Lindsey tries: Going to a bar

By Lindsey Rothering —

“Lindsey tries” documents the misadventures of a now 22-year-old who, despite having Wisconsin-born parents, has little to no alcohol tolerance.

I rarely go to bars. I like staying in and watching Netflix. I always have trouble getting a bartender’s attention, and I’m awful at talking with strangers. (Sidenote: How have I ever made friends?)

One night, however, after a particularly rough day of retail life, I wanted a drink and was craving social interaction outside of the normal checkout line conversations. Still in my work uniform, I sat down at a local Minnesota bar and ordered a beer.

Starving and then-newly 21, I had no idea how bar kitchens work. I figured that as long as the bar was open, the kitchen would be too. Looking around the bar, I noticed the only thing people were eating was popcorn. Craving a burger, I leaned to the guy sitting two seats down, yelling “DO YOU KNOW IF THE KITCHEN’S OPEN?” He shrugged his shoulders and called the bartender over for a refill.

I stayed in my seat, people-watching and super secretly checking out an attractive guy sitting across the bar. A few minutes later, the bartender comes over with not one, not two, but three paper boats of waffle fries. He sat them down in front of me, my eyes more wide and bug-eyed than a Chihuahua. The guy two seats down leaned over, said “Those are for you” and promptly got up and left.

I was stunned. What kind of a guy orders a random stranger three orders of waffle fries and then leaves? And how can I get that to happen on a regular basis? I took one and had the bartender give away the other two.

After finishing my waffle fries and taking my last few sips of beer, the bartender put another bottle in front of me. “From him,” he said, pointing to the cute guy across the bar. I politely waved and mouthed “thank you” while silently cursing the three extra hours I would now have to stay before I’d be okay to drive home.

Literally not a minute later, the beer-buying stranger got up and left the bar. I quickly whipped out my phone and texted everyone I had ever met, “AT BAR. TWO GUYS BOUGHT ME THINGS AND LEFT. WHAT KIND OF VIBE AM I GIVING OFF. PLEASE ADVISE.” I had no idea what was going on. Is this normal? I’m new to bars, is this just how they are? People buy you things and leave? Aren’t they supposed to talk to you? I mean, I came here for conversation, dammit! Not free waffle fries!

Eventually, the beer-buying guy came back and we had a conversation. I still don’t know why he initially left, but hey: I got free waffle fries and beer–can’t complain too much.

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