The Rules of Drinking on a First Date
Don’t belly up to the bar without reading this first
The good news: you scored that all-important first date. Bottoms up!
The bad: on approximately nine out of every 10 first dates that end in disaster, alcohol plays a starring role.
We polled some real-life women (and a bartender) for a few tips on dating and imbibing. Grab a bar stool and read on.
Where should you go?
It matters where you take her. Do not ask her to meet you at the corner sports bar. According to New Yorker Lisa C., the place doesn’t have to be fancy, but “it should be quiet enough to talk.” Your date wants to be able to hear what you’re saying, surprisingly.
Rule: Opt for the latest gastropub or cocktail spot that merges a cool atmosphere but still allows the two of you to interact with each other.
How much should you drink (or not drink?)
Stick to two. One drink, she might think you’re boring; more than two, you could be trouble. Noreen B., also of New York, advises “drinking until you’re comfortable but not a drunken mess,” while Shannon L. of Connecticut says that “if he gets wasted on your first date, then he’s got issues.” Don’t be the guy with issues she talks about to all of her friends — and possibly outs on social media.
Rule: Err on the side of caution and take a less-is-more approach. Or stick with low-volume ABV drinks.
What should you drink?
Trust us, women analyze everything, so you can bet that what you order speaks volumes. “I am a little judgmental when they order a light white wine,” says Kylee V. of Los Angeles. “Any man that orders Hefeweizen is a no-go,” adds Californian Jennifer S. “It’s a beer that is fluffy and not masculine at all.”
As for the professional advice: New York bartender Jason T. tells us “shots absolutely should not be taken” on a date. Beer, however, is fine, adding that it most likely means you’re laid back (apparently, just skip the Hefeweizen). “Beer connoisseurs are cool guys who like to have fun and don’t care about impressing anyone,” says our bartender friend. However, unless it’s a tap beer, stick with the bottle it came in. “I don’t trust a guy who pours beer into a glass. Who are you, the Queen of England?”
Wine is fine; if you’re at an actual restaurant, it may be your best bet. Hard liquor can be cool too, as long as you stick with a classic drink or better brand. “Whiskey drinkers are pros, especially if you’re drinking it on the rocks,” says Jason. “Gentlemen drink scotch or vodka martinis; those are the classiest guys.”
Finally, skip anything found in a rap video. “Hennessy is a deal breaker. It means you know nothing about drinking but want to look like you do.”
Rule: Be sure your drink of choice makes the right statement. And it’s something you enjoy.
You should pick up the tab; don’t even expect her to do the fake wallet fumble. Floridian Dorothy O. says, “He pays, the woman is the Queen.” Joanne S. of New York adds, as a general rule, “The man pays on the first date.” Nearly all of the women we spoke to agree that the check is your responsibility.
Rule: Man up and foot the bill or risk looking like a jerk.
For more tips and tricks from the world’s best bartenders, sign up for The Spill, a weekly guide to imbibing all good spirits.
Suggested for you