New Rules for Modern Drinking

You're doing it wrong...

A few weeks ago, Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday wrote an article titled, Of manners, movies, and the sorry state of spectatorship.

In it, Hornaday argued that “the cinema today is in a crisis… the worst isn’t necessarily always on or behind the screen. In fact, a distressing proportion of it is coming from an audience in apparent need of tutoring, not only in how to behave in a movie theater, but in managing its own aesthetic expectations.”

To support this statement, she identified five “new rules for the modern moviegoer:”

1. Turn off your phone.  That means texting too.  Seriously.
2. Open your mind. You’re a connoisseur, not just a consumer.
3. A ticket buys the right to watch a movie, not to like it.  No refunds if you don’t.
4. There may be nudity. A man may be sawing his arm off. You were warned.
5. Trash or masterpiece? It’s subjective. Shrug and move on.

While several of the aforementioned are in fact directly applicable to the world of bars and boozing, the article made me think – certainly each of us has experienced or witnessed bar behavior that could be construed as annoying, entitled, or simply downright rude.

So I’ve devised five New Rules for the Modern Drinker, rules that, like Hornaday’s, will provide a little tutoring in managing unreasonable expectations, a sense of entitlement, and ultimately minimizing the potential frustration you might wreak on your fellow patrons and barmates.

1. Have a little patience.  The bartender exists to serves all, not just you.
2. Put away your pretention. Knowledge is grand, but humility is better.
3. Courtesy wins you friends and maybe a buyback.  Ladies, please don’t take advantage.
4. Sip, savor, repeat.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint – no one likes hanging out with That Guy.
5. There may be nudity.  Leave your judgment and cameraphone at home.

That’s my list.  Now I ask you, readers – what other rules might you add?  What are your greatest frustrations from your fellow drinkers?

Published in: on February 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm  Comments (1)  
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A Primer on Bar Etiquette

As a general matter, I prefer not to replicate large portions of articles published elsewhere.  Instead, where possible, I try to quote others’ words to make my own points.  Yet on certain occasions, an article will so inspire me that I must pass its information along verbatim.  This is one of those rare occasions.

This month’s Esquire (June/July 2011) included a two page graphic (pages 158-159), titled How to be a Man…Out in the World, by Chris Jones.  The graphic provided etiquette tips on how a modern man might best present himself in various situations and settings, such as In Public, In a Restaurant, and At the Bar, among others.  It was this last category – At the Bar – that I considered particularly insightful and applicable.  I hope you will as well.

How to Order a Drink: Get as close to the bar as possible in a position where you can make eye contact.  Then wait patiently, card or cash in hand.  No waving or shouting.  And don’t cut in front of anyone else.

How to Order a Drink for a Lady: Discreetly.  Ask the bartender to put her next drink on your tab.  When she receives it, politely wave.  Then wait – the next move (if there is one) is hers to make.

How to Get a Buyback: Do: Buy a few rounds and tip well.  Don’t: Ask for a buyback.

How to Deal with an Asshole at the Bar: Calmly.  Ask him to politely keep it down.  If he persists, not so calmly, but firmly.  Never lose your temper.  Unless punches fly.

Additionally, a piece of restaurant etiquette – How to Split the Bill – is just as applicable when drinking. 

How to Split the Bill: With friends: evenly.  Always.  On Business: the inviter pays.  With parents or in-laws: let them pay.  First date: man pays.  Fifth date: Man pays, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon.

One final observation: the word politely appears twice in the Esquire piece; a gentleman could go far in employing this characteristic as much as possible while enjoying a favorite beverage, especially when in the company of his woman.

Picture courtesy of Adam Simpson and Esquire

Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 7:34 am  Comments (2)  
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