Advice for a "non-drinker"

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by adrianblaine, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #1
    I've been pondering this situation for quite awhile wondering who to turn to for advice when it hit me to try here.

    I recently started my first professional job in an architectural office as a designer a month and a half ago. Out of the roughly 18 or so people working there, I am the only one who doesn't drink alcohol. This is for various reasons, none of which make me pass judgment on people who do. I do not see myself better in anyway, it's just not something I do. If reasons that I don't drink are important and would help in giving advice, I can provide them.

    Anyway, I really enjoy working with the people there, and in my experience, architects (and architecture students) tend to be very sociable, so a lot of them will go out to happy hour after work at least once a week or so, and I'm always invited of course.

    My question is not how to turn them down, but what will I do when I go there? I've never really been in a bar before and I'm very ignorant about how it all works, to the point where it's almost embarrassing. So please forgive my lack of knowledge.

    1. I'm sure you can order "virgin" drinks from the bar, but I have no clue as to what to have. I've had a virgin daiquiri before which was pretty good, but that's about where I run out info. I've looked up non-alcoholic mixed drinks on Wikipedia and there are quite a few, but will the bartender know any of them?

    2. How do you pay at the bar and how do you know how much it is? How much do you tip? What if I don't have cash?

    3. I don't know if anyone really knows that I don't drink yet. No one has asked me but I haven't volunteered the information either. I was afraid that would make me look arrogant or stuck up or something. When I go with them over to the bar and I order a non-alcoholic drink, what reaction can I expect?

    Any and all advice is welcome.
     
  2. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #2
    No drinker here, although I spend quit a lot of time in bars.

    1.) I usually get an orange juice or coke but if you tell the barman that you want a non-alcoholic drink they can tell you what they offer.
    2.) Pay with cash/card. You can ask how much it is before ordering. I only tip at my local and it is usually just "and whatever you want"
    3.) Someone may orer a round of drinks if you go in with a number of people, just say to them what drink you would like. They may ask you why you don't drink but generally people are not arrogant enough to think that everyone should drink and they will accept your decision not to drink.
     
  3. runplaysleeprun macrumors 6502a

    runplaysleeprun

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #3
    I have been to far too many bars, and finally that fact is allowing me to help someone.
    It's totally fine to order pop at a bar. You can tell them the truth, or say you have to drive, that you're a real lightweight when it comes to drinking, that you have something going on after happyhour etc..., and I highly doubt anyone will think twice about it. Do, though, ask for it in a glass if you order pop, it stands out a bit when it comes in a plastic cup, which a lot of bars will serve just pop in. Coke in a glass looks a lot like a rum and coke at a bar, a very popular drink. They also have non alcoholic beers at a lot of bars, but they're not always very good.

    If you're at a table with a waitress, you pay at the end of the time there, much like at a restaurant with food. If you order from the bar, you pay when your drink is given to you. Virgin drinks of alcoholic drinks sometimes cost as much as their alcoholic brethren. On a $3-7 drink, tip is usually from $1-2. Its really you're call. On a single drink, I wouldn't really tip more than $2, unless its obnoxiously complicated to make, the server is hot, the place is busy and I want to be remembered to be served faster in the future, or any combination of those. You can also open a tab by giving them a credit card when you order your first drink and asking them to "Open a tab" or "keep it open". When you're done drinking, you ask to close out or "close your tab", they print out the receipt, and you write the tip in and sign the receipt.

    Don't expect the bar staff to be shocked that someone isn't drinking, it happens all the time, for a variety of reasons. Honestly, no one will think twice about it.

    Have I missed anything?
     
  4. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #4
    I'll keep an eye on this, I go so rarely to pubs (I don't drink either) that when I finally agree to go my friends see it as a Big Thing™ that they end up buying me non-alcoholic drinks all evening.

    Maybe I just have odd friends.
     
  5. notsofatjames macrumors 6502a

    notsofatjames

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #5
    One of my group (usually me), is the designated driver. Bar staff won't be at all confused by people not drinking. Ordering is much the same as going to any sort of café type place. Same as going to McDonalds/subway/starbucks, wherever you might go. Just go up to the bar and ask for what you want. Pay there and then or if you want to use a card more than once ask if you can start a tab. If you ask for something the barman/woman doesnt, they'll either suggest something else, or ask what it is and might even try to make it.
    I find non-alcoholic drinks cost less, but in the UK i think theres a tax on alcohol. Im not sure though, our tax system confuses me. Not as much as the american one mind.
     
  6. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #6
    obviously don't drink at student bars, non alcoholic drinks usually have a premium on them.

    There is a duty on alcoholic drinks that generally goes up each year with the budget changes.
     
  7. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    First of all, don't let the fact that you don't drink make you feel self conscious. For the most part you'll find that people will respect your decision, and if they don't, who cares? Your friends/co-workers will probably be glad to have a non-drinker in the group so they always have a designated driver!
    I don't drink either, but when I was in college I would go with my friends if they were going out to a bar or a club. I would either order pop or O'Douls (non-alcoholic beer). It's not really a big deal. The bartender or server will usually tell you how much it is. As long as you give them a tip they don't care what you order.
     
  8. adrianblaine thread starter macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #8
    Thank you all for your replies. As soon as I posted I had the feeling I was being overly paranoid. I mainly didn't know what to expect and that had me feeling a little apprehensive. I'm guessing it's not every day that an almost 26 year old walks into a bar for the first time and I was thinking it might be pretty obvious if I didn't know what I was doing. I just didn't want to look like a doofus! Anyway, thanks again.
     
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #9
    If you're self conscious about going into a bar for the 1st time with the workmates, why not give it a trial run with some other friends/family first?

    Non drinker here too, I always go for either the cola, or a club soda with lime. Virgin cocktails are a waste of time and money IMO. I've never had a server that gave me any attitude about going non-alcoholic.

    A few pubs provide soft drinks for free to the designated driver in a party.

    OT: I'll tell you too, I was heartily thankful when smoking in bars and restaurants was banned here. I used to go into a pub and I literally was blinded - couldn't see coz my eyes were watering so much from the smoke.
     
  10. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #10
    Ginger ale and lime is a good non-alcoholic drink that looks vaguely alcoholic. Virgin Moscow Mule.
     
  11. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    Amen to that.
    I used to just go for a Sprite or whatever, but I got tired of that real quickly because I don't like pop and I normally don't drink it. That's why I tried O'Doul's initially and, although not a huge fan of the taste of beer, it was better than sickly sweet soft drinks. BTW, when I was in a bar on Quadra Island, BC with my cousin they brought me an O'Douls Amber, which was actually really good. I'd never seen that particular kind before, I don't think we have it in the states.
     
  12. jng macrumors 65816

    jng

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #12
    I drink, but have plenty of friends who seldom do or just plain don't.

    1. San Pelegrino water is amazing. Orangina is good too. Tea, juices, etc. In Germany, you can get lots of different types of juice even at bars. I wonder if you can find Kiba in the US.

    2. Depends on the bar or pub. Some places you pay when you get your drinks, which means constantly having your wallet out. Other places, you run a tab and the waitress or waiter's good about remembering what you ordered, or it's on your table. Here in Germany, some mark it on your coaster. I never paid per drink unless I have to order at the counter. And in the States, there were a few places I went to - albeit more like clubs than bars - where I just leave my credit card there and they run the tab. I sign before I leave. It's nice just to tip at the end. Plus then I don't need anything but my credit card and keys. Hate carrying anything extra when I go out.

    3. Just say you don't drink. You'd be surprised how many people don't care. It's worse to say, I'm not going out because you're afraid they'll think whatever.
     
  13. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Location:
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    #13
    well, you can say, you don't drink and drive (or don't drink and ride, if you use a bike to work).

    well, you could say, you had soooo much last weekend that you are cutting down on the alcohol...

    or say, you don't drink. the problem is, they might appoint you as dd.
     
  14. Osarkon macrumors 68020

    Osarkon

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wales
    #14
    Wait, you're supposed to tip at a bar? First I've heard of that...mind you uni students don't have the spare cash to tip people :p
     
  15. Shotglass macrumors 65816

    Shotglass

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    #15
    If so, would they call it Kiba? I mean, they do say Kindergarten, Zeitgeist and all that stuff. They should also adopt Kiba.
     
  16. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #16
    My wife and I (neither of us drink) just recently started going out to a nice local nightclub dancing. They never pressure us to drink, and have learned by now that we don't. As a matter of fact, the waitresses got to recognizing us and asked recently when we came in "Will it be tea or water tonight?". Of course, we are there for hours and usually order appetizers and tip well, and often others in our party do order wine.
     
  17. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    #17
    Happy Hours aren't just good for cheap drinks, they often have good deals on food too. When I go out with people after work, and don't feel like drinking, I just order some food and maybe a soda. It's a good after-work meal.

    Edit: As for tipping, I usually tip $1 per item ordered. (drinks, appetizers, Happy Hour meal, etc.)
     
  18. bluesjam macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    #18
    Most bars also have non alcoholic cider and also non alcoholic honey mead which most people here seems to have missed and of course you can order that too. It is very a refreshing drink both of them compared to coke or club soda.
    Don't worry about tipping as it is a not standard practice. If you order at the bar then don't tip. I myself have never done that.
     
  19. jng macrumors 65816

    jng

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #19
    True. Kiba = KIrsch + BAnana, or cherry + banana juice. Lecker, I mean, delicious.
     
  20. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #20
    I am a non-drinker myself
    and when I do go out to pub/bars I usually have :

    virgin ceasar

    OJ and soda

    Soda with bitters

    Served in glass not plastic.
     
  21. maestro55 macrumors 68030

    maestro55

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Goat Farm in Meridian, TX
    #21
    I have gone out on various occasions with friends of mine we usually go to the local bar/steakhouse, get their at happy hour and the drinkers will order beers and I just get tea or coffee and no one thinks twice about it. The last time I was playing pool I just drank coke. No one cares. Not to say that I don't drink, I just don't drink in public places since I am under age and while most places would serve me the times I have been out I was either driving myself or driving others and I am not going to drink and then get behind the wheel, certainly not being underage because a minor with a DUI is MUCH worse than someone of age getting a DUI.

    Just don't sweat it and enjoy yourself. The group that I usually go out with is the local Linux Users Group and it is great to chat with people in the same field of study as me aswell as some of the professionals who stop by. You can learn a lot and the conversation is sure to get interesting at times as it ventures away from the professional stuff.
     
  22. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #22
    If someone asks just tell them that your dad was a raging alcoholic that regularly beat your family which lead to your mom's suicide, your sister's drug addiction, and left you emotionally stunted, forever searching for a caring father figure in your life.

    I'm pretty sure no one will ever ask you out for drinks again. :D


    Lethal
     
  23. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #23
    Just tell them you don't drink. It's not a big deal and you don't need to provide reasons or stories. Don't make excuses because you really don't need to.

    When I'm not drinking (although I do like a bit of booze) I go for one of these http://www.britvic.com/Brand.aspx?id=49 or an alcohol-free cocktail.
     
  24. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #24
    Perfect advice.
     
  25. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    Paddyland
    #25
    +1 - No need for excuses. Some of my friends do, some don't and it's not an issue - they will all carry me home :eek:.
     

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