What Makes a Great Bar?
Unless you are a restaurant or bar owner, you’ve probably put little conscious thought into it. And yet, you know when you are in one. Great bars are a combination of atmosphere, lighting, mood, music, traffic, service, prices, presentation and, before I forget, the drinks in front of you. A good bar will specialize in one or another of those factors, but a great bar is a perfect blend of all the right things.
The are spacious, brightly lit, wide open bars that lend a sense of excitement and worldliness, and there are sleek, cozy, darkened bars where sexy phrases can be spoken in whispers. There are places that have occasional celebrities, popular bartenders, televisions, dance floors, video cameras, pool tables, live bands, torch singers, comedians, signature drinks and appetizers, and there are even some great dives. You have many options, but if you are planning a date, you ‘ll want to put some thought into making a choice that is appropriate for the occasion.
If you want to talk to her, you’ll probably want to find a less populated spot with soft music and relaxed seating. If she likes to dance and you are daring enough to take her, try to find a place where you think she will be comfortable.
Find out what type music she likes, and try hard to be open minded. If she likes rap and you absolutely detest it, do your best to humor her, and who knows, you might develop a new appreciation for a different music style. If you plan to meet her for happy hour, find a place that is fun, with original, creative drinks and delicious appetizers.
Once again, planning is essential to a good date, indispensable to The Perfect Date. Don’t wing it. Take the time to visit the place beforehand. Introduce yourself to the owner and bartenders, if possible. Tell them you have chosen their establishment for a special date and ask for suggestions.
If the bartender is friendly, find out his or her work schedule and plan your date when that bartender is on duty. As you are doing this, make sure to order a drink, and above all, leave a generous gratuity. In the bar industry, big tippers usually are remembered and get special attention from restaurant and bar staff.
And finally, if you are drinking alcoholic beverages, be mindful of the effect alcohol has on your speech, reflexes and decision-making ability. As a rule, you should never have more than two drinks on any occasion during the early stages of dating. Most women don’t find slobbering drunks very sexy or worth additional consideration.
You might think you’re suave and articulate after pounding down a few shots, but she won’t. And what does it say about you if you consume five or six drinks in a couple of hours, grab your car keys and tell her you intend to drive her home?
Pre-determine your cut-off, or your limit, and by all means, stick to it! And if it seems she is a little bit of a lush, you might want to suggest future dates that do not involve bars or alcohol.
Sounds easy, but there really is an art to it. First and foremost, put it all together in your head before you open your mouth to order. Find out her selection beforehand. If she is indecisive, have a creative suggestion in mind. Know what you want to order. When asked, order her drink first, then yours, and then appetizers, if you want them. Be poised, confident and decisive, and you gain instant respect from bar staff and your date.
(guide to ordering drinks)
What to Order?
What you order to drink is telling and gives a bit of insight about who you are. You don’t have to take my word for it. I read an interesting article by Sheba Wheeler of the New York Times, who cited a psychologist and interviewed a number of bartenders. According to the mixologists, what you order contributes “to the first impressions we make on others… on a date.” I’m including the link to the article for you to review at your leisure.
(see drinks and personality)
Wine verses Hard Liquor
I don’t work for the wine industry, really I don’t, but I just think wine works better on a date. If you are talking to her, you can sip on a glass of wine for 30-45 minutes, as opposed to a martini, which is gone in 5 minutes.
If you plan to sit with her for an hour and a half, you can pace yourself and comfortably consume two glasses of wine. However, if you’re drinking martinis, even sipping extra slowly, you will probably down your limit in 20 minutes.
Common Bar Terms
I’ve included just a few terms, but I hope they are helpful:
“straight-up”, “neat” – no ice
“up”, “on a stem” – in a martini glass
“on the rocks” – with ice
“tall” – in a taller glass for greater dilution
“a splash” – less mixer for a stronger taste
“a double” – twice the amount of alcohol
“water (or beer) back” – side glass of water, etc.
“call” – name your brand (i.e. Grey Goose, J&B)
What’s In It?
Martini – vodka or gin, dry vermouth
Cosmopolitan – vodka, triple sec, lime juice, cran
Kamikaze – vodka, triple sec, lime juice
Margarita – tequila, triple sec, lime juice, salt
B-52 – kahlua, amaretto, irish cream
Daiquiri – light rum, lime, powdered sugar
Mojito – light rum, lime, sugar, mint, soda
Boilermaker – whiskey, beer
Long Island – tequila, gin, rum, whiskey, vodka, sugar syrup, cola, oj
Manhattan – whiskey, sweet vermouth
Carbomb – stout ale, irish cream, whiskey
Mint Julep – bourbon, fresh mint, powdered sugar
Tequila Sunrise – tequila, oj, grenadine
Pina Colada – light rum, coconut milk, pinapple
Mai Tai – rum, orgeat syrup, triple sec, sweet and sour
You’ll find a great resource for exploring drinks and cocktails at webtender.com