It is always tempting for me to throw my responsibility to the wind as a person who controls the flow of booze and teach my boys a lesson who shout at me “It’s my birthday!” But, alas, I do the right thing. My temptation is to get this newly out and about 21 year old beyond sloshed to the point of throwing up and making an ass of himself, but what will that create in the end? I have written an article a while back on bar etiquette and bar behavior, but I feel with the influx of new Seattle transplants and the Back-To-School social pressures, along with the introduction of a new nightclub in Capitol Hill, Q, we must revisit and advise. I mean, what are friends for?
I could just list a bunch of rules, but I won’t. I will just go into some common interactions I have had. The most common request I get from the newbie is “make it strong.” First, anything over an ounce of booze is considered a heavy pour. Second, chances are you mixed your booze with some form of carbonation which ensures that alcohol gets into your system at a faster rate. Third, do I come to your classes and say “read faster.”? Trust the bartender to know how to serve you to. We don’t want to clean up your vomit. We don’t want to go to jail when you leave the bar and get behind the wheel. We don’t want you to get hurt! Just know that it takes 1 hour for your liver to process 1 ounce of booze.
It’s my birthday! I think this may be one of the most celebrated times for most younger people. We want you to celebrate with us! But, see the above. We will pace you. Don’t expect free shit either!! That annoys us! I may toss ya a shot for your birthday on us or maybe even your first cocktail. But that is up to me! I don’t know about you, but I like remembering my birthday.
‘Prefunking’ or ‘Pregaming’….whatever the kids are calling it these days. Do NOT do it if you are a newbie. If I see you are the least bit intoxicated when you arrive for your first drink as a result of pregaming, oh and I will know, you can rest assured I will pace you like no other. This is the number one mistake newbies make when venturing out to the bars. Drinking a bottle of vodka then driving to the club is hardly a smart decision. Just have a cocktail or two then cab to the club. That is true pregaming!
When I was young and beautiful eons ago, a wise bartender once said to me: Keep it simple stupid. This was prompted after I approached the bar for a drink and I ordered a Long Island Iced Tea – a varsity level drink, no matter who you are. I was taken aback at first, but after years in the industry, it made sense. I was NOT ready to handle all that booze. Boys and girls, stick to one-liquor drinks when you begin to build your tolerance. Better yet, ask the bartender to make you something they like. Usually, it is a your best bet.
Know your limits! Now, I know this is hard to understand since you are just my young Padawans right now. But, in time, you will pick up on your own physical/behavorial cues that signal, “Bitch! Better slow down before I end up in a sling in some stranger’s dungeon in the middle of Virginia.” (Ok…maybe that was too personal.) At any rate, begin to notice what happens to you as you have more and more drinks. For me, my nose will start to get numb. As soon as that happens, I switch to water. I am not saying run home and call it a night. Just slow down! Trust me, if you want to know, I can tell you what most of your cues are. I know them!!
I will tell you a story about one of my favorite customers who exhibits the most obvious cues. He starts out his night with a “Hey, Bill!” and a peck on the cheek. Then after about 3-4 drinks his shirt comes off. He is buzzed, but not quite obnoxious yet. At that time, I slow his roll a bit with some pacing. After another drink or two, he climbs on the bar. That is the point where he is past his limit. Done!
Lowered inhibitions are a definite sign. That leads me to matters of safety, knowing your surroundings and protecting yourself from the ill intentions of others. Have you ever heard of someone being “slipped a mickey?” (See Mr. Strangeways post from yesterday…) It is not this crazy myth that can happen when you are not paying attention. It DOES happen! Keep your drink in your hand at all times! If it is unattended, I will throw it away and you will not get another. If I had a dime for every time someone came up to me and says “Somebody threw my drink away.” I just ask “How’s that possible, if it was in your hand?”
A good friend of mine just had this happen to him a few weeks ago. He had 2 drinks and the next thing I know, he’s passed out in the bar. It scared me because I never knew him to become that plastered… I also knew he only had 2 drinks. Now, I had my fair share of drug overdose cases in the late night dance clubs, but this is not your choice and you don’t want to be a victim. Watch your drinks as much as you are watching the boys!!
I know I geared this article to new drinkers, but I know you veterans can take a little from this as well. When Q opens next weekend, it will be packed with newbies and the pros. Look out for each other! I have been trying to live by the golden rule since I moved to Seattle. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! Have a good time, and a safe time and don’t be stupid!