Should I Drink Before This Event: A Situational Breakdown


Pregaming. It’s not just a way to get unnecessarily drunk before an event, it’s a way of life. But how do you know if the event you’re going to is something you should pregame? Is it something that’s socially acceptable to be drunk at? Is it something that’s not socially acceptable, but still more enjoyable drunk? Is it something that you need to be sober for? More importantly, is it something you’ll be judged for being drunk at? These are hard questions. Luckily, I have the answers. Take a look through this handy guide and find out if you can drink before your event.

Sociably Acceptable

Sports game

I don’t care if it’s an NFL, MLB, NCAA, NWBA or even a fucking soccer game. if you’re not drinking before the game, what are you even doing? 90% of sports are better viewed on a 60 inch HD TV with super slow-mo and replays. The only upside of watching a game in person is the ambiance. Ambiance is a French word that loosely translates to “being drunk.” Tailgate in the lot. Pass a bottle on the train. Hit the bars outside the stadium. Whatever you do, don’t walk into the arena without a little sauce in your blood.

Amount of pre-drinks: 6-8. If you could clearly pass a DUI test, you shouldn’t be watching the game.


Should you really drink before an event that hosts a four-hour open bar? Absolutely, you should. Weddings are for fun, dancing, and celebrating love. Alcohol makes you have more fun, dance better, and be more willing to celebrate love in the hotel bathroom with a bridesmaid you met six hours prior. If you don’t toss a few back to get loose before the ceremony, why did you even RSVP “attending?”

Amount of pre-drinks: 3. There’s still the champagne hour and the open bar. Don’t try and sprint a marathon.

Rec league sports

Rec is short for recreation, right? Recreation means an activity of leisure and enjoyment, and the last time I checked, that’s what drinking is. I’ve played on teams in every sport from volleyball to flag football to soccer, and I’ve had six shots of vodka in my Gatorade during every game. Alcohol makes you loose, and being loose makes you play better. That’s sports science.

Amount of pre-drinks: 4-6. Whatever gets you in that sweet spot where you’re too drunk to think but not too drunk to play. 

Socially unacceptable, but recommended

Baby shower/a children’s birthday party

Both of these are boring as hell, but also frowned upon showing up to shitfaced. Or at least, frowned upon by nerds. If you’re going to be stuck talking about babies, interacting with babies, or watching a pregnant woman open baby-themed presents painstakingly slowly, I say you need some alcohol content in your blood. Just do it on the sly so the mother-to-be doesn’t call you out in a fit of jealousy over her inability to drink.

Amount of pre-drinks: 4. You should be classified as “a little too drunk to be there.” It’s the only way to get through it.

Company happy hour

Obviously, you’re going to be drinking once you get there. Also obviously, you don’t want your boss to know just how much you’re drinking. Every beer you pound before the event is another beer you don’t have to admit you drank at a work event. You get to be loose enough to interact with your awkward coworkers, and seem sober enough to be a nice, upstanding employee. Win-win. 

Amount of pre-drinks: 1 drink for every two you will consume at the event. You’ll seem like you drink responsibly, while actually being 33% more drunk than you appear.

A movie

Personally, I’m not a fan of drinking in a movie theatre. I can’t follow the plot I paid $15 to see, I’m 100% more likely to fall asleep, and I have to get up every fifteen minutes to pee. However, if this is your scene, go for it. I don’t know why watching a movie is something that’s socially unacceptable to pregame, but I’m all for changing our cultural norms.

Amount of pre-drinks: Whatever won’t make you pass out hard enough to snore/not wake up during the end credits, I guess.

A funeral

Socially acceptable? Definitely not. Necessary? Sometimes. A good rule of thumb is if you were close enough to the deceased to be given a pass for certain eccentricities, you can get a buzz on beforehand. If not, stay sober. If it’s your cousin you’ve known since you were a kid and you want a whiskey blanket to cover up your emotions, I say go for it. If it’s your mom’s second-aunt who you’ve met once, you can last a few hours while being respectfully sober.

Amount of pre-drinks: 2 max. There is absolutely no leeway for drunken antics at a funeral, so keep it tight.

Socially unacceptable, and not recommended

A non-drinking work event

If your boss isn’t drinking, you’re not drinking. I don’t care how boring the seminar/trade show/award ceremony is, if this is a purely work event, you need to stay sober. You don’t want rumors of “your problem” being whispered in the company.

A doctor’s appointment

Look, I get it. You’re going to be bored, uncomfortable, and someone might see you naked. Usually, those are problems to solve with a few stiff drinks. However, if you roll into the office smelling like a brewery, you’re going to get sent home with a bunch of pamphlets and an ass-load of judgment. Also, I guess it’ll be harder for them to figure out what’s wrong with you if you’re actually sick. I honestly can’t decide if this applies to dentists as well.

An intervention

Believe me, I know how tempting it is to toss a few back preemptively to help protect against the awkward tension that will definitely be present. But the cons way outweigh the pros. Best case scenario, your friends know you pregamed and think you’re a piece of shit. Worst case, the person who you’re intervening smells it on you, gets the better of your drunken judgment, and you both end up closing down a bar while your friends plan another intervention for both of you. This is assuming it’s not your intervention, of course. If so, definitely show up wasted, you’ll hopefully never get the chance to again.

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Nick Arcadia

The opposite of a life coach. Email or DM me if you want some bad advice:

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