How to Drink in New York City

posted in: adulting, Adulting101, City Life, Life, LifeHack | 0
I’m taking a break from the recent profile series to give you insights about living in New York City. From housing to drinking, I’ve asked a handful of New Yorkers to talk about their experience. If you know anything about me, you know that I love libations, eating, and going out. It’s expensive but if you play your cards right, you may just land a new friend, a date, or a free drink (or three). Here are five things I’ve learned about drinking my way around New York.

As someone who has lived in seven cities, including two of the most expensive and three of the cheapest, I’ve learned that it’s important to adapt to the culture at hand. Once my friends and family heard that I was moving to New York, I received a constant barrage of comments.

“How can you afford that? It’s so expensive.”

“I could never live there – too busy!”

“Too many people.”

“It’s so noisy/dirty/gross!”

“I’m so jealous!”

“I wish I could do that” (You can!)

While there are certainly a slew of stereotypes that are true about New York and New Yorkers (you can read them here, here, and here), once you’re past the surface, there is a whole world of loyalty and friendship that is unique from the rest of the world.

PC: Unsplash


  1. Tip Well, Drink Well

It doesn’t matter if you have one drink or 50, if you don’t tip well, you won’t get service. It seems obvious, but as someone who has received at least one free drink or shot every weekend I’ve been out since I moved here, I can tell you most patrons don’t tip. Take care of your bartender, and they will take care of you.

  1. Bartenders Are Human Too

The most important thing to becoming a respected patron is to realize that your bartender/server is a human too. It doesn’t matter if its Starbucks, a cocktail bar, or an Irish Dive – starting out with a smile and a “Hey, how are you?” will make a lasting impression are your new friends. In the business of New York, taking that extra 3 seconds seems like an eternity (and they are often caught off guard), but repeating this every time you come in earns their respect.

  1. It’s Cheaper Than Therapy

I have a handful of bartenders who I trust like they are my therapist. Good bartenders at a local watering hole want to get to know their regulars. I have bartenders who want to support my projects, school, and career. It starts off by realizing their human and it continues by letting them get to know you. So, get off your phone, make eye contact, and buy them a shot.


  1. It’s okay to go to a bar alone

Even the biggest extraverts struggle going to a bar on their own. Yet, going to bars alone allows you to get to know other regulars and is a great wa
y to meet new friends, have discussions on the J-E-T-S and that orange fellow in the White House.

  1. Rule 16 – Listen First, Ask Questions Second, Repeat

This can be applied to most interactions with anyone, but doing this with New Yorkers and bar patrons will be the best decision you’ve ever made. I’ve heard stories from firefighters who have been drinking at the same bar for 40 years, taken shots with runway models, and gotten business advice from CEOs at major companies. Yes, use discretion (people can be creeps), but be open to listening to others. You never know where the night may go.

About Matt Fier and Finding Renaissance: I’m a former Bible-school grad with a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Biblical Studies. I’ve lived in seven cities in six states since 2009, and had a lot of adventures. Now I’m a New Yorker getting my M.S. in Marketing Intelligence and enjoying everything NYC has to offer but most importantly, I’m searching for The Renaissance in all of us. You can learn more here.


Leave a Reply