How to Buy That Woman at the Bar a Drink

Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble have taken the charm out of the romantic meet-cutes that come with sending a drink to the woman at the bar you’ve had your eye on all night. Now you simply swipe right and send a champagne glass emoji to the woman you have your eye on, rather than sending the real deal across to her at the bar.


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When things don’t happen often, they become more special. That’s why we’re championing the reinvigoration of the old-age move of buying that woman at the bar a drink. Here are five steps to doing it well:

Observe Her Body Language

First and foremost, is the woman who caught your eye going to be open to receiving a drink from a man she’s not met? If she’s closed off and checking her phone, she may be waiting for a friend and clearly has her defences up. If she’s open, looking around, sitting comfortably and chatting with friends or the bartender, you’re in with a good chance to have your drink accepted, willingly.

But please, let’s be clear – if you buy her this $20 cocktail, she doesn’t owe you anything. Not a kiss, not her number. This leads us to step two…

Know Your Expectations

Why do you want to buy her a drink? Likely it’s because you’re interested in chatting to her soon, but she doesn’t know you yet so don’t expect to be sitting on the stool next to her 5 minutes after nodding to the bartender. She’s got plans in being at the bar, so know that your plan is to show your interest by buying her a drink, exchange numbers if it’s reciprocated, and then wait for another evening when it’s your time to shine.

Ask What She’s Drinking

Getting a drink sent your way from an admirer in the bar is a rarity for women in the digital dating age. Don’t just buy her any old thing. Start off on the right foot by making friends with the bartender and asking them what she’s drinking. Buy her exactly that – it shows you’ve paid attention and have taken the initiative to find out more about her before even saying hello. It’s a small step, but one she’ll notice.

Accept Her Reaction

Watch – but don’t stare – while her drink arrives. The bartender should point over in your direction to alert her that it’s from you. This is your moment – smile, nod (yes, just like you’ve seen in the movies) and await her reaction. If she doesn’t accept the drink, that’s OK – she’s just not interested. If she mouths ‘Thank you’, tips her head and smiles herself in a ‘cheers’, then it’s a good sign and you should move on to step five.

Introduce Yourself

When she’s finished her drink or seemingly has a break in conversation with her friends, slowly and confidently approach her with a smile. Tell her three things – why you noticed her across the room (“Your smile caught my eye”), that you hoped she enjoyed her drink, and that you’d like her number “so I can buy you another one sometime”. Simple, sharp, to-the-point, she’ll hand over her digits if she’s interested. We promise.

Tammi Ireland a sex and relationships educator. Follow her via @BAREsexology.