You want to stay on your game at the best happy hour spots. Know what to order at the bar so you can avoid random acts of drunkenness.

The thing about happy hour with coworkers is you have to see these people at work. There will be no calling in slick tomorrow because you’re too hungover to drag yourself out of bed. Know what to order at a bar so you’re not stumbling out of it and you’ll thank yourself when you’re back at the office the next day.

While Sia’s Drink to Get Drunk may be your weekend anthem (‘cause you liked her before she was popular), Tuesday night happy hour with the work crew usually means you’ve got to know how and when to give yourself a little whoa there big fella pep talk and avoid sloppiness in all forms.

Still, you don’t want to order something too soft. Stepping up to the bar and ordering a white wine spritzer is bad optics. Even if none of your co-workers judge you for it, you’ll wonder if you look like a lightweight in other people’s eyes. Then you start to look self-conscious and the next thing you know you’re trying to blend in with the furniture. The problem with that is, if you’re a Compass reader, you’re likely too well-dressed in your fly as hell outfits to blend in, and now you can’t even enjoy your weak-ass drink and kicking yourself for not getting something stronger.

The middle is where you need to be. Somewhere between blotto by 8:00 pm and cocktail umbrella drinks. You need to get your goldilocks on and find what’s juuuuuuuuuuust right.

Happy hour calls for a mixed drink. Aside from being sophisticated and offering a wide range of flavor profiles, if you choose wisely, you can drink them for a while without being falling down drunk. What cocktails, you ask? Sip on these:

What to order at a bar if you’re a whiskey man

You know your bourbon from your rye from your scotch. But you also know that if you down more than finger or two of whiskey it’ll start to go to your head.


Enter the Old Fashioned. You know you’re an OG cocktail when they name a glass after you. But unlike many classic drinks, this one ranks as a medium on Liquor.com’s strength rating owing to its heavy reliance on good old H2O.

Vodka, Comrade?

You used to drink Vodka and Red Bull. But now you’re a grown up. While your spirit of choice may still be vodka, your idea of a mixer is no longer an extreme sports energy drink.


What you seek is a Moscow Mule. It earns the first part of its name with good Russian Vodka, but the mule kicks with ginger beer and lime that makes this drink a crisp, thirst-quenching summer drink, perfect for a mid-summer rooftop bar happy hour.

What to order if gin’s your thing

Gin & Tonic may be the simplest drink known to man, but if you’re on the town, why not have something that you can’t make at home with one hand tied behind your back, blindfolded and already falling down drunk. You can do better.


Step up to the classic Italian cocktail, the Negroni. With three alcoholic ingredients, this stylish sipper is the strongest of the bunch presented here. Still, it makes the list because it’s typically not the biggest drink and made with a decent amount of ice. Bonus, this drink holds up well even when softened by a bit of club soda.

How To Win at Happy Hour

For more on mastering happy hour, check out our Happy Hour How-To wherein we drop copious amounts of knowledge about avoiding mix-ups while enjoying mixed drinks in mixed company. You don’t want to miss it.

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