Buying Someone a Drink in A Bar – Yes or No?

I’ve never really been one for accepting drinks off strangers.

My youngest sister is the complete opposite.  It’s a family joke that she never goes on a night out with more than £5 in her pocket.  She’s slim, tall, beautiful, with long blonde hair, and big boobs.  And so guys happily always pay for her drinks!

I’m sure my hesitance stems to some degree from being a good girl at school! (not that I’m saying my sister wasn’t … probably treading on thin ice there!) I was taught to never accept things from strangers, and that included drinks.

I also never really drank much in my teens because of sport, so it was no big deal buying my own Diet Cokes!  But as I’ve got older, I’ve kept the same approach.  Normally, to get a drink off a guy, it requires some interaction.  You have to seek it out. Make eye contact, hold eye contact.  It’s not something I’ve ever really done in bars (until recently with Mr Mayfair!).  And whilst I realise buying someone a drink is a simple and effective ice breaker, I have a lot more time for someone who comes over, introduces himself, and then perhaps after some conversation, where it’s evident we’re getting on well, offers to get me a drink. Yes, that approach obviously takes far more balls, but in the long run (as far as I’m concerned) it’s far more effective.

For me the key is the conversation.  I need to know if I’m interested in the person or not before I accept the drink.


It’s the same approach I apply to splitting a bill at the end of a date.  If there’s something I don’t like, it’s the feeling that I owe someone something.  And so I will always pay at the end of a date if I don’t fancy the guy and have no intention of meeting him again.  I don’t want to feel obliged to meet up with him again, simply because he paid for my dinner. I don’t believe my meal should be paid for, just because I’m a woman on a date, and so I try to keep the slate clean, so if I don’t stay in contact, I haven’t had something for nothing.

Bearing this in mind, if someone I’m definitely not attracted to sends over a drink uninvited, it puts me on edge.  I feel a social obligation to reply in some way.  To ask him over, speak to him for some time, in ‘repayment’ of the drink.  And I guess I don’t like having that presumption thrust upon me. It’s my night out – I should be able to decide who I do or don’t speak to. Obviously you don’t have to engage in conversation if someone sends over a drink.  You could drink it and avoid eye contact all night … or even go so far as to send it back … But that goes against my manners, and just adds to the overall awkwardness of it all.

And so, in general, I equate sending over a drink with awkwardness.


It’s not something I would ever choose to do myself.   I know how awkward the gesture makes me feel, and so wouldn’t want my first interaction with a guy I liked to involve that potential awkwardness. And realistically, it’s way more forward than I would ever act. Yes, I’m confident, and talkative in a social situation. But I would never back myself enough to check out a guy from across the bar, send over a drink, and then wait to make knowing eye contact with him.

It seems other girls aren’t quite so inhibited though!

Last Thursday night I was on another Table8. Regular readers will know just how much I endorse this brand of singles event. Table8 runs dinner-party style evenings at top London restaurants. The concept is simple. An equal number of boys and girls turn up. You meet and greet over drinks, and then are seated around the table Boy-Girl-Boy-Girl. At the end of each course, the boys move two boy spaces to the left.

Simple, and effective.

The venues and pricing attract like-minded single London professionals, and even if you don’t fancy anyone at the table, you’re guaranteed to get on with the majority of guests, including members of the same sex. Thursday night was my fourth event organised by Table8, and every time I’ve come away with contacts (both guys and girls) who I’ve stayed in touch with. And I *may* have pulled Streetmate after my second Table8 experience … 😉

Last Thursday we met in Caravan, at Exmouth Markets.  The Coincidental is a big fan of the restaurant, and so when we saw a Table8 staged there, we both signed up as soon as the table went live.  We didn’t realise until the night that Miss32 had also signed up for the event, so of the 5 girls at the table, 3 were 30 Dates girls!  Unlike the Mall Tavern, and Beaufort House, where I’ve attended previous Table8 events, we didn’t have a private room, so introductions took place in a very crowded bar area, and when one diner arrived late, we were left chatting a little awkwardly in a very small area by the bar.  It didn’t take long to realise that one guy in particular had caught most of the girls’ attention.  With rather Abercrombie model / Hollyoaks star looks, and dressed impeccably in a casual check Jack Wills shirt and jeans, I watched with a grin, as one by one the girls caught sight of Mr SuperFly.

Now, as those of you who read about my encounter with Streetmate will know, I’ve developed something of a tactic when it comes to Table8 events.  (One which clearly won’t work if I keep sharing it, but ah well …!!)  Because of the nature of the evening, with the guy rotation and the drinking, I’ve worked out, if you spot an attractive member of the opposite sex, the key is to position yourself so that he or she ends up sitting next to you for dessert.  That way you get to speak to him or her when they’re a bit tipsy (so better, more revealing conversation!) and you’re likely to stay seated that way after dinner.

On this front, I failed rather epically as Mr SuperFly was my first ‘date’ of the evening, as opposed to my last one!

Not only was he incredi-hot, but he also turned out to be an extremely interesting, nice guy (yes they do exist!).

We were mid-conversation, chatting about skiing, when the waitress interrupted us.

As she placed what looked like a shot of Bloody Mary, a stick of celery and an oyster in front of him (!), at first I assumed it was another part of the (rather odd and unappetising) taster menu we were eating.

But no.  A girl seated in the raised bar area just behind our table had sent over a drink to Mr SuperFly!

Ok, so some of this advance I understand.

1) Mr SuperFly was genuinely far more attractive than the average guy you see in a London pub or restaurant

On second thoughts, that’s the ONLY part of the advance I understand!


2) Mr SuperFly was sitting beside a girl (Miss32), and opposite another girl (me!) who he was in conversation with.  There was nothing advertising the fact we were on a singles event, so it was pretty ballsy to assume he was single.  Even if me or Miss32weren’t with him, we could have been work colleagues or friends, and he could have had a girlfriend at home?

3) The girl then refused to look at him when he rather awkwardly (and quite adorably!) tried to turn around to thank her.  If you’re going to have the balls to send over a drink, surely you get in a decent bout of eye contact afterwards.  If not, what’s the point?!

3)  She sent over an oyster.  An ugly-looking, far too phallic (can I use that word for a girl???) oyster!  That’s like a guy sending over a salami sausage with a drink!

shutterstock_121592152Now, obviously, we’ve already accepted that I’m no expert at the act of sending over drinks.  Or accepting them.

But I really didn’t get that move!

If you’re going to go to the trouble of buying someone a drink and sending it over, my advice would be …

1) Choose an attractive, mainstream drink that everyone likes and will drink (Champagne? Prosecco? A beer for a guy?)

2) Avoid sending over any ugly reminders of genitalia with said drink … far too forward!

3) Make sure the person you’re sending the drink over to is actually single! Pretty ballsy to send a drink over to a guy or girl who is already chatting to a member of the opposite sex.

4) Be ready with a wink and a smile (or something similar) when the person looks over you to thank you for the drink.  Even better, get the same drink for yourself, and do an air toast when they go to say thank you.

5) Or finally, my approach.  Forget sending over a drink uninvited!  Instead, go over, start chatting, and if you get on well, THEN offer to buy him or her a drink.

Personally, I’d still like the guy to make the first move, so I won’t be sending over any Bloody Marys and oysters just yet … but who knows, maybe I’m going wrong??!!

(Or maybe not … Mr SuperFly didn’t even speak to Oyster Girl, and ended up sharing a taxi home with Miss32!)

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx


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  1. Why the Table8 Formula Works | The 30 Dates Blog

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