“Don’t use seven words when four will do. Don’t shift your weight. Look always at your mark but don’t stare. Be specific but not memorable. Be funny but don’t make him laugh. He’s got to like you then forget you the moment you’ve left his side.” Getting a drink at a crowded Vegas bar takes just the right amount of effort. Too pushy and the bartender hates you. Too passive and you’ll never get served. Since we can’t all be Rusty (or Brad Pitt), here are a few tips to help you get tipsy in Las Vegas.
Order simple drinks
It’s not hard to grasp the logic here. Complicated drinks take longer to prepare. And bartenders may back burner your order to push out a group of beers or vodka cranberries. When the bar is sparse, feel free to go for that shaken martini or juicy mojito. And hey, you can get those when the bar is super crowded too – if you want everyone behind you to hate you. But when the bartenders are clearly overworked, and they’re rushing from one thing to another, struggling to hear and desperate for a break, give them one. Go for a beer or mixer. And if you really want to get speedy, settle for a well drink (an order that allows the bartender to use whatever brand is handy such as a gin and tonic) instead of a call drink (an order that asks for a specific brand which the bartender will then have to find like a Tanqueray and tonic). But even before you get to put in your simple order you first have to get the bartender’s attention.
Put yourself in the bartender’s shoes. You’re staring at a mob of people all screaming at you and crawling over each other to get at your delicious brains…er… booze. It may sound over the top, but that’s how it can feel after people have been partying for hours and the only thing between them and you is two feet of gin-soaked wood. So to make yourself stand out from the swaying masses, try taking a nonverbal approach to ordering. Write your order on a piece of paper and hold it up, or use a drawing or text app on your phone to really make it shine. Jokes and cute doodles are appreciated too – as long as the bartender doesn’t have to decipher what you want. Anytime you can make them chuckle or brighten their day you’ll make a bartender happy. And that will definitely make you stand out. But remember: If everyone starts doing the same thing, you’ll have to change it up. And make sure you’re actually at the bar so they can hand you the drink. Don’t hold up a sign behind the crowd and expect them to toss you a beer.
Order two drinks at once
This might not work if you have poor impulse control, but if you’re capable of pacing yourself it can save a lot of time to double your order when you have the chance. Of course, there are a few things the seasoned drinker – alright, overthinker – should take into account. Don’t get drinks with too much ice or they could melt and end up watered down. And if you’re the type of person who has to have your beer cold, pay attention to where you set it. Another unfortunate, but serious, concern with having more than one drink is leaving one unattended. This technique really works best if you have a place to sit with people you trust. Otherwise you could end up walking around the whole night with two drinks in your hands. If you’re determined to hit the bar once and only once, your best bet is a double or triple shot of your favorite liquor. You can nurse it all night, sit back and watch everyone else clamor for a second of attention.
Go someplace else
This sounds like a silly suggestion, but this is Vegas and most casinos have a bar every thirty feet or so. If you think the wait is too long at one, scope around for a slower bar where you can get a drink faster. You can even sit down and start playing the slots or some poker and hope a cocktail waitress gives you the good stuff. Even when you’re in one of the bigger clubs or theme places, you can usually find more than one bar for this specific reason. It can sometimes turn into one of those guessing games where you get out of one line only to find the other fill right up; then the line you were in starts moving. But if speed really is your goal, and you just want a drink in your hand as quickly as possible, it might be faster to walk a little further and hit up the bar everyone else was too lazy to stroll to. No matter where you go, remember one thing:
Tip and tip well
This should be obvious. And it’s something you should do for a lot of reasons, not the least of which are that it’s nice and that bartenders live on tips. But they also remember who tips and who doesn’t. Slapping down a fat tip for your first drink will endear you to the staff and you may just find them more eager to serve you the second, and third, and fourth and however many they can get you to buy. This is especially advantageous if you’re a regular – or plan to be. If you know you’ll be frequenting a bar whenever you’re in Vegas, or for the whole week or two you’re here, getting in good with the bartenders will help ensure you get noticed right away. They may not yell out “Norm!” as soon as you walk in, but you can bet they’ve spotted you; and they’re just waiting to loosen your purse strings with liquor.
Clear the bar
This is more about karma than anything else. But never underestimate the power of a good deed, especially when it could result in more booze. Once you’ve successfully received your drink, get the hell out of the way. Don’t loiter. Don’t stand there making chitchat. If you have to take a sip to make sure it’s correct or to slurp off a bit of nearly overflowing cosmopolitan, do it quickly then walk away. It doesn’t matter if the bar has seats. It doesn’t matter if you got there first and you really want to play the video poker. If there’s a sea of people behind you, move out of the way so they don’t have to try to reach across your sweaty back just to lean in far enough for the bartender to hear them. Otherwise, we can’t be responsible for what karma will do to you later in the night.
We get that your time in Vegas is precious. And we don’t want you spending any more time than you have to waiting for drinks. Believe us, there’s a lot more to see in Las Vegas than the back of the head of someone else screaming for a cocktail. So get out there, grab a drink “and for God’s sake, whatever you do, don’t, under any circumstances…”