There comes a time in every adult's life when he or she starts to drink like an actual adult. In an ideal world, that time would coincide with the drinker's 21st birthday. Unfortunately, after December 6, 1933, "adults" lost their collective palates with the onset of Prohibition and became excited by candy-tails crafted by ham-fisted, out-of-work actors. And as an underage cad bouncing around bars in New York City, I quickly learned that I wouldn't need my expensive Maine driver's license, which conveniently declared me to be 22, if I ordered a proper drink.
There are certain bars in which no adult should ever drink -- places that need to be left to the kids, men who wear socks with sandals, and women with disproportionate cup size to IQ ratios. In case you're unclear about which kind of bars I'm talking about, let me spell it out for you:
1. Any bar recommended with a caveat that stipulates "Get there before the bouncers start kicking the kids with fake ID's out." You're an adult. You should drink with adults. If freshmen want to drink there, you don't.
2. Any bar with more than one happy hour. Or any bar that calls it "happy hour" for that matter. The bastardized version of adults gathering for a simple drink at the end of the day to close business with colleagues shouldn't coincide with cheapskates looking for drink specials and the free-bread entree.
3. Any bar in a steakhouse. Steakhouse food usually sucks, steakhouse wine usually sucks, and steakhouse cocktails are usually overwritten renditions of shitty cosmos served because 'cougars' can't stomach the overly sweet Napa cabernets that we believe go so well with food. These places tend to have martini menus where not one drink contains gin + vermouth. That's like having a cheeseburger menu on which everything is vegetarian. If fake-titted ex-housewives and bros wearing off-the-rack suits are enjoying themselves, run away. These boys probably own "going out shirts." Adults should not patronize these establishments; they should avoid them at all costs.
4. Any sports bar that isn't a sports bar. If your sports bar doesn't have a bartender/bar maiden behind the bar that can give the line on a fight or the current score on a game not being shown, it's not a sports bar. If an out-of-work stripper is pouring drinks, it's not a sports bar. If there's a Jäger machine on the back bar, it's not a sports bar, it's a douche-bag hangout, and adults should avoid it. A bar that relies on ESPN for sports analysis is like a bar that lets Jim Beam write its drink menu (ahem).
5. Any club that serves bottle service so you can make the drink that you drank in your parents' basement in high school. Woohoo. You get to pay $100 to make your own shitty highballs. The service industry night at these bars sees members of the A-team from Aurora's Sizzler blowing their paycheck on a Tuesday. You will not be in good company. There is only one kind of adult-acceptable bottle service, and it happens in restaurants and bars of good repute. Your cue is the short, well-edited bottle list that includes actual French names like Bollinger and Pol Roger.
A Denver bartender