There’s More To Bars Than Booze
Now to be sure: bars exist to provide us with sweet, sweet oblivion in bottles, casks, pints and on the rocks. Er… I mean alcohol. But while there are bars whose sole purpose is depleting the blood levels in your alcohol system and providing the lubricant with which to separate people from both their money and their underwear, drinking isn’t the only attraction bars offer.
Many bars also double as music venues, featuring local and touring bands; if you’re a fan of live music and are looking to bond with other music lovers, you may well want to spend some time with your local alt-weekly and seeing who is playing over the weekend. In fact, if you’re more of a performer than a listener, many bars have karaoke nights. Some, in fact, regularly host karoke with live bands backing you up. It’s one thing when it’s just you, the DJ and a rickety karaoke machine that’s more duct tape than music. It’s another entirely when you’re rocking out in front of a screaming audience with a band shredding behind you.
Many bars, especially those that pattern style themselves after English or Irish pubs will host trivia nights. I’ve recommended pub quizes such as those hosted by Geeks Who Drink as excellent first dates, but they can also serve as ice breakers and openers to conversations with people as well. Whether you’re offering to team up with other singletons or comparing answers afterwards, pub quizzes give you plenty of opportunities to initiate conversation with new people.
Now, I hate to keep bragging on Austin1 but a number of our bars here are just plain awesome. The Kung-Fu Saloon and Recess are both arcades for adults, with classic video games to go with the beers and shots. The High Ball on the other hand is a cocktail lounge with karaoke rooms and a goddamn bowling alley as well as regular events such as swing nights, dance classes, Fantastic Arcade and Adult Prom. The booze is almost secondary.
Worth noting: just because you don’t drink doesn’t mean that you’re somehow excluded from going to bars. Nobody is going to throw you out for having a Diet Coke instead of a shot of Jack and a Lone Star chaser. If you’re feeling especially self-conscious, you can always Bruce Wayne it: get a tonic water with lime and let people assume you’re having G&Ts.
Avoid the Feeding Frenzy
The biggest stigma surrounding trying to meet people at bars comes from the meat market atmosphere – when bars are filled with would be players and letches who’ve been gearing up for the weekend and are headed out like hunters into the Serengeti, determined to bag themselves a one-night stand or die trying. As the night wears on, the bars are louder and rowdier and every woman in the place has endured the unending stream of jackasses with a little liquid courage in their veins trying to ply them with drinks and bad pick-up lines. Small wonder that bars take on the reputations they do.
It gets even worse at the end of the night when bars turn into what I like to call “The Wounded Gazelle Game”; the last of the bros determined to take someone, anyone home as last call roles around turn into hyenas, hoping to pick off a drunk woman or two who wandered away from her friends like a gazelle that wandered too far from the herd.
The best time to meet someone at a bar isn’t when the crowds start to filter in at 10, 11 PM on Friday night; it’s during Happy Hour, between 7 and 9 when people have just gotten off work and are starting to unwind. A woman at a bar in the early evening is more likely to be receptive to someone approaching her in a friendly, low-key way… especially if he signals early that he’s going to be making an exit sooner rather than later. Meeting someone earlier in the evening – before the hordes of jerks descend upon the bars like locusts unto Egypt – means that you’re meeting someone whose excitement for the evening is ramping up, rather than being worn down by the constant pick up attempts. You’ll be in a better position to have a fun conversation, show just how cool and charming you actually are… and then bow out after getting her number. Giving her an easy out – “I can only stay a little bit, I have to meet my friends” means that not only are you not going to be a social burden on her by overstaying your welcome, but you’re considerate of her comfort. You’re more likely to leave on a high-note… and she’ll be far more likely to actually pick up when you call than if she gave you her number as a means to get you to leave already.
Meeting someone cool earlier in the day also takes the pressure off of you for the rest of the evening; you won’t be spending the night cruising around like a shark looking for easy prey. Instead you can spend your evening on camaraderie and having fun with your friends.
Which is, after all, the best reason to go to a bar.
- Oh that’s a fucking lie… [↩]