It’s finally here: the day you’ve been anticipating for the last 20 years. At last, you’re legal and free to purchase and consume alcohol at your leisure. But before you go on celebrating this milestone, check out these tips and tricks to ensure the best 21st birthday experience possible.
Tip 1: Get plenty of rest the night before. Even if your birthday is on a Saturday and you want to go out for a drink Friday night, be smart. You’ve got a long day and night ahead of you.
Tip 2: Eat something before you start drinking! Don’t start your pregame celebrations without something in your stomach.
Tip 3: Plan out where you’re going to go ahead of time. Check out which bars have specials before you head out for the evening.
Tip 4: Leave some Tylenol and water by your bed. You’re not going to remember this when you stumble back home. The more prepared you are for the doom that looms in the morning, the better.
Tip 5: Use the buddy system. There’s nothing worse than being in a crowded place sans friends when you’ve had a couple of drinks.
Tip 6: If a stranger is buying you a drink, make sure you saw where it came from. Drinks should only be going from the bartender’s hands to yours if you see someone else’s transaction take place right in front of you.
Tip 7: Have a little bit of cash on you, but not too much. Make sure you’re able to pay for things like cover and drinks, but don’t take more cash than you can keep track of.
Tip 8: Tip your bartender. Even if it’s only a few bucks, you don’t want to be remembered as yet another cheapskate 21-year-old who didn’t tip.
Tip 9: Don’t stand on a table to dance, or a bar, or a chair for that matter. It’s likely that the bouncers will yell for you to get down, or you will fall. Either way, spare yourself the embarrassment and keep both feet planted on the floor.
Tip 10: Go with the flow. Don’t have a specific idea in your head of how the night should go, because we all know things don’t always turn out the way we expect. Have fun and enjoy yourself.
Tip 11: Don’t open a tab at the bar. It’s your birthday, there is a good possibility your friends will be the ones buying your drinks for you. If it’s your turn to buy drinks, try and use cash. Few things are worse than the hung over walk of shame back to the bar in the morning to pick up your debit card.
Tip 12: Monitor how many drinks you’re having in each hour. Or have a friend monitor this for you. The last thing you want is for your night to be cut short because you went too hard in the beginning.
Tip 13: Designate someone to be the unofficial photographer for the evening. Chances are you may not remember every detail of your 21st, so ask a friend to capture some of those (un)memorable moments.
Tip 14: Take pride in the fact that some bouncers may double card you at the door. Have a second form of identification ready to smugly present to them if need be.
Tip 15: Switch to water every couple of drinks. No, it doesn’t mean you’re lame, it ensures that tomorrow’s headache will be a little less painful and the day a little more bearable.
Tip 16: If you’re not a sash or tiara person (two classic signs of a 21st birthday celebration) don’t be afraid to tell people it’s your birthday. You might score some free drinks, or at least a few “happy birthdays.”
Tip 17: Request at least one song at the bar from the DJ/jukebox/ etc. You deserve to hear your anthem played at least once on your birthday.
Tip 18: Make sure you have some reliable taxi phone numbers in your phonebook. When the night is ending the last thing you need is to be stranded. To ensure a safe, reliable ride home save those numbers just in case.
Tip 19: Know your limit. Who cares if so-and-so drank double what you did on their 21st. If you’ve had enough to drink simply stop drinking. 21st birthdays are the gateway to a lifetime of opportunities to heighten your tolerance level at the bar.
Tip 20: Don’t feel guilty about the well past midnight snack you’re bound to have. You’re going to need something to soak up all the alcohol so you have at least some hope of getting out of bed in the morning. When it comes to drunk food, my motto is the greasier, the better.
Tip 21: Give yourself a pat on the back because you survived! You are 21 now, the world (or at least the bars) are your oyster. Now go get some sleep, you look awful.
Written by the staff at Willie’s Pub and Pool. Willie’s has great drink specials and is one of the most atmospheric bars Columbia MO has to offer.