Please Buy Me A Drink

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This isn’t my usual organizing post, and I’m about to put something out there that will expose my inner dorkiness.  I don’t know how to buy someone a drink.


So, when I offered to buy someone a drink when I see her next, I got cold and clammy. Social disaster was likely. I did what all modern folk do, and turned to my Facebook friends for advice.

I rarely drink, but there seems to be a code at bars, and I don’t know the secret password. Put a $20 on the bar when you arrive to signal you intend to pay? Say some magic words to start a tab? (Like, can I start a tab, perhaps?) Just start drinking and let the bartender run you down for it? And if they are a casual friend or less, do I get one round, she gets the next? How do I make sure I don’t end up with a $200 tab, because that would be, um, outside of my reality.

In the scheme of things, not the worst part of my day, but you might be surprised at what I learned.

-Just buy her a drink: literally. One round, pay cash. Skip the tab. And stop overthinking it.
-If you’d like to pay for one round you can say, “I’ll get this round.” When you’re ready to pay you, get the bartender’s attention as if you were ordering and say, “I’m ready to cash out.” Sometimes they put your bill in front if you in a shot glass or sometimes not.
-If you’re only interested in buying one round, then yes, say, “I’ll get this round,” and hand the bartender a $20 right after they put the drink down. They will most likely ask if you want to start a tab. Just politely decline and she’ll get the idea w/o it being a bid deal.
Some bars put an upside-down shot glass on the bar to signal someone’s bought your next round.  Am I the only one who did not know this?

-Just give the bartender your card when you order and offer to put her drink on your tab.

-They won’t add to the tab unless you add the drink (not her).

-Definitely don’t throw a twenty on the bar if you haven’t ordered yet just order your drink & let her know that you’re picking up her drink (singular). Then when it’s time to pay they’ll give you a check & you can pay cash or give your card.

Then we come to one of the reasons I don’t know much about bar rules. A friend asked, “How many drinks does $20 cover these days?” and I was silly enough to admit that I buy pink wine, and mostly drink it at home.

The convo then devolved into the wine-snobs versus those of us who drink sub-$20 bottles, pink wine, and {ghasp!} wine from a box.

Ah, well, if you are a 20-something with no life experience, or somehow made it to adulthood like me without this skill, I hope this helps you out at your next conference, business trip, or networking meeting.

Any more words of wisdom for me?  I’ll happily let you buy me a drink. I prefer mine blue with an umbrella, please. Or pink wine.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Leticia

    I have a stress free way to buy people a drink! And yes I have bought guys a drink as well… it is only fair.
    I use an App called… duh! Buy Me A Drink. my iphone does all the flirting for me I am a bit shy!

    1. Darla

      I can’t find this app on the apple store. Any tips?

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