractive people have a better time. It statistically proven. I’d love to cite my source, but we all know I can’t, so just take my word for it and let’s move on. A good loud toast with your bar hop companions is a good way stake your claim and let everyone know that you are there to have a good time. People pick up on this shit, so blend in by standing out. The essence of a good bar hopping evening is random social interactions with people you otherwise would not have met. So say yes to every conversation, no matter how mundane it may sound. Another power move is to own the jukebox. Drop a five spot in there kick the night off with some good ole fashioned bar tunes. You know what they are. I usually like to lead with Carly Rae Jepson’s timeless summer ballad “Call Me Maybe” and bring it home with Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Susy Q.” Feel the room out. A good ocular pat down of your surroundings will provide you with a plethora of information to help shape your music choices. And if everyone reacts poorly to your choices, own it. Remember, confidence!

Find A Bar Keep And Stick With Them

You are off of work and literally rubbing in their faces, so show them some love! Tip early and tip often, preferably in cash if you can. Chumming up to your bartender is the oldest trick in book, but it’s surprising how many people totally ignore this ever so crucial tip. Moreover, it’s surprising how many people are just downright dicks to them. I’m not saying hit on your bartender. Don’t be that guy, besides, it never works and she just laughs at your expense behind the bar. Being friendly, making small talk (if they aren’t too busy) and tipping can sometimes be the difference between a free shot/drink or “Sorry man, bar’s closed”. Play your cards just right and some of those beers you ordered might vanish off your bill altogether. Funny how that happens.

Know When To Make An Exit

As the name might suggest, the concept of bar hopping is all about keeping things fresh and interesting. Once you get settled in, it can be tough to get your lazy friends moving again, especially with a larger group. Even if the venue is rocking, there is going to come a point where you need a change to inject some life into the evening. It’s important to remember that unlike a bar crawl, bar hopping has no set time you can stay at one bar. So the world is your oyster, and you can operate as you please, staying longer for a crazy party, or one drink if it’s dead. The choice is yours. Just make sure you know when to beat feet. Nobody wants to get stuck talking to the possibly homeless man at the end of the bar about his ancient alien theories.

Above all, remember, everything is what you make it. Even an evening that seems like the most boring night out has the ability pull the nose up in the eleventh hour and end up being an epic tale of debauchery. As long as the company is good and the drinks are strong, you shouldn’t have a difficult time making memories, or lack thereof. So hit the bars you crusaders of the cubicles. And if you see me out there and would like to repay me for all the great advice, I’m a big fan of whiskey.

Image via Shutterstock

New England transplant to Atlanta by way of Tallahassee, Florida. An FSU grad, he has been known to drink several cold Natural Lights on school days and enjoys well timed ginger jokes.

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