A little over a year ago I posted 8 Simple Rules at a Bar. I don’t have 8 more rules, but I have continued to make observations and I have some additional thoughts about what happens, what should happen and what should never happen at a bar.
Several observations focus on seating, which can get a little complicated due to people’s normal tendency to follow one of my earlier rules and leave some space between them and the next guy. As the bar gets crowded, you often have to try to slide in between people, ask people to move, or make a decision as to who sits where.
Consider the example where there are two people sitting with an empty stool to their right and left and you and your drinking buddy want to sit at the bar. This is actually a common occurrence and it goes pretty smoothly but I’ve observed a few problems.
The first problem is with language. Some people (myself included) are kind of shy about asking people to move, and the request is a little too wishy washy, or includes a little too much background information and the result is that people are moving before I’m done asking and they have that “why don’t you just ask?” look on their face. A better way would be like when a friend and I recently were asked:
“Do you think you guys could scootch over so my wife and I can sit at the bar?”
That seemed very friendly and we happily complied. I’ve also heard:
“Can you guys shove over so we can sit here?”
“Shove over” was a little rude and the guy asking had positioned himself so that he and his wife would claim the better two seats out of the four in question. The guy that he asked said: “sure, but we’re taking those two seats. “ Rude begets rude.
Based on personal experience, I would avoid any use of “squeeze” if you are asking a woman to move. That never seems to end well. I once suggested to my daughter that we could “squeeze through” the opening between that gate and the guard rail. She stepped into the space, turned around a few times and asked me: “Why do you speak?”
Sticking with the process of entering a crowded bar and the dumb things that guys can do, pay attention to who sits where. A few nights ago a friend and I were having dinner at the bar of a local restaurant when a couple asked a woman to move over one stool so they could sit at the bar. Then the guy sat next to the woman. This didn’t seem to matter until the woman proceeded to strike up a conversation with him about the baseball game that was on. Those two hit it off quite well, but the guy’s wife didn’t seem all that impressed with the new friendship.
With respect to making or joining conversations at a bar, here’s one simple bit of advice – don’t fake sports knowledge. I am kind of shy at a bar, but I am pretty quick to admit that the conversation has gone beyond my knowledge of a particular sport or a particular team. I recently ran into a very knowledgeable guy who started asking me questions about the new players in Pittsburgh after he spied my Pirates shirt. It’s weird to find a Red Sox fan that cares about the Pirates, but there was no point in trying to play along with that conversation. Instead, I asked him why he knew so much and he admitted to being a baseball junkie.
Speaking of sports, and guys, and bars, let me share one of the worst bar pranks ever. Last week I took a friend to dinner for his birthday. He is a rabid New England Patriots fan and I am well known at this bar for being a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since it was his birthday, I asked the bartender to pour his beer in one of their Patriots glasses. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, when I left to use the facilities, he had the bartender pour my beer into one of those glasses. Everyone was quite surprised that I didn’t notice until my beer was almost empty. Pictures were taken and I am now on record as having consumed a beer in a Patriots glass.
The title of the post is something I overheard recently and really should never be asked. The food item in question was the remaining few chicken wings from a shared appetizer plate. Everyone was done eating and the plate was sitting in front of a guy. “Yes, I’m going to eat them” was the response. “The wings are here, I’m here, there’s an endless supply of beer here and you’re driving” – it’s just not that hard to figure out.
One last bit of advice for guys. It’s OK to ask who the female vocalist is blaring from the speakers in the ceiling, unless it turns out to be Justin Bieber. Get SoundHound or some other music identifying app and check that out on the sly. You can survive being the butt of a sports prank, being tagged as a Justin Bieber fan… that might be the end of your run at that bar.