What should — and what shouldn’t — you do on a date? The experts weigh in

I lived in New York City for four years and, as one does from the age of 18 (oh come on, you know the Murray Hill dives barely card!), I frequented my fair amount of bars. So when I saw that NYC bartenders were offering their dating tips on DailyCandy, it didn’t even occur to me that they could be wrong. These cats have seen it — and probably participated — in it all. If you’re in need of some expertise re: what to order, what to say and what not to do, read on!

WHAT TO AVOID

Don’t attempt to axe the pre-date jitters by getting drunk. “I’ve seen people drink a little too much, and by the time the other person gets there they’re not much use for talking or anything else,” says Joe Campanale of West Village wine bar Anfora.

Guys, we don’t give a shit that you know your hefeweizen from a pilsner. “One of the most unattractive things I’ve seen when men are trying to pick up women, be over the top of their knowledge of beer,” says Sacha Jones of the East Village‘s d.b.a.

Dudes, don’t you ever tell a girl your date is part of a bet — even if said bet you made with your buddies is totally harmless. “Don’t tell a girl that you have a bet going with your buddies about what nationality she is,” says Jason Roose of L.E.S. lounge Beauty & Essex.

Let the lady speak occasionally, m’kay? “If a guy talks too much about himself it’s a turn-off thing for women,” notes Miguel Feliciano of French West Village eatery Lyon.

WHAT TO ORDER

“A Manhattan [bourbon, sweet vermouth & a cherry garnish] is always seen as a masculine drink, but it’s always sexy when a woman orders it,” says Feliciano.

“Scotch on the rocks or bourbon neat  [are hot drinks to order],” advises Roose. “Brown liquor with or without ice is hands down a sexy, sexy drink .”

“When a woman has bought a guy a drink, that’s really, really good thing,” Jones counsels.

BARTENDER ETIQUETTE : WHEN YOUR DATE IS A FAIL, SHOULD YOU MACK IT WITH YOUR MIXOLOGIST?

“Just because a bartender is being nice to you doesn’t mean he wants to date you,” Jones warns.

Want to buy your guy a drink? Do it — but make it a shot. “Our favorite drink is a shot because it’s easy and it gets to the point,” says Roose, who adds, “Don’t ask a bartender what his favorite drink is.”

As Dushan Zaric, a bartender at the long-lasting West Village nightspot Employees Only says, “Bars sell possibility.”  He’s right. And it is possible to have a great date at one. Just mind your bar manners!

Before I sign off, I want to tell you about a fool-proof great date night place in the Big Apple. If a guy asks you to pick the spot, I highly recommend you choose Little Branch in the West Village. The speakeasy-esque space owned by master mixologist Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey fame is dark, intimate and the drinks — which are largely invented on the spot depending upon what you’re in the mood for — are incredible. Trust me, it’s the perfect setting for creating a love match. You will be seduced, mark my words.

Laura xo

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