How to avoid getting kicked out of your Kalocal

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On my 21st birthday, my friend and I high-tailed it over to the nearest bar in our neighbourhood. We’d been drinking since puberty back during my high school days, so we guzzled our beer quickly, still prepared to pay for the second round. I reached into my pocket and pulled out some cash and there were also some one hundred shilling coins and notes we’d scrounged up earlier in the day and proudly slapped it down on the bar. We couldn’t understand why the bartender was so angry. All the money spends the same, right? He could’ve kicked us out, but instead, he took mercy on us and made us count them.

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Being a bar customer, though that’s certainly important, it’s etiquette around very mundane things like payment, behaviour and general decency that prove you’ve graduated to proper drinking adulthood. So I don’t care if you’ve been doing keg stands since you were 13 unless you’ve done your bar homework. That’s okay, though. Everybody’s got to learn sometime.

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Bars are where you go to make a fool out of yourself on purpose. That’s why they exist! To sit in legally sanctioned places where being foolish is somehow acceptable. Still, bars do have a specific protocol. You pay money to sit in a darkly lit room full of complete strangers where a man or woman behind a counter administers liquid poison in different flavours during a set number of hours. Even though the poison makes you want to act, at best, gleefully idiotic, or at worst, totally aggro, so long as you don’t do anything too stupid or illegal, they’ll let you sit there all night doing this. Oh, and sometimes they serve food.

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In the booze ads, it always looks like you’ll be starring in your own personal commercial when you go to a bar, partying in full view of a handsome/beautiful, attentive bartender with your beautiful, diverse friend group, which includes one lady who licks the remaining booze off the ice cubes.

Of course, in reality, bars are weird-ass places full of weird-ass people. Those weirdos come in two types, event drinkers and career drinkers. In other words, people who are drinking because some circumstantial thing is cause for celebration or mourning, and people who will be there drinking every day no matter what happens, because the thing that happened that made them want to drink is called life.

All this is to say that to be let in and allowed to hang around a place where such disparate types commingle freely, a kind of unspoken social contract you don’t want to disrupt. It’s been working perfectly well this way for years.

It’s okay if you don’t know any of this though. Plenty of us roll up on bars with no planning and figure out what they have once we’re there. And that’s okay, too. Just don’t waste the bartender’s time figuring this out. Don’t approach the bar and get the bartender’s attention while you stand there deciding. They hate that. Just hang back until you know. However, it’s okay to ask for some suggestions or guidance, but make sure you’re aware of how busy it is before you suck up a bartender’s time.

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Before most of us are old enough to go into a bar, we’ve had plenty of experience drinking, but not in a bar-like setting, and it’s different. Drinking in bars is/or should be, anyway different than drinking in your friend’s basement, you’re going out for drinks, not hanging out to get wasted. Don’t be that guy that pounds a Johnny Walker or Jack Daniels like it’s a shot. It’s okay to drink slowly.

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It’s also okay go to a bar alone. Some of my favourite bar guests are the people who come in and have a glass of whatever they want to have while they read, browse something on their phones. Before I forget, make sure you tip. They’ll probably remember if you don’t. Tip well if you can. They’ll probably remember if you do. I made sure to tip well at my neighbourhood bar(kalocal) and in no time I was getting free drinks.

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If you’ve managed to spend your evening at a bar not being a jerk, then don’t mess it up by closing the place down. These people want to go home. So tie one on and enjoy yourself, and then clear out like a decent, respectable drinking adult.

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