Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the rules of drinking like an enlightened local. With this list, you’ll be the dream patron of bartenders and the “spirit” guide of your friends. First, you must be over 21 for these rules to afford you any success (duh). Second, this list has been collected over the years via my personal experience in international watering holes, back alley dives and local breweries, along with the sage wisdom of other social drinkers. It is by no means a comprehensive work, but it is a good place to start. So, good luck and sláinte!


1. Quality over quantity. One doesn’t simply toss back an Old Fashioned. Some drinks are for rapid consumption, others are meant for prolonged enjoyment. Think Manhattan, French 75, Dry Martini or Cosmopolitan. These are best savored with fellow conversationalists on a rooftop bar like Black Sheep.

2. To tip, or not to tip? This isn’t a question. If you can’t afford to tip, then you can’t afford to drink. Don’t be that guy or girl. Buy a six-pack and stay home.

3. Avoid influenced driving. In the age of Uber and Lyft, there just isn’t a good excuse to get behind the wheel while buzzed, drunk, tipsy (fill in whatever level of intoxication you like) or wasted. Arrive alive, don’t booze and cruise … all those cheesy slogans. Just don’t do it.

4. If you mean business, order Woodford. Straight.

5. Girly drinks are for everyone. Guys, please don’t pretend it’s an assault on your masculinity. We all know mai tais, rum runners and Long Island iced teas can be wildly strong. But I guess when you’re at Lemon Bar trying to be macho, those brightly colored libations can be intimidating. Stick with your PBR, leave us ladies these saturated challenges.

6. If the bar is slammed, don’t order a mojito. Yes. They’re minty and refreshing. However, unless you are willing to throw down a major tip to compensate for the time spent muddling mint, stick with a simpler drink … but with a twist! If you’re at a place like Dos Gatos or Volstead — jump in. Those folks pride themselves on some handcrafted deliciousness.

7. You don’t summon bartenders. That’s not how it works. Stop waving your arm like a lost lemur. Wait your turn, be polite, make eye contact and flash a smile.

8. High school is over. Don’t drink Four Loko. Don’t pregame with it. Don’t force friends to drink it. I can’t believe I even have to list this one.

9. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. I’m not sure if this adage holds true, but it’s a good reminder that mixing different types of alcohol can be a bad idea for some. A wise move is to stick with one style of fermented beverage for the evening. A wiser move is heading to a whiskey bar like The Rogue on King Street. It’s one alcohol and plenty of options.

10. Spilt drinks are opportunities. If you tip over another’s drink, replace it. Accidents happen, but take responsibility. You’ll spare yourself an enemy and possibly make a friend. If you spill your drink, take steps to clean it up. If you spill your drink more than once, well then it’s probably time to go home.

11. Guinness is good on its own … sometimes. When in Ireland, do not mix Guinness with anything — it’s sacrilegious. But if you’re at Fly’s Tie in Atlantic Beach, step out of the regular and try a black and tan or perhaps a Snakebite. However, Car Bombs are a hard no. Please see the next rule for more information.

12. College is over. That means Car Bombs are over. Enough said.