7 Essentials Every Guy Needs To Remember When Going Out to a Bar or Club

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When going out to a bar or club, there are some things every man absolutely must keep in mind if he wants to have the best experience possible. These include what to wear, what not to wear, how to treat the bar staff, how to treat a lady and how to get back home in one piece.

So if you’re new to the clubbing scene, haven’t tried to pick up a woman in years or simply haven’t had any luck and don’t know what you’re doing wrong, then here are seven rules you should follow religiously the next time you’re out.

1. Dress to Impress

Many clubs in big cities in America have a dress code, so before you get too excited about all your wardrobe options, check out the club’s website or just call them up on the phone to check out what they require men to wear inside their establishment.

Despite what some fashion magazines and blogs recommend, you probably can’t get in the door of more upscale clubs in Las Vegas or New York wearing a T-shirt. It won’t matter to the bouncer how much you paid for that tee or how stylish it is or that Esquire Magazine said it was a good choice. You’re not getting in without a nice collared shirt.

If the dress code on the website still leaves you with some unanswered questions, feel free to check out some photos on their Facebook or Yelp page for ideas on what men’s clothing is acceptable to wear. With this being said, the same goes for more casual clubs. You don’t want to show up to a hip new club in a button down only to find all the men sporting a trendy t-shirt and fresh sneakers. For example, in Berlin, there often isn’t a dress code and their motto is “anything goes”. Do your best to make your style look effortless, and when it doubt go with something sleek and black. Your clothes should rather show your personality and style, not the amount of money you have (or want to pretend you have)…  Checking out the newest male fashion trends and in general, keeping it casual is the right way to go in Europe.

In most cases, a button-down, long sleeve shirt in dark colors is your best bet. Upscale clubs might require dress slacks and a suit jacket, but most clubs will let you in with just the button-down shirt and a pair of nice, non-faded and non-ripped jeans, preferably a darker shade.

If you’re heading straight to the venue as soon as you finish up work at the office, then you should be all set. But leave the tie in the car, roll up your sleeves and undo one of those top buttons so you can breathe a little and let loose. A button-down is a flexible option because you can make it more casual if needed with tousled hair and casual shoes. Although, only wear sneakers if it’s a very laid back club and the dress code explicitly allows for them, otherwise opt for some dressier kicks.

Note that these rules apply in many parts of the world, but we’re speaking primarily from our experience with clubs in Los Angeles and New York. Europe, for example, has different rules on dress code and tipping, so please remember to do your own research when you’re going out in an awesome country outside of the United States.

2. Accessorize Intelligently

Accessorizing for men should be easy, but a lot of guys get a bit carried away. Do your best to avoid that. When it comes to men’s fashion, less is more.

When heading out to a bar or club, you should just focus on the basics:

  • Belt
  • Shoes
  • Watch
  • Jewellery
  • Wallet

That’s honestly all you need to have when focusing on accessories. There aren’t a lot of rules other than look classy, not tacky.

Make sure that your belt, shoes, and watch match. If you’ve got your eyes on those new tan suede shoes, then pick a belt and watch band that mesh well together. You could also choose dark brown or black leather, as long as nothing clashes.

The same is true of jewellery and metals. Be cool and subtle without looking like you’re trying too hard. A necklace is certainly not necessary, but if you decide to wear one, just go with a single chain tucked inside your shirt. One ring per hand is also fine, but don’t go overboard like this is an 80’s rap video.

Also, don’t mix and match gold rings with a copper belt buckle and silver watch band. Go with all gold or all silver from head to toe. Ideally, your glasses will also tie in well with all the other metals you’re wearing.

The one accessory where you can cut loose in your wallet. While it’s best to keep all your other fashion choices somewhat conservative, your wallet is the exception.

When you pull out your wallet to buy a girl a drink, she’s going to notice that wallet. It doesn’t make her a gold digger or anything. It just means that she’s paying attention to you, and women are attracted to men who put effort into their appearance and style. So make it count and leave a lasting impression. Never hit the club without a high-quality wallet that exudes style, success and personality.

3. Tip Well – But Don’t Hit on the Staff

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It’s unbelievable how many guys screw up on this one point.

It doesn’t matter how cute the cocktail waitress is or how flirty she appears to be when she comes by your table. She is not interested in you. She is not there to pick up. She’s not there looking for Mr. Right. She is only interested in doing her job well and earning good tips so she can pay her bills.

That’s it. Don’t read into it and make an ass of yourself. Just be friendly, tip her well, and don’t waste her time with pickup lines and small talk. Save those for the other ladies inside the bar. Some of them might actually be watching you, but they won’t let you get within ten feet if you’re always hitting on the waitress and trying to cop a feel.

The same goes with hitting on your bartender. Just don’t.

4. Realize Nobody Is There to Watch You Make Out

Sure, some guys go to bars just to pick up women, and some women go to bars for the same reason. I can see why this may give you the impression that public displays of affection are totally welcome and acceptable in this environment, but I can assure you they are not. I’ve been innocently sipping a cocktail at a bar before when someone’s hair is flung into my face and drink, only to find a couple groping each other at the bar, practically in my lap. There’s a reason people say, “get a room”.

While your bar buddies might be cheering you on to snag that girl’s phone number, none of them wants to watch you make out with her right there at the bar or in the booth over in the corner. Her girlfriends don’t really want to see that either.

As dating coach Diana Mandell says, “If it isn’t something you’d do in front of your grandma, don’t do it”.

If you do manage to connect with a woman at the bar, then that’s great. Enjoy a few drinks, get to know each other a little, get out on the dance floor and have a good time. Then give her a call a couple days later and set up a date for the following weekend.

If you end up getting lucky enough to leave the bar together that night, then give yourself a pat on the back, but be sure to keep a little mysterious for when you get home. Save the PDA for her place or yours and let the other bar patrons enjoy their drinks without having to watch your little love fest.

5. Consent Is Important

Consent has always been an essential part of sexual activity, but in the past couple of years it has come to light in mainstream media and modern society. The #MeToo movement has brought many celebrities sexual harassment into the light such as Aziz Ansari and Louis C.K. This movement has brought justice and power to women all over the world while propelling the issue of sexual consent into the spotlight and sparking national conversations about where the line is.

Society is beginning to further understand what the true meaning of consent is and the attitudes and laws about the subject are shifting rapidly. Many men are having a hard time figuring out how to initiate sex without overstepping those boundaries. You’re probably wondering how to handle it too.

On the one hand, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to make a move and then slip into the unwanted friend zone, but you also want to respect her boundaries and make sure she’s comfortable.

So the question is, how do you know if you’re making a woman uncomfortable? And how do you know she’s not feeling pressured into doing something she doesn’t want to do?

If a woman you connect with at a bar is interested in having sex with you that night, or any night in the future for that matter, she will let you know. Read her body language and listen to her. In today’s controversy-charged atmosphere surrounding the issue of consent, it’s best to interpret any lack of enthusiasm as she’s not interested.

If she wants to sleep with you, she won’t be silent about it and just sit there without making a move. If she does sit there in awkward silence without making a move, then you should probably assume that she doesn’t want to head to the bedroom.

And if there’s any doubt, just speak up and ask.

Ask her if she wants to make out. Ask her if she wants to have sex. If she gets turned off by you explicitly asking for consent, then she probably wasn’t all that excited about having sex with you anyway.

But keep in mind that a lack of consent doesn’t mean she is flat out rejecting you forever. She may really like you and want to pursue a relationship with you, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to jump into bed with you. It’s all about respecting her and wanting the same things. Be patient and respect her boundaries and feelings.

If that’s a deal breaker for you and all you want is a one-night stand, then that’s totally fine. You’re just not a good match, but I guarantee someone in that bar is a perfect match for you. If this circumstance arises, simply apologize for the misunderstanding and move along. Let her know that you’re not really looking for a relationship or anything remotely long-term. Then chalk this one up as a learning experience and try to be more proactive about communicating your intentions up front before leaving the bar next time.

Whether you’re looking for a one-night stand or something more meaningful, it’s important to be clear about what you want and to focus your attention on women who want the same thing as you. Otherwise you could create some frustrating and potentially-damaging consequences, both for yourself and for the women you interact with.

6. Have a Designated Driver

Of all the essentials on this list, having a designated driver may be the most important one. Yet, it is also the one that guys tend to ignore more than any other. That’s a shame, because statistics show that over 10,000 people in the U.S. die every year in drunk driving accidents.

This is crazy and totally avoidable. All you need to do is pick a designated driver when you go out. If nobody in your group wants to sip Shirley Temples all night long, then you can all pitch in and get an Uber or Lyft at the end of the night without breaking the bank. My friends and I often take turns staying sober for the night or we pick the driver by chance out of a hat before we head out for the night.

Many bars and clubs even offer free non-alcoholic drinks for designated drivers, so that’s a pretty cool perk.

Also, not dying in a car crash is another cool perk, so take notice.

7. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Last of all, if you’re hitting the bar scene with the intentions of jumpstarting your love life, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to make things happen immediately. Also don’t assume that all the single ladies out there on the dance floor are looking to hook up. Sexually explicit dance moves aren’t always an invitation for physical contact.

With that being said, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Everyone is out at the bar for the same reason, to have fun! Sure, you will make some mistakes, there will be some awkward moments and you’ll experience some rejection here and there. It’s all just part of the game.

Remember to be patient with yourself and have some fun throughout the entire process. Go out with some single friends who are also in the same boat. At the very least, you’ll have some interesting stories to share when the night’s over, even if you end up leaving the bar alone or with the same bunch of friends you showed up with.

The next time you head out for a night on the town, make sure to keep these seven essentials in mind. Know what you want before you even walk out the door. Dress to impress. Drink responsibly and don’t drive under the influence. Be respectful, but also respect yourself and allow yourself to have a fun night – no matter who you end up with when the night is over.

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.