You’re 21. You’re excited about your birthday. You’re ready to have some fun with your friends. You can finally legally go to a bar!
There’s one problem. You’ve just turned 21. So you’ve never been in a bar (legally, anyway). Though obviously everyone’s experience is different, here’s some things to possibly expect so that you know what you’re walking into:
Someone will want to buy you a drink. If your friends coming with you to the bar know it’s your birthday, which is the reason they’re there, they will most likely want to buy you a drink. That’s a lot of free drinks, which is great! At the same time, that can make it incredibly difficult to pace yourself.
Which brings me to the fact that it will be tempting not to pace yourself. You’re excited, everyone around you is excited, and you want to have a lot of fun. You can easily lose track of how many drink you’ve had and how many you’re putting them back if you’re not careful.
The bar will be sleazy, that’s just how they work. Unless you purposefully pick out a high class bar because your friends know the right places, the bar will be sleazy. The seats will have a kind of weird stickiness to them, the bartender or guy carding you might eye your cleavage, it’s just the atmosphere that is created.
As you’d probably expect, the lighting will be dim. Most bars tend to have dim lighting – not all, but most. This adds to the slightly sleazier atmosphere but also can make you feel like you’re mentally away from everything else you left at the door.
If you’re going on a weekend, the bar will be loud. If a quieter night out with your friends is your thing, choose where you go wisely. Some bars are really popular spots and can make it difficult to hear yourself thing.
Luckily, most bars have some sort of food menu. Take advantage of this – most likely since it’s your birthday, your friends will pay. A plate of fries can help you to stomach all of that alcohol you’ll be consuming and keep the night fun.
The bartender will take your credit/debit card if you ask to open a tab and will not give it back to you until you close the tab. It makes complete sense and is in good hands, but it can be a little unnerving if it’s your first time in a bar. Odds are though, if it’s your birthday this won’t be a problem for you.
Some bars have specialty mixed drinks and online menus, and this can be helpful to streamline ordering your drinks. It will also give you confidence to order drinks fancier than a light beer or glass of white wine, and odds are they are specialities for a reason.
Finally, you’ll be carded, and it will be an exciting experience. It’ll be the first time that you’ve been carded for alcohol, and you’ll remember it. Have fun, be safe, and throw it back!