What are you looking for out of your nightlife experience? A fun night, a great story to tell the next morning, or something more sinister…

Bars can be tricky. Knowing what to expect from them before you go is key to making the most of your evening. Here are 5 things you need to know about bars, and how they work before you set foot in one:

Bars can be dangerous. If you’re out drinking at a bar, be sure to keep your wits about you. Some establishments have a reputation for being dangerous – certain areas or types of bars that are frequented by dangerous people or groups of people. These areas can be found on any part of a city, so be sure to ask the bartender where they recommend you go if the crowd doesn’t appeal to you (or if you don’t feel comfortable going there).

Bars don’t always have the best food/drinks. Bars aren’t always the best place to go for first dates and social get-togethers because the food options are limited and thus expensive, they usually don’t serve full meals or have any high-calorie snack options. Bars can also sometimes be difficult to get a drink as most bartenders won’t be able to provide it without asking their manager. Bars often work with outside “barhops” who deliver alcohol/food to their establishments, so it’s possible that you may not find anything near where you’re staying.

Bars don’t always have the cheapest drinks. Alcohol prices generally range from $5-$10 depending on location, establishment, and type of establishment. If you’re trying to save money at a bar, try to stay away from the most popular ones that are in downtown areas as those tend to be the most expensive – that is unless you can get a drink from their “dealboy.”

Bars can be pricy. If you want to have a nice drink, chances are that you’ll want to sit down. At bars that require patrons to sit down, there is usually a minimum cover charge. This can be anywhere from $2-$20 depending on the bar and area. Sometimes there is a “ladies night” which can also include a minimum seating charge as well.

Bars can be sketchy. Bars can be dangerous, not always fun (especially if you’re a sober person trying to get drunk), or just plain expensive. Bars are sometimes also sketchy. Bars are also sometimes full of people that are trying to pick up unsuspecting girls/men, so be careful.

What should I do before going to a bar?

Before you go to a bar, make sure to drink plenty of water and eat a light meal. If you do not have any food in your system, your blood sugars can drop and make you feel dizzy or nauseous, which can make going out difficult. It is also best to wait at least two hours before drinking alcohol after eating; if this is not possible then try to finish off the meal with an alcoholic beverage as it will lessen the chance of getting sick from the combination of alcohol and food. Alcohol inhibits normal bowel function so if going out too late in the night, it might be better for your stomach’s sake (and everyone around you) not to drink.

What should I do if I got drunk at the bar?

get home safely! call a taxi, call a friend or facebook for help.