Ask Your Bartender: Accepting Drinks

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I get so many emails through my website from people asking me bar-related questions that I thought I’d start printing them here with my special brand of witty response. If you have a question you’d like answered, please feel free to contact me and I’ll print your question here.

So, without further ado, here’s the first installment of Ask Your Bartender:

What should I do if a man I have less than zero interest in buys me a drink via the bartender? It seems wrong and rude to drink it, if I plan to tell the guy I’m not interested. Do I decline it?


Hey K

Some people, most of them men, seem to think that buying a drink for a woman at the other end of the bar is an old, chivalrous thing to do. I call bullshit.

Nothing says “Date Rapist” like a man trying to get a woman drunk at a bar. However, some women don’t realize this and even go so far as to make a point of going out to see how many free drinks they can amass.

That’s why at my bar, I tell my bartenders to use the following bit of decorum:

“Miss, the gentleman at the end of the bar in the backwards baseball cap would like to buy you a drink. You don’t have to accept it if you don’t want to. Would you like another?”

Nine times out of ten the woman declines, and the guy ends up leaving in a huff, offended that the bartender wasn’t playing along with his creepy little game. But you know what? I don’t care. I love the fact that our bar is known as a comfortable place for women to come enjoy a cocktail, and I’m not going to do anything to change that.

But here’s an important thing to remember, K: even if you do accept a drink from a man, you’re under no obligation to say anything more than “Thank you” to him. You don’t have to talk to him, and you don’t have to go home with him.

Just do me one favor if you accept a drink from a stranger, kiddo: make sure he hasn’t touched it, and that it was delivered personally by the bartender. Oh, and if your bartender doesn’t ask your permission to serve you a drink sent by a stranger, you’re probably better off just paying your tab and leaving.

Good luck, and be safe!

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