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How to Pregame Without Passing Out in the Gutter Before You Reach the Bar

If you like advice that starts, ‘Fuck it, do three tequila shots,’ this one’s for you

Pregaming is almost always a precarious venture. The goal is to get perfectly tipsy before heading out so you show up to the party feeling frisky and only having to buy one or two drinks. The problem is, pregaming can easily (and I mean easily) spiral out of control, leaving you passed out on the couch before it’s even party time.

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This problem can be prevented, though, so long as you have a plan. To help with that, I asked Salt Lake City bartender (and self-proclaimed party animal) Jamie Serrano to concoct pregame strategies for three kinds of drinkers: 1) The hardened alcohol aficionado; 2) the one-wine-and-I’m-fine sipper; and 3) that person who already drank themselves into oblivion the night before. Here’s his advice…

The Party Animal Pregame

“Speaking from experience on both sides of the bar (I’d put myself in this category), it really depends on your bank account levels,” Serrano says. “I spent a long time as a broke-ass thinking I’d pregame heavily and not spend as much at the bars, when in reality, I’d show up hammered and start buying shots for everyone, from my best friends to the guy who got mad at me for obviously taking a photo of his Blue Lives Matter T-shirt to make fun of on Instagram. So if you’re a broke party animal, it might be smarter to limit your pregame to a reasonable amount — my definition of reasonable pregaming is a very unhealthy seven drinks or so.”

However, having money to spend can liberate you, as it always does, from essentially any pregame rules. “If you’re a rich party animal, drink as much as you want, since I’m assuming consequences in life are minimal for someone like you, and hopefully, you’ll buy your friends lots of drinks and tip me better,” Serrano says.

After all, you’re a party animal, and you know how to drink — so for you, pregaming is more about your wallet than your dignity.

The One-and-Done Drinker Pregame

“Right off the bat, I think you need to pump those numbers up, because people like you make me feel bad about my drinking levels, and I already feel bad enough about myself,” Serrano emphasizes. “That said, your liver probably isn’t as battle-hardened, so I recommend giving it some reinforcements in the form of a hearty meal. After that, I suggest taking three to five tequila shots [start with three, then give yourself some time to figure out if you want more] so you actually loosen up a bit and buy more drinks from me. Hell, you might even find yourself having a nice time at the bar.”

In addition to taking those preemptive shots, Serrano also recommends drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine early in the night so you don’t crash while sitting at the bar. And if you’re really not much of a drinker, “Just say fuck it and take an edible,” he says.

The Person Who Blacked Out Last Night, Too, Pregame

“Chances are, if you drank the night before, you may be experiencing a host of unpleasantries known as a hangover or The Scaries,” says Serrano. “Fortunately, there’s an easy solution, and it’s called drinking. The first couple drinks might not go down easily, so you have two options: Slowly work your way through a few light beers, or — like ripping off a Band-Aid — just send a couple tequila shots. You’ll forget you have a hangover, and you’ll be texting your ex in no time. At this point, you should continue drinking and remember to tip your bartender.”

There’s also some evidence that getting drunk is harder on your second or third night of drinking, so you might need a few extra drinks to get back on that level.

So there you have it, fellow pregamers: Enjoy your night out, and maybe put an extra blanket on the couch just in case.