Should I go to a bar that I don't like but that my friend chose?
March 22, 2007 9:53 AM   Subscribe

My friend invites a group to a bar, for which I have disdain and is expensive. I am selective about where I go, and I am on a budget. Should I go?

I think I'll have fun because I'll be with my friend. But everything about the bar is a turn-off for me: it's just not my scene (more financial and ex-jock types), and according to reviews online, the staff is rude. Furthermore, it's rather pricey. Could I suggest another place to go? If I decline, should I tell her why? What should I do to prevent this in the future?
posted by beautiful to Human Relations (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you enjoy the company, go for the company. Eat beforehand, drink water (or sneak in your own flask, if you must, but make sure it's spirits that are worth sneaking in), and realize that you don't have to interact with anyone else there except your group. Carpe diem!

Don't be afraid to tell the inviter that you would prefer somewhere else next time, tho. Just don't be irritating about it, and all will be well.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:08 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: If you go, don't complain. If you don't go, don't whine about why you're not going. To avoid this in the future, do the planning yourself.

Choosing a locale for a group of people is a pain in the ass, and one of the main reasons it's a pain in the ass is because someone will always complain about anywhere that is chosen. I am on the verge of giving up on a couple friends because they just pout and pout and pout some more any time anyone even suggests a place that doesn't meet their very limited criteria for an acceptable venue. It's obnoxious as hell.
posted by occhiblu at 10:08 AM on March 22, 2007 [15 favorites]

If it sounds like you'll have fun and you can afford it, why not go? If you can't afford it, decline and tell your friend why.

If you'd rather the group go somewhere else next time, maybe next time you should do the inviting.
posted by contraption at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2007

A bar is just a place people go to drink. You're not in high school anymore (right?); open your mind to the possibility that some "financial and ex-jock types" might be nice people. And it's not like you have to talk to anyone but the people you came with, anyway. If you do decide to stay home because you're cooler-than-thou, don't tell your friend, because she might get offended, and rightfully so.

But the other reasons sound valid. I'm not sure if you can suggest another place, because it all depends on how big the group is, whether they've already decided that they're going there, etc- it's hard to change plans once a group gets large. If you do decide to stay home because the place sounds pricey, I don't think it would be bad to tell your friend after the fact, oh, sorry, Bar X is a little pricey for me. Then, try to get in early on planning the next outing.

And on preview: Yes, yes, yes to what occhiblu said. Don't bitch- it's so lame.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I find myself in situations like this often. I have friends that insist on having birthday parties and other events at fancy restaurants and bars that their friends detest or can barely afford. If it's a birthday or something, I usually grit my teeth and go and try to have fun. But if it's just a casual get-together, I skip it.

You can't be there for ALL the fun times, right? So hold out for one you can actually enjoy. Unless it's particularly important to your friend for you to be there, or unless you see this leading to a pattern in which you wind up rarely hanging out with them because of the locale, then simply decline and say you don't feel able to rise to the occasion. No further explanation necessary. Next time, have a better bar suggestion on the ready so you can tilt things early on.
posted by hermitosis at 10:12 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: Don't go, you've already decided you won't enjoy it. Don't suggest another place to go, because it's not your event. If you want to do something else, set it up yourself.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:13 AM on March 22, 2007

Telephone the bar and ask how much your favourite drink will cost. This is F. Multiply this by the number of drinks you will have, D. Add to this the cost of transport there, T and back again B (traditionally, B>T, but your mileage may vary). Estimate the number of Jocks present J and the number of financial types A. Consider the cost of annoying your friend C, and your likelihood of having a good time anyway L. Count the number of bad reviews Rb and the number of good reviews Rg.

if τ(Rb - Rg)*JA + λ(FD + B +T) > CL
then you should go.

Unfortunately, λ and τ are scale factors which you are going to have to determine experimentally. I suggest going to the bar, but bearing this formula in mind and treating the outing as a parameter setting exercise rather than as a social event. Whilst you are there, you might want to consider suggesting a cheaper and more pleasant venue for your next outing.
posted by handee at 10:18 AM on March 22, 2007 [11 favorites]

It doesn't sound like you´re in college, but if you are, among my college friends, it's not uncommon to decline an invitation somewhere because it´s too expensive. A lot of us are on tight budgets. If you´re not in college, it's probably different. Also, if this is for some special occasion, I'd say one generally tries to find a way to go. Like thenewwazoo said, eat beforehand so you can save some money there. Also, you can try saving some money up before or after. If you eat out regularly, make food for yourself for a week. Stuff like that. So I guess my answer is, if you going will mean a lot to your friend, try to go if you can without breaking the bank. If it's not that important, and you just can't afford it, you can always say you're busy, tired, whatever.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:20 AM on March 22, 2007

sorry about the quotes in place of apostrophes. My Keyboard layout was flipping out. I thought I caught all of them
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:21 AM on March 22, 2007

"according to reviews online"

Yeah, we all know how accurate that online reviews are.

If you go, are you required to purchase alcohol? Heck, just get a Coke and enjoy spending time with your friend. Next time, you do the inviting and go to the place that you like.

And something strange has happened.. I'm going to agree 110% with Occhiblu. Picky people are a real pain in the ass. She is spot on in her statement.

Relax, you'll probably have a great time.
posted by drstein at 10:23 AM on March 22, 2007

If you do decline, don't mention that it's based on bad online reviews.
posted by smackfu at 10:27 AM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: I'm on a self-imposed budget and have a lot of friends whose idea of a good time is often different from mine. Basically my question to myself is "Is the cost of this event (drinks/food/travel/tickets/whatever) worth it to get some quality friend time in?" combined with "Am I likely to have a bad time no matter what?" If the answer to the first question is yes and the second is no, then I go and just think about the money as the low low occasional costs associated with friendships and having a wide variety of friends.

In both cases, unless the friend has invited just me out to dinner/movie/something, I won't say "I'm not going, that bar sucks" or "I'll go but that bar sucks!" I just say "Thanks, maybe next time, have fun!" If your friend asks you can always say that you prefer some other location for next time, but otherwise the decision to go is yours alone, not a negotiation betwen you and your friend.
posted by jessamyn at 10:27 AM on March 22, 2007

and according to reviews online, the staff is rude

Forget this right now, or you'll be miserable AND be annoying with your self-fulfilling prophesy.

I go to events sometimes that are really, really not my scene -- I speak from experience. You can a) grit your teeth, roll your eyes, and go have fun with your friend or b) bow out.

If you choose option a, just limit the amount of time you're willing to hang. Have an excuse at the ready.

If you really do not want to go, tell your friend that you'd love to get together, but the chosen bar is just not your scene and you don't want to be all grumpy-pants about it.
posted by desuetude at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2007

it's just not my scene

I feel like a dick for saying this, but. 'Grow up' was what came to mind.

I'm not unsympathetic, just...that, that tendency to view the world in terms of cliques, is something that's worth leaving behind once -- well, let's say by the time the passport you had in school has expired.

As for cost, what are you (realistically) going to order? If you eat beforehand and pass up the $$ 'fennel, gorgonzola and foccacia bruschetta,' there's a finite amount that's charged for basic beer even in snooty bars.

Not worth passing up a probable good time with your friend, and opportunity to expand the circle of what you do, based on disdain that might be in error. The only downside is that since you're in a group, you can't easily skimp on the tip if it does turn out to have lousy service. (You can of course snark on-line after, though, and there's certainly pleasure in that when it's deserved and done well.)
posted by kmennie at 11:00 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

if there's no cover for the bar, buy one drink, nurse it all night long. so..go and have fun.

unless you're a raging alcoholic and you must get smashed. in that case, buy a case of coors, drink it before you go, and then show up and nurse one drink all night long.

and if you're not into financial/jock types, good bet there will be a few people there who aren't that type either and who were dragged there by their friends too.

or maybe you just like to complain and whine. if so, you're doing a bangup job and you shouldn't go because you'll be an unsufferable twat.
posted by Stynxno at 11:26 AM on March 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think I'll have fun because I'll be with my friend.

If you think you'll have fun, then it doesn't matter that the bar is not your scene. The only issue should be cost. If your friends plan on getting totally trashed and you won't have fun unless you are also totally trashed, then don't go. But otherwise, you can go and not spend a fortune.
posted by taliaferro at 11:30 AM on March 22, 2007

If you go places with this group often, you have a pretty good idea about what you can expect - atmosphere, possible check-split, length of time stayed, etc. If you decide to go, don't be surprised by any of the possible outcomes. And by surprised, I mean whiny. If you go, go realistically with both feet. Anything other than what you expect is icing. And if drama occurs, it's likely it will be due to some other factor that could happen anywhere.

There will be other events. Don't go if you don't think you'll have fun or be able to contribute to everybody's else's good time. There's no guilt in that, and you'll spare your friends having to draw you in to a scene that they're freely enjoying, but you're not.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:32 AM on March 22, 2007

I say go. You can always leave early, and as long as there's no drink minimum, you can always buy a draught beer and nurse it the entire time.

According to these online reviews, how exactly was the staff rude? Did they not kiss the patron's asses? Or were they just standoffish? Take a lot of those things with a grain of salt--more people write nasty reviews than write good reviews.

Seriously, just go. Time with your friends is more important than a couple bucks. You don't have to spend what you don't want to.
posted by Verdandi at 11:44 AM on March 22, 2007

The bar may be expensive but theres only so much they can charge for a "cheap beer". Buy a couple bud lights, enjoy your friends and who knows, you may actually like the bar.

Oh yeah, financial types and ex-jocks....get over yourself.
posted by ASM at 11:58 AM on March 22, 2007

So I know this person, ex-cow-orker who turned into a socializing pal only except any time someone came up with a plan to get everyone together, she's gotta put her thumbprint all over it. She never stepped up and initiates anything, oh no, just waits until everyone has buy-in to a plan before she starts rearranging everything, stuff like having the event over at this other place or at this other time and on and fricking on. We'd all end up driving to some out-of-the-way place she insisted were a giant step up and it would be some rathole dive with a bunch of sketchy guys loitering in the parking lot and she'd sit there the entire evening alternatively cheerleading us into believing this place was great or sulking into her $1 well drink because the onus of picking a shitty shot had landed upon her. Anyway, a bunch of times, the group acquiesced to her demands until we noticed it was never reciprocal: she never ever just went with the flow, we all had to dance to her tune, every time. Eventually, one by one, we stopped bothering to invite her.

Don't be that person.
posted by jamaro at 12:16 PM on March 22, 2007

Based on your other AskMe questions you appear to be in NYC. I've yet to pay more than $6 for a beer in NYC, tip included, and I have somewhat picky taste in beer. (But maybe I've been going to the wrong, or the right, places.)

And it could be worse than "financial types"--the last bar I was invited to by a group of friends featured mice and fruit flies (and stingy pours of bourbon on top of that).

Eh--why not go.
posted by Prospero at 12:25 PM on March 22, 2007

Too many conditions on when and how you see your friends means you'll eventually stop being included in these things.

Many times I've thought I'd have a crap time somewhere and ended up having a blast.

Forget the online review, nurse one drink over the course of the evening, and enjoy the company of friends.
posted by Merlyn at 12:27 PM on March 22, 2007

I try to make a habit of accepting any and all social invitations, and this policy has rarely bitten me in the ass. Just decide you're going to have a good time, and you probably will. The rude staff shouldn't be a problem since you're too poor to buy anything and thus won't interact with them much. The fact that it's "not your scene" shouldn't be a problem because you're with a group of friends, and they're your scene. I agree with taliaferro that the only concern here is whether or not everyone else is going to get hammered; if the group is likely to remain sober enough to converse with, then stop complaining about the bar and go. Honestly, all bars are 95% the same anyway.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 12:45 PM on March 22, 2007

I would decline and not volunteer why. If pressed, I would be honest.
posted by Doohickie at 1:33 PM on March 22, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you for all the comments.

For those of you who are curious, the review of said bar is here:

I didn't add in my OP that I'm only friends with one person who will be there, who is here from out of town. Usually, I'd bow out gracefully, but this friend is from out of town...hence, the indecision.

Now I'm going to see the friend before/after the bar outing, no reason given for why I'm avoiding the bar, so that solves this present situation. I'll be mulling over your thoughts on how to avoid this in the future.
posted by beautiful at 1:57 PM on March 22, 2007

Response by poster: Also, from previous experience with said friend, checks are split pretty much evenly!
posted by beautiful at 2:08 PM on March 22, 2007

« Older Why do students at Oxford University wear...   |   Love Television? Help me out. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.