The 6 Golden Rules to Avoid Blowing Your Bar Budget

“Never open a bar tab. Take out cash at the beginning of the night and don’t spend more than what you take out”

We’ve all heard this one before but let’s be honest, no one does this. And if everyone is having a good time, do you really want to be Irish Exiting because you ran out of cash? Instead use these 6 Golden Rules to save some coin without disrupting your normal Saturday flow:

1. Don’t be “shots guy/girl”

There is a reason this is numero uno, shots are ALWAYS expensive. At the minimum, shots will run you $7-8 each. And that is for the house vodka/tequila/whiskey, which is brutal to get down anyway.

So not only are you getting ripped off by the bar by paying $8 for something that actually costs around 30 cents, but your friends are giving you shit for giving them gasoline tequila…sounds like a real win-win for you huh?

Instead buy a pitcher of beer/sangria/margaritas/etc.Your friends will appreciate the non-gasoline flavor and the drinks will last longer than 2 seconds.

2. Keep rounds to a maximum of 3

“What goes around comes around” does not always hold true in the bar. If you buy drinks for a group of 8 people, there is little to no chance that every other person returns the favor. And would you really want them too anyway? Downing 8 additional drinks at the bar is a recipe for disaster..

By limiting your drink circle to 3 people, you have a much better chance of actually drinking the number of beverages that you paid for at the end of the night.

corona and lime
“And we’re the three best friends that anyone could have” – Alan

3. Pre-game and post-game

Ever notice that most times the pre and post-game end up being more fun than the actual bar/club? This is because you have significant control over who you pre-game with. Most of the time you choose people that you actually like to be around. Any situation can be fun if you are surrounded by the right company.

*Word of Caution: This can be a double-edged sword when it comes to your bar tab. Overdo the pregame and you may end up stumbling into the bar without regard for money.

4. Start with liquor, end with beer/wine

We’ve all heard the urban legend that mixing different types of alcohol will give you a worse hangover. This is a myth, alcohol is alcohol just like a calorie is a calorie. At the end of the day the source is irrelevant.

Pre-game with liquor. You can make (and enjoy) fancy mixed drinks for half the price that you would pay in a bar. When you arrive at the bar make the switch to beer/wine. This will help slow your drinking pace while also saving you money.

Become the mixologist you were always meant to be…

5. Avoid the loud dark dungeons when you’re not feeling like the Dancing Queen

We’ve all been there, the music is blasting, the lights are low and you are looking at the dance floor thinking “I’m really not into this…” Next thing you know your ripping Vodka Red Bulls to drive up that liquid courage. When the only way to have a conversation with someone is to basically have your tongue in their ear, you’re inevitably going to talk less and drink more.

Find some bars with a more laid-back atmosphere and start shooting the breeze with the other people in there. It doesn’t have to be a dive bar either. Just a place where the music isn’t blaring and you can talk to people from more than an inch away. You will be surprised how much fun you can have just chopping it up with strangers. Plus you’ll build some emotional intelligence in the process. Win-win. Moral of the story: talk more, drink less.

casual bar
Absolute gem in NYC: Those who know, know

6. Don’t buy drinks for strangers

That cute guy/girl either wants to talk to you or doesn’t want to talk to you. Buying them a drink is not going to change that. If anything, it puts them in an awkward situation. They have to choose between ignoring you and feeling rude, or humoring you and entertaining an unwanted conversation.

If you think you are catching eyes and they may be interested, then just walk up to them and start a conversation about literally anything. If you hit it off and want to buy them a drink afterwards then by all means go for it. But spending $10 every time you want to start a conversation is an expensive and unnecessary habit.

So to recap:

  1. Buy pitchers, not shots
  2. Keep your drinking circle small
  3. Pre-game and post-game
  4. Liquor at pregame, beer at bar
  5. Avoid the dark and loud dungeons
  6. Don’t waste your money on strangers

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