You’re broke, you’re bored—and could really use a free drink.
Bars are not cheap and when you’re trying to save money, it can be frustrating to count every penny out. Or limit your alcohol consumption, especially when all you want to do is throw back a few and relax.
So what’s the best way to snatch a free drink without having to expose a little cleavage or flex a bicep? Here are three super simple hacks everyone can afford to do, no debit card required.
Kindness and, more importantly, politeness can go a long way at a bar, particularly on crowded nights. I’m not talking about bowing or standing when a lady walks in—just your run-of-the-mill, everyday, non-creepy friendliness. It’s what makes people curious about who you are. And let’s face it—you’re not going to get any free drinks from people who have, well, zero interest in getting to know you.
So what are the easiest ways to make yourself seem courteous and approachable?
Smile like a pervert
Hermit yourself in a dark corner
Make cringe-worthy racist or sexist jokes
Most people assume the easiest way to get a drink is through flirting, but just bring your cool vibes to the table. And you might surprise yourself with a few free shots—and some new friends, too.
Surprise, surprise, but bartenders are people too. And not just your average Joes and Janes—we’re talking about hardworking, patient and all-around “Good Guy Greg” types who deserve some recognition. Remember, bartending is a form of customer service, and we all know how hair-pulling and insanity-inducing those jobs can be. As a result, bartenders have seen it all, meaning they aren’t likely to hand out free drinks to just anyone lingering at the counter.
Now, if you’re already a regular customer on good terms with the bartender, congratulations—getting free drinks will be a cinch. But if you’re not at that status yet, here’s what you can do to prove to the bartender you’re someone worth gifting a little alcohol:
Say “please” and “thank you” when ordering drinks
Use the bartender’s name—if you don’t know it, ask
Converse with the bartender when they have some downtime
Demand drinks or get snippy
Call the bartender “bartender” as if it’s their name
Converse with or hit on the bartender when they’re busy with customers
Forget to tip
Playing games isn’t everyone’s thing, but if you’re sociable and love taking risks, making bets with your fellow bar goers will make for one hell of a night—and guarantee free booze along the way.
Here’s what you need to do: find someone at the bar willing to wager a drink. (You, too, must be willing to spot your opponent a drink if you lose.) Usually, the drunker your opponent is, the better your odds of winning are.
There are hundreds of bar bets you can do, depending on the quality of your fine motor skills and the amount of pocket change you have on hand.
Here is a video of some magic trick-esque bets that are sure to wow the crowd at any bar:
So, to recap, if you’re planning on winning a couple drinks, here’s what you should do (and avoid doing):
Make bets with (drunk) strangers
Make a bet with the bartender if they’re not busy
Bring spare change, dollar bills and matches
Limit the number of bets you make
Make multiple bets with the same stranger, especially if you’re on a winning streak
Try to bet a bartender that's busy
Make a bet if you can’t afford to buy someone a drink
Make sure you don’t accidentally become the “con artist” tricking people out of their money. As a rule of thumb, don’t do any bets more than once or twice in a night. Your goal is to leave with a free drink—not a black eye.
So the next time you’re at a bar, be confident and try your hand at some of these fun and easy ways to win a free drink. You might surprise yourself and leave drunker than you planned on getting!
Want to connect with people at your bar in a whole new way? Download the BOTY App on iTunes or Google Play for free!