You Don’t Need an Excuse to Get Together with Your Friends at a Bar

“It’s my birthday!” So?
“I got a promotion!” Oooh, good for you.
“If I don’t get a drink, I’m going to die!” Who cares?
“I feel like seeing my friends.” Now you’re talking.
I’m of Irish descent, so I’m a member of a group of people for whom the bar is a sacred place. “To many of the Irish, whether in Ireland or in New York City, a pub is not just a bar, a place to grab a bottle of beer or a pint of Guinness stout, dark and bitter, yeasty and filling,” Elaine Louie wrote in the New York Times back in 1994. “In Ireland, a pub is the cultural epicenter, the place where people go at night.”
This is not just true for the Irish. The bar (or pub or tavern or cantina or whatever you choose to call it) is the hub, the meeting place, the social capitol for every community. It could be city hall, if the unofficial councilmen could remember their grand plans the next day. There’s a reason one of the colloquial names for a bar is “watering hole.” Like lions and gazelles in the Serengeti, groups converge there to drink. It can be a boardroom, a funeral home, a therapist’s office, or a place to fall in love, depending on the night. Sometimes, though, it’s just a place to have fun.
There aren’t many places for adults to just go and exist at night. When I was a teenager, I would hang out in parking lots. That doesn’t fly past the age of 19. If I don’t want to do something structured, but I don’t feel like sitting at home in front of the TV, either, where do I go? There is but one place.
And I don’t know about you, but my home isn’t set up to accommodate my friends coming over. I live in a small apartment with two roommates and a cat. For whatever reason, like three-quarters of my friends are allergic to cats. I don’t know what this says about us, but I know that it means that we need a cat-free meeting place. The bar is neutral ground. No one is in charge. No one has to play the host. No one has to worry about “is this a shoes-off house? Should I wash my glass? I wish I hadn’t seen Paul’s back issues of Maxim magazine in the bathroom.”
You gotta see your friends, dude! If you only see your friends on special occasions you gotta step your friendship game up. Unless you both work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and your only day off is Memorial Day, you can make time to meet the people who care about you at a mutually-agreed upon place for an hour or two every now and then.
Most of all, though, you’re an adult! You don’t need to make excuses for why you want to go to the bar and see your friends. Did Norm from Cheers explain why he went down those stairs to see Sam and the gang every day? No! He didn’t need to. Everybody knew his name. He went there when he got a job, and he went there when he got laid off. When he was happy and when he was sad. He was a grown (fictional) man and he did what he wanted (within reason)!
If this has inspired you to get your friends together tonight, I ask that you give this Irish toast when you all are assembled: “May your glass ever be full, may the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven a half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.”
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What Drink to Order When She Says She Doesn’t Care

I always don’t know what to get at bars. Years of drinking under my belt and yet I’m always struck by indecisiveness when someone offers to get me something. Usually, I end up with a beer or a copied cocktail I spied across the bar, or, I admit, I tell someone to get me “whatever” or that “I don’t care.” I try not to, because even though I can’t make up my mind at the bar, indecisive orderers sort of annoy me. I blame it on my background in customer service.
I can’t make up my mind, and you’d rather not wait, and the bartender has other people to see to, and it’s filling up, and we’ll have to wait longer if I don’t go now. You see? We both can’t be indecisive. Life’s unfair like that. So to help you, gentlemen and ladies who have been put on the spot, I have a few suggestions:
1. If you just got there
You guys had to take your coats off, find seats, find your friends, and find space at the bar to order, and yet she still didn’t have an opinion on a drink. It’s not like she had that entire time to think of something alcoholic and pleasant to the palate or anything. Put on the spot, you should just get her a Dark and Stormy. It’s such a low commitment order, possibly because it’s sort of the easy, elder sister of Rum and Coke. In an analogy form: Rum and Coke is to the college student as Dark and Stormy is to the graduate.
2. If she’s wearing a faux fur coat and black tights with high waisted shorts
Just get her Bourbon. Make it neat. She’ll talk to you about malts and barrels and ryes, and somehow Crown Royal will be brought up. She’ll drop bar names around Brooklyn that you’ve never really thought too much about to have an opinion, and then she’ll mention either how her dad or grandfather or uncle or her English professor she had romantic entanglements with helped her develop a taste for the stuff. Wait till she grabs a pack of smokes from her canvas tote bag purse and heads outside, then repeat this process over with another glass.
3. If she started quoting authors she’s never read
She probably prefers a Whiskey Ginger. She’ll start talking about her vinyl collection and how long she’s been a vegetarian and how her co-op will kick just about anyone out.
4. If she’s always wearing yoga pants and has a subscription to Birchbox
Get her a Vodka tonic. Heck, go crazy and ask for “with lemon” to boot. She can carry her glass with one hand while she logs her meals for the day on her diet mobile app, then checks Goop for more krazy ideas for Kale.
5. If she likes sweet
Get her a Fuzzy Navel. I know. I know. It’s sort of one of those drinks I hate ordering because I have a bad connotation with it being just so, so silly to say, but the combination of peach schnapps and orange juice (sometimes lemonade) is just too sweet and delicious to distract me from caring. A friend of mine unabashedly identifies it as her favorite, because she is a lover of what she calls “girly drinks,” a phrase which also has negative connotation but shouldn’t. The drink sort of reminds me of an early 2000′s party girl with five million mini ponytails on her head, body glitter, opaque white lipgloss, and a rave in Miami, so maybe that’s why I think it’s a flibbertigibbet of bar orders. It’s time, however, to bring this drink back without shame. Starting now.
6. If she likes her coffee black
Get her a stout beer (or an espresso stout beer if offered). You at least know that she likes her coffee in the morning without any frills, so it’s easier and faster to get through the long Starbucks coffee line. Keep that same mentality at the bar and go for a dark imperial stout. It’s dark like coffee. It also has a nice foam on top and is smooth as hell. It’s basically the bitter brew of the bar orders. Because of this, if she also happens to have doughnuts, croissants, or pie with her at the bar, it’s doubly good to get her a stout to compliment the flavors.
7. If she came from work
Is it Happy Hour and she’s wearing improbably heels and has a story about how Jan in accounting and Dave in IT are out to ruin her life? First, pull her into a hug and be on her side about all of the office conspiracy theories, and then go get her a martini and make it dirty. Make it very, very dirty. Her extreme anger will slowly disappear with the vodka, vermouth, brine, and each Olive she pops into her mouth. Pay attention to her glass and keep them coming until she’s done bemoaning the discrepancies in invoices or whatever the hell that jerk Dave did to her.
8. If she came from a nap
Maybe she needs a kick from champagne or maybe you’re feeling particularly Parisian, but the French 75, made with champagne, Cognac or gin, simple syrup on ice with lemon. The name apparently comes from the French 75mm field gun and a sip gives the drinker a “kick” as if he were shot with one, only less fatal and more bubbly. This drink has the optional bonus of allowing you to order it as a “Soixante Quinze,” but be warned that while impressive, you might sound like a high-falutin douche if you do this in eight out of 10 establishments. But it’s classy and comes in a champagne flute and it looks like you and the sleepy she sort of made an effort in the first place.
9. If you’re really not sure
Get her what you’re having. This route has several benefits. First, you already decided what you were hankering for and playing the guessing game to please her can lead to a slippery slope of a wasted drink she doesn’t care for and/or her bumming off your choice later on. This takes time away from over thinking the situation. Instead, just go back to the bar for whatever you are holding in your hand. This is an added bonus as you now have a prop to point to in case the bar’s too crowded and you have to resort to eye contact and miming for ordering. Besides, if she doesn’t like it as much later, you now have a backup drink for yourself that you don’t have to get later. If not, get her water. She said she didn’t care, right?
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Science Says Hanging Out at the Bar Is Good for You

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Science Says Hanging Out at the Bar Is Good for You

As you sit at that well-worn barstool with your usual drink, looking at the same people, talking about the same inside jokes, seeing the happy hour crowd morph into the trivia loving one, you start to think about changing your lifestyle. Maybe you should leave and join a gym. Maybe you should eat food that isn’t an appetizer. Maybe your friends or relatives or even your friendly local bartender asking why, why exactly are you at the bar so often is starting to make you wonder if you made proper choices in life. Or maybe they’re all just wrong, because I’m here to say that you don’t need to. Nope. In fact, science can back you up on why you’re still sitting on that bar stool like Norm from Cheers. It’s not just because you’re at a place where everbody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Spending late hours or any hours at the bar really isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually good for you.
Because It Builds Up Your Immune System
Early exposure to germs or germ carrying receptacles, also known as children, is important to build up early for immune system health. Though why parents don’t just let kids lick subway poles, rather than interact with the sticky-fingered Timmy at the playground is beyond me, because doesn’t one sound a little less messy than the other?
I guess in the spirit of Timmy and gross jam-covered fingers, you should consider going to the bar as the adult version of the kids‘ germy playground. Jam-covered fingers aside, we’re actually a little more gross. We take direct sips from each others drinks, we eat appetizers with our fingers then touch the communal board games, and I can’t even put the state of the bathroom into words. Despite inspecting the galore of grossness, we’re doing ourselves good just by exposing ourselves to one another, because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, according to Kanye. Thank your local dive bar for being such a cesspool the next time you enter.
Because Chronic Stress is Bad for Your Health
Too much stress, be it from work, or from relationships, or even the giant overthoughts in your brain is not good for you. It’s because your body is constantly trying to regulate your hormone levels, and overexposure to those stressors can lead to various problems like anxiety, depression, sleep issues, weight gain, and heart disease, or even excessive grey hairs and worry lines. That’s why Happy Hour is sometimes necessary and not always about networking or being impressive to your boss. It’s actually about you trying to get along with Jake from accounting, even if he sort of screwed you over in the meeting. Now you two can get past all that and with beers in hand.
Because Glasses of Wine Are Good For You
I always heard this from my mom as she poured herself a glass of red at the dining table: red wine is good for your heart, and she was actually right. I say that with a hint of surprise in my tone because this is from the woman who thought I should’ve put my third-degree burned hand in a pot of dirt like “back in the day.” I didn’t, thank God. Mom must’ve read Mayo Clinic, who says that red wine in moderation is heart healthy and can protect you against artery damage. It will also taste delicious with steak. Of course, not many bars will serve red wine, but to those that do, you’re doing patrons a favor by supplying them with the alcoholic equivalent of an all Kale diet and a gym membership. Well, you sort of are, I guess?
Because Adult Socialization Is Important
I stupidly left socializing my puppy till it was too late. A year later, when I took her to the dog park to rectify this, she was the equivalent of the kid in the class eating paste at the back of the room. She just hid behind the water fountain until this chihuahua stopped humping her favorite chew toy. Whether you are a paste-eating kid, a scaredy dog, or an adult, socialization is important! It really is, says the the University of Rochester Medical Center, who agrees that it’s just as important for adults to socialize because it can “potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular problem and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.” It’ll also help you live longer and just make you a happier, more fulfilled person. See? Chatting up that cute woman standing near the dart board was actually your efforts to fight off future psychological risks. You should incorporate that next time in your pickup line.
Because Staying Up Late Makes You Smarter
You don’t need to be ashamed about yet another late night at the bar, because according to The London School of Economics‘ Psychology department, people who habitually stay up late (and consequently wake up in the middle of the day) tend to have higher IQs than those normal waking up at the crack of dawn folks. Yeah, staying out late the night before while you guys throw back drinks isn’t a sign of you being a wastrel. It’s actually a sign of you being intelligent and evolved. Use those words exactly when someone accuses you of wastrel-ness.
Psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa of The London School said that a human’s general intelligence is shown through his or her ability to adapt and evolve, so when you consider how electricity has changed human nature’s instincts for a set bedtime, those who take advantage of it either by late nights at the office or late nights at the bar are capable of adapting to the new environment. And if you are in a bar, you can adapt to that environment by buying the next round. The other inhabitants will thank you.
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What Drink to Order When She Says She Doesn’t Care
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5 Fool-Proof Drink Orders to Impress on a First Date

So, you’ve finally nabbed a date with that sexy someone and you’re heading out to meet up for a drink. Your hair game is strong, you’re wearing your best duds, and you’re ready to impress with your most charming anecdotes and eye contact. But then your anxiety gets the best of you: what the hell are you going to order? A Shirley Temple with vodka, anything blue with an umbrella, Keystone Light, and anything with an unclever sexual name are all third-date drinks, for once your date already knows and kinda likes you enough to ignore what you’re drinking and focus on just having fun. And once you’re second guessing your libation of choice and dawdling over the menu, the confidence train starts chugging out of the station, leaving you awkward and hesitant. Don’t be that guy, guys and ladies! Here are 5 foolproof date drinks guaranteed to impress the object of your affection / attraction / infatuation, get you buzzed, and keep you calm:
Martini
The drink of James Bond and Dorothy Parker alike, this is a classic cocktail that impresses women with its sophistication and men with its straight-up attitude. Your chosen garnishes (olive? lemon twist?) and level of dirtiness may or may not display your hidden depths. Mmm, mysterious.
Bourbon on the rocks
This is one tasty brown liquor if you do it right, Basil Hayden’s, Knob Creek, and Bulleit are all smooth and pleasant enough to sip straight (or with a splash of seltzer if you’re a cheap date like me) over a long pleasantly rambling chat. If your date’s a whiskey connoisseur they’ll respect your fine taste. If they’re not, you can offer them a taste and impress them with yours. Just make sure to enjoy it slowly so you don’t look like a stiff-drink-swilling lush.
Good Beer
If you prefer pints over drams, a nice craft beer strikes the right balance between making you seem like someone who likes to have a good time but still has a decent palate. Operative word here is good beer. No Anheuser-Busch brews unless you’re at a dive bar or frat party, Choose something crafty or local. Don’t be annoying about describing the craftiness in a snobby way, though. Nobody likes a condescending hipster. Some widely available, super tasty, and ultra-dateable beers are Lagunitas Sumpin Sumpin, Brooklyn Lager, New Belgium Fat Tire, or anything Dogfish Head, though your mileage may vary. (If it’s winter — like it seemingly will be in the Northeast forever until we all die — look for a nice chocolatey porter or creamy vanilla-y stout)
Syrah/Shiraz
An unfussy dark red wine that pairs well with most foods, this varietal (called Syrah or Shiraz depending on where the wine is made, though it’s the same kind of grape) is bold without being overwhelming, just like you should be on a date. (Hey-o!) Bonus: it’s good for your heart, so even if the date’s a dud, your drink’ll have your back.
Mojito
If you simply must have your booze sweet, please for the love of all that is good and holy, choose this refreshing combo of mint, lime, white rum, simple syrup and seltzer over the saccharine sweetness of a frozen margarita or some insipid faux-fruit concoction, In the winter this may be hard to come by but most bars should be able to rustle up a modified version minus the mint. If you feel too prissy asking for it off-menu or you don’t trust the bar’s stock, a bottled (of if you’re lucky, draught) hard cider should hit the same note of refreshing sweetness without making you look like you’ve just turned 21 and are constantly trying to mask the flavor of your “yucky” booze.
Whichever type of drink wets your whistle, order with confidence, don’t get sloppy, and the rest of your date should be smooth sailing. That is, unless your date’s a total lunatic/bore/creep/mouth-breather. But you’re on your own with that one, buddy – I mean, go get ‘em, tiger!
Get More Articles Brought to You by TGIFriday’s:
What Your Drink Says About You On a Date
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What Drink to Order When She Says She Doesn’t Care
You Don’t Need an Excuse to Get Together with Your Friends at a Bar
Science Says Hanging Out at the Bar Is Good for You

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