Everyday English at the Bar

I’m back with a new English lesson for those students of mine who want to practice outside of our English coaching sessions, and for everyone else out there. By the way, in addition to my in-person coaching, I also teach online! I know navigating time zones can make online learning challenging, but I’m here to help you whether near or far away! As your English teacher and coach, I hope you enjoy our everyday English lessons here on the blog. As always feel free to contact me with any questions about English or American culture. I’m happy to help.

Let’s get started…

Grab a drink. Imbibe. Tie one on. These are just a few of the popular English terms for consuming alcoholic beverages. Drinking is a popular leisure activity in the United States, however, we are far from the hardest partiers in the world. Watching American movies and TV shows may lead you to believe otherwise!

Nevertheless, drinking is a very common method of making friends and strengthening work relationships. If you go out with co-workers after work, dance at the club on the weekend, or attend a professional conference, chances are you'll have the opportunity to partake.

Here we'll review some of the most common words and idiomatic expressions used at the bar. I’ve also decided to throw in (add, include) some phrasal verbs for good measure (as a little extra). Make sure to memorize the terminology while you're still sober for best results! For those who don't drink alcohol, you're not alone. There are many who don't drink. You don't need to drink alcohol in order to navigate the bar like a pro and impress your drinking buddies.

Study tip: Look up (search for) the underlined words and phrases. Review the dialogue below.


Getting invited out (getting invited to go to a restaurant or bar with someone)

So it's Friday and the workday is ending. You're at your desk when your co-worker comes by (comes to your desk).

Co-worker: Hey, happy Friday. What a week.

You: Yeah, it was so busy but we wrapped up (completed) that big project.

Co-worker: It went really well. Let's grab a drink to celebrate! The first round is on me.

You: Okay, where should we go?

Co-worker: There's a little bar around the corner with a great happy hour.

You: Sounds good to me. Let's get out of here (common expression for when you want to leave as soon as possible).


Approaching the bar and ordering a drink

Bartender: What'll you have?

You: What are your specials?

Bartender: The happy hour specials are on the board.

You: What beers do you have on tap?

Bartender: We have an IPA, a Stout, and a Pilsner.

You: What do you recommend?

Bartender: The stout is a craft beer from a local brewery. It's great.

You: I'll take the stout.

Bartender: And for you?

Co-worker: I'll take a gin martini straight up with a twist.

Bartender: Choice of gin?

Co-worker: Just the well.

Bartender: [puts drinks on bar] Here you go, one draft beer and one cocktail. That'll be 15.

Co-worker: Thanks, can I start a tab?

Bartender: Sure, card and name?

Co-worker: Here you go.

Bartender: Thanks, cheers guys.


Hanging out and meeting friends

You: Wow, it's so crowded in here.

Co-worker: Yeah this place is really popular for Friday happy hour. The rest of the week it's usually a bunch of regulars and bar flies.

You: Thanks for the cold one.

Co-worker: No worries, you deserve it. You can get me next time. It won't be very expensive since I'm such a light weight.

You: Ha ha. You're in trouble then. The bartender gave you a generous pour. He's going to get you wasted.

Co-worker: Yeah, I better watch it. I'm not here to binge drink. We're not doing shots! Last time I came here this one guy got so plastered he tried to stand up on the bar.

You: He should stick to (stay with) mocktails.

Co-worker: Totally, just drink mixers.

You: Hey, isn't that Emily from accounting?

Co-worker: Yeah, it is her.

You: Let's invite her over (invite her to come to where we are sitting/standing).

Co-worker [to Emily]: Hey Emily, what are you drinking?

Emily: Hi, nice to see you, I'm so glad it's Friday. I'm just having a little adult beverage. Vodka with a splash of cranberry.

Co-worker: Nice, can I buy you another?

Emily: Sure, I'm done nursing this one.

Co-worker: Bartender, another round.

Emily: Thanks, but that's the last one. I have to get up early tomorrow to go running. I'm practicing for the spring marathon. My days of drinking like a fish are over. No last call for me.

Co-worker: For sure, we don't want you to end up with (in the end have) a hang over on your morning run.

Emily: Yeah, I need to be alert, no hair of the dog for me!

[Bartender brings new round of drinks]

Co-worker: Salut!

You & Emily: Cheers!


Paying and leaving

You: This has been really fun but I need to leave soon.

Co-worker: Yeah me too, it's been a long day.

You: It has but letting off some steam was a great idea.

Co-worker: Bartender, I'd like to close out my tab please.

Bartender: Sure, here you go.

Co-worker: Oh, before you go, my brother is opening a restaurant, and they're having a soft launch next Saturday. It's invite-only with an open bar. The bartender is a friend of mine. She's a real mixologist. And they’ve got a great sommelier too if you're into (like) wine.  

You: That sounds great. Thanks for the invite. See you later!

Marike Korn