How To Get Out Of A Crowded Bar

Sure, most Friday and Saturday nights are spent trying to get into a crowded bar—or, the dream, a good bar that somehow isn’t crowded. But once you’re a few (seven) drinks in, how do you manage to actually get yourself out? Even if you show up early, if you’re making a night of it, chances are by the time you’re ready to leave there won’t be much elbow room for the taking—let alone a reasonable escape strategy.

Fear the drinking hordes no longer. We’ve compiled a list of some handy, if less common and borderline socially unacceptable, ways to get yourself and/or any  loved ones out of a bar once the crowd-to-buzz ratio starts to teeter in a negative direction.

“The Accent”

We call this one an  “easy 50/50,” meaning it may work, it may not, but there’s not a ton of harm in trying. And it’s all predicated on the simple fact that it still blows peoples’ minds when you don’t talk like them. An English accent has worked the best for us historically, probably because Hugh Grant long ago burrowed his charming, toothy way into our collective unconscious. Next time you’re in a loud bar and can’t get a word in edgewise, try an overexaggerrated “Paaaaahdon.” And when people turn and stare, slowly registering that you may in fact be a queen, give a polite nod (classic English) and repeat, through the throngs, ‘til you reach the door. (A final “Cheerio, suckahs!” is optional.)  RISK FACTOR: If you happen to bump into someone actually English, they may ask you where you’re from. (FYI, Godric’s Hollow is not a real place.)

Get the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.

“The Running Back”

It’s like a football game, except “the ball” here is your desperate desire to leave the terrible, crowded bar and you’ll have to use your shoulder width and uncanny ability to (politely) tunnel through masses of people to achieve victory. For inspiration, watch game tape of Marshawn Lynch, Le’Veon Bell, Frank Gore, etc. Pretty physical and straightforward. RISK FACTOR: If attempted too aggressively, this will get you punched.

“The Bodyguard”

Yes, fully wishful thinking, but if you’ve got an attractive bodyguard hanging around and thing get out of control, why not let him or her scoop you up and carry you out into a waiting limousine? More likely it’ll be your brawny friend Phil, but still, it could be pretty magical. RISK FACTOR: Phil falls in love with you. Or drops you.

“The Creepy Laugh”

We’ve all been there—blocked by a group of 4 or 5 people who somehow think the only pathway to the exit is their personal “Central Perk.” If you’re on your umpteenth “excuse me” and they’re still chatting the night away, you might try standing just at the edge of the circle (where you’ve been living for 10 minutes now anyway). As soon as one of them makes a joke, join in on the laughter. The key is to laugh creepily (alternately, just really loud), and when they all go quiet and turn to look at you, a quick “Alright, I’ll see ya!” RISK FACTOR: They’re into your creepitude and invite you to join their cult.


If it’s that kind of place, and god help you if it is, knowing the bouncer is a good way to ensure you’ll at least have someone strong and burly looking out for you. Basically a poor man’s “The Bodyguard,” this one assumes you can catch the bouncer’s eye, also that he likes you enough to not leave you hanging when the dance floor packs out when they start playing “Ex’s and Oh’s.” RISK FACTOR: You will owe a giant, but friendly, man a favor.

“I Do Declare!”

No, don’t talk in an old timey southern accent, just start fanning yourself desperately with a bar napkin, a glove, or your iPhone. We’re not saying fake a medical emergency—that’ll get you out of the bar, sure, but also into an ambulance and then, reasonably, a jail cell. But if you start fanning yourself and heaving big sighs, people might get out of your way sooner rather than later. Nobody wants to get fainted on. RISK FACTOR: You accidentally slap someone with your glove and end up in an unintended duel.

“The Side Strut”

This is the safest and generally the most practical bet. Just turn your entire body sideways and use your shoulder to (gently, always gently) part the crowd in front of you. Your forearm can lead, if you feel comfortable putting it on people’s backs as a polite signal you’re trying to get by. If you’re leaving with friends, this is where you wanna grab hands and make a chain. The key here: leave no man behind. RISK FACTOR: Your hand grazes a bit lower than someone’s back as you attempt to pass and you get a slap, a sneer, or an undesired phone number.

“The Fake Phone Call”

Again you can’t really fake a major emergency—that’s just always gonna be poor form. What you can do is have a seriously concerned look on your face – i.e. not just concerned about whether the bartender really gave you a double whiskey – and start talking very loudly into your phone as you head toward the door. Dialogue examples can range from “OK Aunt Linda, just keep the snake locked in the bedroom, I’m on my way,” to “Describe the smell EXACTLY,” to “Never, ever feed them after midnight! Oh god. What have you done??” Crowds should part to let you attend to your phone-mergency. RISK FACTOR: Some (reasonably) curious people might follow you out to see what the hell is going on.

“The Dirty Dancing Final Scene”

This involves, of course, clearing somewhat of a pathway down the center of the bar, placing Patrick Swayze circa 1987 at the end of said pathway, preferably the end closest to the bar door, and then hurtling yourself right towards him. As you approach, he places both hands to your waist and lifts you over his head, where you remain for a moment before leaping towards the door. Sure, you’re going to some extreme lengths. But nobody puts Baby in a corner. Or a crowded bar. Whatever. RISK FACTOR: NONE. All Dirty Dancing dreams come true. Potentially, though, falling.