Yet Another Guide to Social Etiquette
“Martini. Shaken, not stirred.” This line is now synonymous with style, action, suaveness and masculinity. Have you ever stopped and wondered what image you were portraying at the bar or club? Well I have, and it is my impression that many of you should! Most advice columns out there will tell you which pants to wear and not to support any white after labour day…and rightfully they should. But the image you portray with the alcohol you consume is much like that depicted by a watch or a tie – it is subtle, yet vital. Then again, I might simply be justifying my PhD in alcohology.
The type of alcohol you consume is entirely contingent on the situation you find yourself in. A good rule of thumb is beer for bars and pubs, drinks for lounges and supper clubs. Clubs are, however, a grey zone. The ultimate goal is, much like Mr. Bond, to emanate comfort and style, all the while not clashing with the environment (mind you, clashing with the environment is totally acceptable if it entails going on a killing rampage with the purpose of bringing down an cartel of international, megalomanical terrorists).
Bars (and watering holes).
These venues are usually more about hanging with friends and having a good time, so stick with the brewskies and don’t frivolously spend your money. Even if you really are a millionaire, doing that will make you socially awkward and out-of-place. Forget about ordering expensive drinks or beers – at best this makes you look like a pompous retard with no financial management skills who is trying impress the other sex, so next time I see someone ordering a Heineken at the Peel Pub I’m gonna lose it! Venues like Vol de Nuit or Au Diable Vert call for local beers like Molson Ex, Labatt Blue or even Sleeman.
In Montreal, most pubs are slightly more upper scale than bars (yes, I know there are exceptions…so you need not to point them out) - they are places made to chill back, but usually offer a wider selection of drinks. At a pub like Sainte-Élisabeth, you can go a little higher up the price scale and go with imports like Hoegaarden. Avoid ordering any beer served in a bottle – you’ll look like a peasant. Some pubs do offer a wide selection of hard liquor though – only in these cases should you feel free to order a Scotch or something similar.
Lounges are more of a middle ground so pints and beer glasses are still acceptable – but you should consider ordering hard liquor and mixed-drinks. As long as you avoid a peasant-looking brown bottle, you’ll be fine.
Supper Clubs are all about the see and be seen mentality so stick with the drinks – the prices are way up there…but that’s why you’ve wondered there in the first place. Playing it cheap defies the supper club’s purpose so stay away from Blues and Ex’s. Straight drinks are better for guys – Vodka Belvedere or GlenLivet Scotch on the rocks are good bets. To all you girls out there…mixed drinks and Smirnoff Ice-type drinks fit the bill just perfect…just make sure you ain’t guzzling from a bottle (can you tell this is one of my pet peeves?).
This is more delicate. Generally speaking, much like bars, expensive drinks DON’T make you look rich. Even though, clubs tend to look like see and be seen venues, they really aren’t. Therefore, unless you can actually afford it, avoid buying bottles of hard-liquor and ridiculously overpriced drinks – it’ll show that you’ve just spent your week’s pay – which is a very uncouth image to portray. Stick to beers like Corona and Sleeman. Heineken and Becks are still acceptable, but tread lightly...the ice is thin...(Ex's and Blues should really stay at bars and pubs where they belong). Simple mixed-drinks like Rum and Coke or Gin and Tonic are also fine.
Given that we are right-smack in the middle of summer, I figured I would add a little something about terraces. Hard drinks are really a bad idea when under the sun. On the other hand, brown bottles are peasant-like, so stick to beers in clear or green bottles. A refreshing pitcher of sangria will do the trick as well (please refer to my previous article Ready…Set…Go for more information).
So where does wine stand in all of this? Wine should really only be savored at a restaurants (bars and clubs usually offer only sub-par qualities anyway) or at home when trying to get a certain someone in the right mood…but I’ll let the expert, Dr. Smooth, deal with that one.
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