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Special Issues » College Student Guide 2011

How to Keep Your Cool in Charleston's Bars

Don't Be the Las Palmas Baby

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If any other establishment gives the Holy City's churches a challenge in patronage, attendance, and loyalty, it's our bars. But from generations-old back-alley watering holes to fancy-pants cocktail joints, it's all too easy to find examples of rude, obnoxious, and downright drunk asshole bar behavior.

In a town where cotillions are commonplace, it's amazing that so many normally well-behaved people can slip so quickly into an evil, drunken alter ego. Did you think the Las Palmas baby was bad? That kid had nothing on these jerks. But if you follow our tips, you won't wind up one of them.

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Know your limits and learn your bar etiquette. Here are our tips for keeping your cool when the booze flows thick.

ORDERING

• Wait patiently at a bar. If there is one bartender working and five people waiting, don't butt in waving a $20 around. Make eyes with the drink pourer to get your presence known.

• Mojitos are good for pissing off a busy bartender.

• Drink good beer, but don't be a beer snob.

• One shot, three ways, is never acceptable.

• High Life is the new PBR.

PAYMENT

• If you're the guy who drinks eight PBRs over the course of the evening, make sure you leave your bartender more than a $2 tip.

• Don't swipe your card for one beer. Start a tab and make sure you pick it up at the end of the night.

• Sometimes you forget to close your tab. It happens. Go by the bar as quickly as you can the next day, and make sure to drop a nice tip.

CROWD CONTROL

• Don't hit on everything that walks by. Chances are, they're not that into you.

• If you want to light up that cigarette, you're going to have to go outside to do it downtown.

• Yes, lighting a fresh cigarette off your butt is chain smoking.

• If you're a smoker, bring your own.

• No fighting. You're not a dog.

• Don't request cover songs from an original band.

• When cheering for sports teams, never let your voice get too much louder than the ambient noise layer of the room.

ATTIRE

• Some shades of pastel are okay downtown or farther north, but never on James Island or Folly Beach.

• No sunglasses indoors (unless you're the lead singer in a band and they're prescription).

• Crocs are never acceptable at the bar.

CONVERSATION

• How wasted you got last night is not legitimate conversational currency at a bar.

• If you are talking louder than the band is playing, shut up or take it outside.

• No bitching about the heat. We all live here. It's fucking hot.

• Don't drop the f-bomb every other word. Use curse words in the right context, but don't let them fill your vocabulary.

AND IN GENERAL ...

• If you're drinking to forget, you probably should look in the mirror once in a while.

• Don't put the nail in the coffin at the bar. That's best done out of sight from the general public.

•If your friends tell you you're an asshole when you're drunk, that's something you should heavily consider before tying one on.

• Foosball and sex are not the ultimate reason you're at the bar. It's drinking.

And last, but not least ...

• Don't fucking drive home.

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