I'm not familiar with the bar scene - I have been drinking mostly at home so that I don't have to worry about driving afterwards. However, recently I found a nice bar in the area I moved to and would like to try going out once in a while. What type of drink should I order if I want to hangout at the bar for one hour after 11 pm? I see many folks getting cocktails like such as margaritas and martinis, but is it against the norm to order beer, wine, or shots?

I do not plan to have dinner. The bar is mellow and catered to young adults - the clientele is older than freshman college students.

  • 5
    If you are a guy then maybe avoid girly drinks with umbrellas unless that is the image you want to portray. Other than that drink what you like.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 3, 2016 at 20:02

9 Answers 9


Order what you like. Drink what you like. Life is too short to drink what someone else wants or expects you to. If people care what you're drinking at this bar, then I question why you'd want to be there.

  • 2
    Yea pretty much. I haven't come across any bar or pub where it's not socially acceptable to drink pretty much whatever you want. I would add, though, that you should keep in mind what's actually available in the bar you're at. For instance, if it's more of a run-down place keep your cocktails simple (rum/cokes, etc).
    – Cdn_Dev
    Jun 2, 2016 at 17:32

You should drink anything you like - but if you intend to have one drink and nurse it for an hour, there are some considerations for optimizing the experience.

Ice cubes are not nice cubes

Most of your typical highballs (shot of liquor topped up with a soft drink) are served "on the rocks" - with as much ice as the establishment thinks it can get away with. The longer you hold your drink, the more of the ice will melt and dilute the beverage.

The same goes for beers that will typically be consumed cool, like IPAs or lagers. Watch out for American Adjunct Lagers (Bud, Coors) in particular - you do not want to drink those warm.

On the other hand, darker beers are often served at what's called cellar temperature, so it's no big deal if you let them stand for a bit.

Try stronger flavours

A lager or a sweet white wine is as drinkable as juice or water, meaning that it will not last too long. Go for a red wine or strong beer - I recommend Belgian quadrupels, barleywine, stouts (especially Imperial or barrel-aged) and Imperial/Double IPAs. As an added bonus, these are not typically consumed ice-cold. For mixed drinks, lowballs (cocktails that are mostly liquor) are a good choice. Order them neat or straight (no ice) to avoid dilution. Can't go wrong with an Old Fashioned or Sazerac.

Variety can be nice

Drinking the same thing all night can be a little dull. If a bar has a good selection of beers, it will offer a flight - 4-6 small glasses with different beers. This typically costs as much as, or slightly more than, one pint of beer. It will also help you pick a beer in the future, since you get to sample a whole bunch.

  • 1
    I would add to that if you are used to highly carbonated beers like Bud then if you move to drinking cask or bottle conditioned ale it is easy to be fooled into drinking more because you are not filled up by CO2
    – user23614
    Jun 3, 2016 at 15:48

This really just comes down to personal preference if you can haply sit and drink a stout all night, or a larger, or even cocktails it all comes down to how you handle the alcohol. It is certainly not against the norm to order a beer wine or shots. Bars cater for the many not the few, so if you want to drink beer all night drink beer all night, don't be affected with what people around you are drinking.

Even cocktail bars that I have been to still serve a variety of different drinks so don't be worried about ordering a beer


This is a good question that a lot of people wonder about. Ordering whatever you like, as many of these answers say, is totally right, though I don't think that's the full story. The way that you order can help you build a relationship with your bartender (and other patrons), and that is always a good thing. An example of this is a shot of a liqueur called Fernet Branca, a shot of Fernet for a while now has been known as the bartenders handshake (don't call it that when ordering, just ask for a shot of Fernet), it's a way to tell a bartender that you respect their craft. You can get any ol' beer to wash it down. Keep in mind though that Fernet tastes pretty terrible to most people the first time they try it.

The biggest thing I would say is to try new things, get to know what's out there. This will help you learn what you like and let's bartenders really flex their skill, and they love it... at cocktail bars, not so much at dive bars, but it sounds like you have a nice spot there. If you like Gin, google some classic gin drinks and try ordering them. Order an Army Navy, a Corpse Reviver #2, or a Hemingway Daiquiri for example. Keep in mind that you won't be know the difference between the drinks that your bartenders know and the ones that are obscure, until you get to know the lay of the land so just stay humble and keep to the really familiar drinks when the bartender is crazy busy. Also, feel free when it's not busy, to use adjectives to order... "I want something sweet with whisky" or "something bitter and herbal". Keep the communication open, they know what they're doing.

Just to get the ball rolling for you, here are a few to start with.... Brandy Alexander is sweet and the perfect nightcap. An Amaretto Sour with a splash of bourbon, another easy going cocktail, it's a twist on a classic and created by one of the biggest names in the industry. A Negroni, it became super popular not long ago and has been a little bit over done since then but, you should order one and know what everyone went crazy over. Be ready, it'll be bitter.

As a last note, whoever said that you should avoid girly drinks as a man is wrong, there's no such thing. I've proudly ordered a Cosmopolitan in a bar and it was delicious. Sit upright and hold your head high. If you're looking at me I'll give you something to see.


If it's busy just grab a double Gin and Tonic and sip on that for half an hour or so while the bar settles down. Once it gets quieter you can ask the bartender for a recommendation on a local IPA and try something like Mojo in the Denver airport. After that you should try something seasonal. For instance, if it's Cinco De Mayo you might want a couple tequila shots and some Coronas to follow that up. Well, at least that's what I did Friday when my flight to LA was delayed. Cheers, to whatever you choose to enjoy... responsibly of course.


You can drink what you want, but usually there are some social rules. If you don't fancy cocktails, in a young adult type of bar (25-35 years old) wine is perfectly acceptable. If you order beer, order something better than regular beer, as import beer. And if you are not alone, shots are alright as well.

  • 3
    Why shouldn't he order "regular beer"? Everyone should order what they like, not what they think others expect them to order.
    – jalynn2
    Jun 2, 2016 at 17:09
  • Once it's in the glass and the head has died down, it's hard to tell whether the beer is imported or "regular."
    – SPavel
    Jun 3, 2016 at 22:41

Try a few different whiskies, neat. A decent single malt can be sipped for about 30 minutes without much degradation in taste-quality. There's nothing wrong with ordering a glass of water to go with it, and in fact, it's common to do so.

Some widely available entry-level easy-to-drink single malts: Glenfiddich 12, Macallan 12, Highland Park 12, and Glenmorangie 10


Yes order what you want but in Canada our biggest lottery system is called 6/49 and if you ask your bartender for a 6/49 then it becomes a way for them to showcase their skills because they will then literally serve you anything that they think you will like.

However, some of the go-to drinks I tend to order at bar (excluding beers and wines) are usually rail drinks like gin & tonic; gin & gingerale; diet coke & tequila (trust me on this that it doesn't taste as good with either diet pepsi or non-diet coke); but when getting fancy I'll go for a mojito, a Ceasar or a SoCo Ameretto Lime (mostly due to a song by a fave band of mine when I was a kid). I keep also hearing in certain circles about the resurgence of older cocktails like the Old-Fashioned, Whiskey Sour and Tom Collins.

However, the best approach would be to be upfront with your bartender, tell him you don't know what you like and are wiling to try anything they make. They might ask you palate-testing questions (like what you like to eat or not) and if you answer honestly, you'll likely end up with a great cocktail recommendation from them.


The bar is an excellent place to try new drinks that you don't want to buy an entire bottle. Or to try a different brand of hard liquor!

Start with something you know and love, then you can always become more adventurous as the night goes on!

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