My plans for New Year’s Eve will go something like this: At 11:55 p.m., sweat will run down the back of my neck, into the little black dress I was encouraged to wear for the occasion. The drink orders will have been nonstop for hours, but particularly overwhelming the last 10 minutes or so as every table wants a new round to ring in the New Year. There will be no back-up bartender to help, because our manager has pulled someone off the bar to help hand out flutes of free bubbly.
All of it, though, pales in comparison to That Guy.
The one who, in the midst of the biggest drink rush of the year, will nonetheless shove his way forward to the bar to complain about the music, temperature or something else I have no control over.
The one who will have ordered a round in advance of the ball-dropping but who is now so caught up in conversation with the people behind him that he doesn’t notice his drinks arrived five minutes ago.
The one who will shove his hand in my face thinking that almost poking me in the eye will make me more readily available to get him a drink. (He’s also the one who will be cut off later, only to turn it into a big scene.)
The one who, at 11:59 p.m., will shove a half empty bottle of champagne in my hand and say, “Happy New Year, baby. Let’s get ready for round two.”
Now, I know it’s not your job to make mine easier, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to get fucked up on New Year’s Eve, and trust me, That Guy is always doing it wrong.
Here then is how not to be him.
Open a Tab
I cannot stress this enough. I dedicated an entire post to how important being good at opening (and closing) your tab is, and nights like New Year’s Eve elevate the importance of throwing a card down at the start of the night (and keeping it open until you leave) tenfold.
For the love of all things holy, unless you’re paying cash for each drink — which would be great by the way — give me your card and remind me of your last name when you order each round. I don’t have time to run your credit card for every Scotch you want or glass of wine your date orders, and there are a lot of “red Visa cards” in the pile.
Help me help you: Open a fucking tab and remind me of who you are every time you ask me to put another drink(s) on it.
Don’t Order a Drink and Walk Away
Just because it’s New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean you get to forget how being in a bar works. If you order a drink from the bar and aren’t still standing there when your bartender gets back from making it, your drink will sit on the bar and melt until you figure it out. I’m not going to duck out from under the bar, work my way through the crowd and find you to hand-deliver your drink.
This happens more often that it should, and I still can’t figure out why. You ordered at the bar, right? So why wouldn’t you just wait for your drink where you ordered it?
I had someone order a Talisker 18, on the rocks, which, for you non-Scotch drinkers or those, like me, without a wallet that weighs as much as a brick, is a really expensive drink. And I did leave the bar to find him so he could pay for it. But not after everyone around him had watched me try everything I could to get his attention and thought he was a total prick.
Don’t Sit Down at A Dirty Seat and/or Table
I get it, believe me, it’s busy, and seats are hard to come by. But if you sit down immediately after someone leaves, you’re making it worse. When people get up and leave and their seats are instantly filled by new faces, we don’t always know they’re new — people with drinks in front of them at certain seats are pretty interchangeable when you interact with upwards of 200 strangers a night. We probably won’t notice you aren’t the people that just got up and left and realize you need to be greeted and given menus, new glasses of water, etc.
Empty seats, we notice.
So if you’re willing to wait 25 seconds for us to clear off the seats and set you up properly, we’d be able to start our interaction off right.
If you’re worried about someone swooping in and stealing the seats you’ve had your eye on, stand right behind them and tell us you’ll be sitting there, you’re just going to let us clear the glasses and wipe the bar down first.
Don’t Expect a Midnight Toast
Most, bars will do a complimentary toast of bubbly at midnight, but this isn’t something you get to request, demand or otherwise be an asshole about if it’s not happening.
Anticipate the Pre-Ball-Drop Rush
Yes, having a drink in your hand for the strike of midnight is very important, but no one ever said the New Year will be full of bad sex if it’s not a full drink you’re holding when the clock strikes 12.
Plan ahead: If, at 11:30, you’ve got less than half a drink, by all means, get another one. If it’s 11:55? Relax. The bar isn’t going to run out of alcohol in the next half hour. Make a toast with that drink, kiss your date and order another round in the New Year.
About That Kiss…
Keep it classy. Odds are I haven’t had as much to drink as you have by midnight (although I’m probably not far behind), and few things are less revolting than witnessing a sloppy drunken makeout between two strangers when you’re sober.
Especially if you’re sitting at the bar.
I’ve watched, horrified but unable to move or speak, as a couple kissing at the bar moved from making out to the guy unbuttoning the girl’s pants and moving his fingers inside her jeans.
The flash of pink panties shocked me out of my stupor.
It was me getting the round of applause as I gave them their check and told them that under no circumstances was anyone hitting third base on my watch.
If You Get Cut Off, Take It Gracefully
If you’re told you’re done for the night, because a) you’re slurring; b) you’re stumbling; c) you’re crying; d) you’re being aggressive; and/or e) you’re just generally being a pain in the ass and have had enough to drink, grab a glass of water and settle your tab. Because being refused another alcoholic beverage doesn’t mean your night is over — in fact, it usually means you can now ride out your buzz without increasing the chances of you puking all over your shoes.
Do Not Buy A Drink For Someone Who Has Been Cut Off
The second quickest way to get thrown out of a bar is to become an asshole about not getting another drink. The third quickest way is ordering a drink and giving it to someone who’s been cut off.
If You Do Puke All Over Your Friends, Quickly Find A Friend
Sometimes there are too many people in a bar, and one person is in the back with a group and not visible to the staff until, with a lurch and a stagger, they vomit all over a table.
If this person is you, good luck, I hope you have friends with you. Yes, we will call you a cab, but that’s really all we can do.
If this person is your friend, guess what? They’re your problem now. No one in your party will be getting another drink. Most likely, management won’t even leave your side until all of you are out the door.
Don’t Be There When the Lights Go Up
Or, if you are, get your ass out the door shortly thereafter. Last call exists to get one more drink in you if you’re still standing, but also as a friendly reminder that we’re closing soon — so get your shit together and make moves.
“We’re just waiting for an Uber,” isn’t an answer to “Hey, friends, time to go.”
The only right answer is “Sorry, we were just leaving,” and then making your way out the door.
Call that Uber in advance. I don’t care how cold it is outside, you’re not prolonging the amount of time I have to remain in character, with this heavy, sticky apron on because you’re waiting for the surge to drop.
After all, it’s been a long night, and I, too, would like to celebrate with my friends.