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I like bars, and I think I know why: I like drinking. I find that if I drink enough, I get a buzz, and if I drink more, I get drunk. Maybe it's just me. I'm weird like that. Oh, I left out an important part. The stuff I'm drinking is alcohol. Was that obvious? Sorry. I'm a little messed up at the moment because I'm writing this from a bar. It's not actually open yet, but there was a perfectly good bucket of huffable gas in the alley next door and the vagrant I beat to death with a brick didn't mind sharing. Well, what else are you supposed to do at 7:49 a.m. when you're waiting for a bar to open?

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What? You think you're better than me?

But even though I like bars, they are not all the same. They come in all shapes and sizes, and our young, impressionable readers need a sexy older man with a misspent life to shepherd them through the liquor-spilled tabletops of adulthood. So get into my boozemobile and let's examine four kinds of bars and what you can expect from them.

(BTW, my boozemobile is a car that runs on alcohol -- I'm not condoning drunk driving. If you take only one lesson from this article, let it be that drunk driving is wrong and beating the homeless to death with bricks to steal their huffing supplies is completely acceptable. Is that two lessons? So be it. That's how much I have to teach.)

4
The Irish Pub

Of all the bars, the Irish pub is my favorite. It's never too loud. It's never completely packed. And despite stereotypes, you're not likely to get into a fistfight unless you do something stupid like scream "Van Morrison wrote 'Brown-Eyed Girl' about Shane MacGowan."

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Shouting "IRA? More Like U-R-GAY!" would also be bad.

The Selection Offered & What You Order

There will be Guinness, Harp, and several of the standard shit American beers you've come to love. There will also be a decently stocked bar with Absolut Vodka, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and at least one good scotch.

Do not order the Guinness unless you're a 65-year-old retiree from the mother country who plans on doing nothing but drinking five of them over the course of seven hours. If they're done right, they're thick, meaty works of art that make no sense for a night of getting drunk. Order what's on tap, or any liquor straight or on the rocks. Don't get fancy. I once saw a frat boy order a cranberry and vodka in an Irish pub. The bartender did a quick scan of the bar to make sure he wasn't on an errand for his girlfriend who's suffering from a yeast infection before suppressing a laugh and fetching his order. Did the bartender and I share a politically incorrect laugh at his expense when he left? We did!


I recently went drinking in a Irish pub with the Gentleman Bastard Brendan McGinley, who ignored my advice about not pounding Guinness and consequently ended up looking like a pompous twat. In his defense, however, his shirt appears to fit his body and is not inexplicably shiny.

The Staff

There's a reason only about nine people live in all of Ireland. The majority of the country's inhabitants seem to have left the home country to work in New York City bars. (Yes, I'm basing these experiences on New York. Sorry, I didn't travel the world to do a comprehensive case study. If you'd like to fund such research, let me know.)

I'm not saying that all the Irish are the same, but all the Irish use exactly one personality in the performance of their bartending duties. And why not? It's the quintessential bartender demeanor. Every Irish bartender I've met has excelled in exhibiting courteousness without being subservient. Then they take that and mix it with a healthy dose of world-weary cynicism. You will feel like you know the Irish bartender instantly, and yet if you come back 40 times, you will never get to know him any better. A touch beyond friendly and always a yard short of familiar. I went to the same pub all the time for years, and every single time I bumped into the bartender at the urinal, he said the same thing: "Jews piss in the alley with the blacks and queers." Actually no, he said, "I used to think you buy beer, but now I know you only rent it." Every single time.

The Crowd

No one too fancy. No one too completely coarse. People who think hanging with friends and getting slowly drunk over the course of a night is its own reward.

3
The College Bar

I went to school in a town with a ridiculously strong enforcement of the drinking age, so I didn't start hitting college bars until near the end of my college experience. (Seriously, even their fake ID checking was superb.) Then I continued going to college bars for a few more years before moving to the Irish pubs that became my mainstay. Anyway, they suck unless you're the kind of person best described as someone who sucks. Then you might feel right at home.

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"You're not talking about me, are you, broheim?"

The Selection Offered & What You Order

Bud, Coors, and something stupidly hoppy, like Magic Hat. They'll slip you Svedka or Smirnoff for your vodka unless you specify Absolut. Grey Goose is a maybe, and if it's there, its obscenely overpriced to take advantage of the girly girls or guys looking to impress with daddy's plastic. Grab a Bud and call it a day.

There might also be a Hooters reject floating around with shot glasses, tequila, and ginger ale or some sort of shot-glassable abomination. She'll flirt you up to do some tequila poppers or vodka fizzies or gin jizz blasts or whatever the establishment is calling its overpriced liquid disgrace.

The Staff

The staff sucks. They're young guys who can't tend or they're hot chicks who do that shitty flirt technique of laughing at jokes you never even made. They also think they're good at their jobs because they are young and inexperienced and likely drunk.

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"I know how to make ALL the drinks: vodka and cranberry, Jager shot, and beer!"

The Crowd

Frat guys, sorority sisters, losers trying to act cool. If an anonymous group of people could be summarized in three letters, it would be DUH. Every six seconds, you will hear some girl shriek, "OMG, I LOVE THIS SONG." Some people will get into a brawl that will devolve into a 20-minute slap fight until a bouncer ends it. Numbers will be exchanged and everyone will pretend to have a swell time. Some people do a have a swell time in this environment. Assholes. I'm not sure what happens to them in five years when they're too old for the college bar. I guess the ones with money move on to the fancy pants bars and the failures move on to the dive bars, ruining both.

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2
The Fancy Pants Bar

You know the fancy pants bar because something about the name will typically piss you off. The Rusted Pumpernickel, the Weathered Bettina, the Anal Passage ... Or they'll take an Irish pub and class it up until it's painful nonsense: Sgt. McGornicle's Gaelic Blarney. You'll go there because you're an insufferable douche or because the place you want to go to is too crowded and what are you supposed to do, not drink?

The Selection Offered & What You Order

I don't know. The beers are never the same, and they come with a menu to describe them all, and you can do a taste test with a tiny cup. There will be a citrusy beer, a super hoppy beer, an insanely high alcoholic content beer, a beer you eat with a knife and a fork, a beer that pretends to be a light normal lager that is inexplicably messed up in some way you won't be able to articulate and you will wonder if you got a bad one or if it's supposed to taste that way. And all of it will be way too expensive.

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Be sure to ask us about available financing for our finest imported microbrew!"

The liquor will all be top shelf, there will be scotches with weird names you can't remember, and if you order Jack Daniels, an alarm will go off and seven French mimes will jump on the bar and sneer down at you.

The Staff

Excellent, knowledgeable, and boring.

The Crowd

Quiet. The quietest bar ever. People who actually send drinks back. People who order things the bar actually doesn't have. People who do that swirl the glass thing and know what they're looking for. Very few numbers exchange. Most of the laughs are about laying off workers and sexually harassing minority employees.

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"... and she's all like 'Please, sir,' and I'm all like 'Uh, pretty sure I'm whiter than you!'"

1
The Dive Bar

Dive bars are a fact of life. They are places where rejects go to drink and hope goes to die. I once hit a dive bar in NYC with Cracked Editor-in-Chief Jack O'Brien. I wanted to go someplace cool, but Jack has absolutely no class and goes into shock if he has to pay more than $4 for a beer. (Also the place I picked was too crowded.)


Pictured above, Cracked Editor-in-Chief Jack O'Brien months before being poorly libeled on his own site. Oh, the humanity.

The Selection Offered & What You Order

Budweiser, Jack Daniels, Budweiser, Jack Daniels, Jagermeister, and Budweiser. Go for a Bud -- preferably from the bottle so you don't have to rely on the bars' dishwashing skills, which don't exist.

The dive bar usually has no food but will let you bring food in and give you the phone number to a sub shop or pizza place. On the day you order a pizza and then bring it to a dive bar, be sure to call every teacher or parent who ever said you'd never amount to anything and let them know they were right.

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"Mom? Remember when I said, 'I'll show you'? Uh, yeah, about that ..."

The Staff

Angry dudes and/or skanks. Unlike the misguided child staff of the college bar, these people don't pretend to have a skill. They don't aspire to anything. They stand behind the bar. You sit on your stool and shut up. You give them money. They give you drinks.

The Crowd

Losers, rejects, prostitutes, ex-cons, Jack O'Brien, alcoholics, incredibly sexy Cracked columnists just trying to have a nice drink with their editor who insists on going to dive bars because it's where "his peeps are."

Don't talk to the dudes. They will feel insulted and want to fight you. Don't talk to the women. They might have sex with you and give you a disease. Root for the local sports team. Nod approvingly when Bruce Springsteen comes on. Look at your Bud and shut up until you leave. If you get home without being knifed or poisoned, fate has smiled upon you.



A new season of HATE BY NUMBERS is almost here. Also, be sure to follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.

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