Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Bar Dynamics

Your local watering hole aside, a bar can be a difficult place to get served quickly. When it's 6pm and the closest bar to you is six deep with two disinterested Australians pulling pints you're in a world of pain.

During my university years, as well as wasting my time on a degree that would have no bearing on my adult life, myself and a few friends came up with a robust method of getting to the bar in the most trying circumstances- bar dynamics.

There's more to think about when approaching a bar than simply queuing. Being British queuing is something that comes naturally, however involve alcohol, and the need to get it quickly and the dark arts are exposed. Those that are truly skilled will ghost in and out with a round before anyone's noticed. Those that aren't will be left waiting, or worse in a fight with a group of pissed up squaddies.

So onto the theory-

A busy bar has quite an organic feel to it. It's actually tidal, with areas of activity, and likewise areas of inactivity that ebb and flow. Identifying these areas is key to speedy service.

Generally bar staff will serve people within arms reach, occasionally moving to the periphery, but for the most sticking to this zone. So when moving into the crowd your destination needs to be this zone.
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There are exceptions. At well staffed bars you'll find the these serving zones can overlap. Head to the overlap and you'll get the attention of both staff upping your chances.
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Be warned though, a bar that has multiple staff, but not enough can lead to dead zones. End up here and you may as well get your phone out and start dicking about on facebook, you'll be there a while.
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So you know where you're going, you just need to get there. What's the best way to get through that crowd? You will need to wait, but the key is how you react when people who have been served move back through the crowd.

In the first stages when your on the edge of the crowd you need to open your body up and face towards the person on the way out. This allows you to slide into the space they leave. Ideally they will be facing away from you. This allows you to push as they are naturally braced to protect their drinks. The person on the opposite side will not have time to react to your move and, hey presto, your one person ahead.
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You're now so close to the bar your parched lips can taste the alcohol. You're one layer away, you're in line with your target area, don't lose it now. At this point concentration needs to be at a maximum. There are lots of people moving and you need to be in the right place.

You need to be in the right position now to take advantage of the person in front. Which way are they leaning? Which hand is handing over the dosh? Have they passed any drinks back? These are all important questions as they can give you a clue. You need to be on the shoulder that turns closest to the bar as the person spins.

In much the same way as the previous diagram you will find yourself filling the vacuum that they have left.
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Great, now you're at the bar, the hard part is over. However there are some things to aid further speedy serving.

Do not wave money- you're not at a strip club. The only place I've seen this work is a Wetherspoons in Manchester. Enough said about that.

Don't queue near signs that say 'glass collection only'- you'll be ignored until the bar is empty, and then you'll be told to move to place your order.

Barmaids- no matter what you think, unless in very rare circumstances, they do not fancy you. Calling them sweetheart, darling, and love, is unlikely to help. Buying them a drink might.

Be polite- in the same manner that you remember arseholes, so do the bar staff.

Random furniture- you've spotted a space at the bar, why isn't anyone there? Because out of view is the bar stool of the unhinged local who's in the shitter. Move his stool at your peril.

The final theory, only to be used when hard drinking with like minded individuals.

The Stock Market-

This gives you a presence at the bar, at all times. Generally you will be very drunk, very quickly after doing this for a short time.

You will need to work in shifts, normally there would need to be five of you.

You need one guy at the bar, the trader. He will repeatedly order, based on the instruction of the guy in the pit, or six deep queue at the bar. The guy in the pit will pass drinks from the trader to the main group.

To keep this working the main group have to finish their drinks before the bar staff return to take a further order from the trader. At a busy bar this is usually 5-10 minutes. As you can imagine this gets messy.

Remember to rotate the roles, and if you all act as the trader at least once, the chances are you'll be shitfaced within an hour or two.

Well that's it. Bar Dynamics, good luck with the implementation if you choose to follow this system. Just remember the queue to the bar is an organic one. Roll with it, ride the wave, and inebriation awaits.










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