Food & Drink » Drinking, Nightlife & Parties

On the Rocks

When you get ready to go out, what’s your game plan?

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It's Friday night and you're ready to go out. What's your game plan?

Every night has a different feel, a different intention guiding it. Are you getting trashed? Staying sober? Celebrating a birthday? Chasing tail? Finding new friends? Landing a job?

Will you pregame at 4 p.m. with a round or two of "power hour"? Seven-plus beers, shot one ounce at a time, every minute for an hour, is quite the start to a hellish hangover you only thought you were prepared for. Or will you start drinking at 11 p.m. when you walk into the bar?

Either you pace yourself with something light and refreshing, or you play catch-up with the hard stuff. You only have three hours 'til the bar calls it quits.

What will you order – a Diet Coke with lime, or a round of mind erasers with tequila chasers, or a beer? A thirst for vodka tonic can be quenched nearly anywhere, but a nice scotch can only be poured at a few nearby establishments.

Will you test out a new bar just to try their Ruby Red Basil, or will you stick to picking songs on the jukebox at your typical dive and watching Evil Dead for the 100th time? Will you stop by a house party first? Maybe you'll go to an after-party on a friend's porch, where you'll play a cutthroat game of 20-sided-die until the sun comes up.

Who will you go out with? Are you traveling solo or meeting friends – or are you part of a pack storming into bars like Roosevelt's Rough Riders?

Should you eat before you go out or after? A night out without a meal can be dangerous – dangerously fun if tonight feels like a party, but something light might help soak up any bad decisions you're about to make. Everyone knows a heavy meal will make you sleepy, or worse, put you in a food coma that'll ruin the whole evening.

What will you wear? Are you getting dolled up or sporting those dirty sneakers you wear to mow the lawn? If it's September (and it is!) you might be pushing that tank top a few weeks past its expiration date. Does your night involve a dress code? If so, it's time to dust off that skin-tight mini and those backless pumps. The dress code is counting on you.

Every night has a plan or a theme. Unless that plan is Narnia and you're looking for lions, then you'd better have some food and water before embarking on your adventure. You can't just go out all willy-nilly.

What's your strategy?

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