by the College Inn's Nicole Greer

The first time you walk into a bar you will be disappointed. Inevitably, you've built bars up to be the pinnacle of social existence. However, bars are usually the opposite: a place where downtrodden boozehounds and heartbroken lovers drown away their sorrows. And if you don't know what you're doing, a bar can be one of the worst places in the world.

The first (and most important) thing you must do is eat something. Drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster and should always be avoided. Secondly, you should pick a good night to introduce yourself to the joy of boozing in public. Here at the College Inn, it's Thursday night. A good, mellow crowd comes in on Thursday nights, and I can give you a little more attention. The worst night here is probably Wednesday night, what we call "international night," when a lot of international students come in. It gets really crowded and can be very hard to deal with. Friday and Saturday nights, usually the preferred night of college drinkers, may be too overwhelming for a first timer.

When you're ordering your drink, there are several things you need to know. First of all, know that I'm fucking busy, and I don't have time to stand around while you decide what you want. Ordering a drink is not hard. Just keep it simple. Guys drink beer or whiskey (preferably whiskey), and girls--well, just try not to order an annoying drink like a Cosmopolitan (that's vodka, triple sec, Rose's lime juice, cranberry juice, and lime). Never ask a bartender, "What do you have?"

As far as ordering drinks for the opposite sex, a good drink for girls to order guys is a tequila and Tabasco shot. Guys should order girls carrot cakes (Goldschl...ger, Baileys Irish cream, coffee liqueur), buttery nipples (butterscotch schnapps, Baileys Irish cream), or blow jobs (amaretto, whipped cream). What guy doesn't want to see a girl suck down a blow job? No matter what you get, tip your bartender. Nothing will ruin your night quicker than a surly host. If you order a ten-dollar pitcher of beer, I want to see at least two bucks heading my way.

In terms of consumption, rule number one is never mix drinks. Just don't do it. Not only will you feel much worse tomorrow morning, but chances are you'll act like a jackass tonight. It happens every weekend, almost invariably: The same groups come in and they'll have a couple pitchers of Pabst and everything will be fine; then they'll order some Irish car bombs (whiskey, Baileys Irish cream, Guinness stout) or three wise men (J...germeister, Goldschl...ger, and Rumple Minze), and that's when things get out of control. If I'm looking at some girl and she's a hundred and ten pounds and she's had a few beers and then starts putting back some of these crazy shots, I flat out tell her, "I'm not cleaning up your puke."

You can always tell novice drinkers by their behavior once alcohol has been consumed. That's when things really head south. I don't have the patience to cover everything, so here are the basics: Don't hit on your bartender. I've heard all your lines before and they're not going to work, trust me. Along those same lines, try to refrain from having sex with other bar patrons--it's impolite and messy. And always know that vomiting in the bar will result in an automatic ejection. There are no exceptions to this rule. You're in a public place and you're an adult now, so act accordingly.

That said, feel free to be friendly. Everyone likes to be known, but you must realize that it takes time to build a relationship with a bartender. You can speed up this process simply by tipping well and treating us with respect. Never yell at your bartender, and never, ever ask for a "strong" drink. Such behavior will result in slower service, weaker drinks, and dirtier looks.

If you are still unsure how to approach the bar scene, just make this your guiding principle: Don't be an asshole. If that's still asking too much, stay at Gamma Alpha Upsilon and leave the bar scene to the rest of us.

The College Inn Pub is located at 4006 University Way NE, 634-2307, in the University District. Greer's advice is from an interview conducted by Will Kostas.