Win free beer
Hold out your hand and ask your buddy how many fingers he sees, including thumbs, says Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., author of 101 Bets That You Will Always Win. He'll say 10. Then ask how many fingers are on 10 hands. He'll likely say 100. The correct answer is 50. Proof that booze and man never, ever mix.
Get drinks quick
Busy bartenders make split-second decisions about who to serve next, says Jim Meehan of the New York City bar PDT, and it's not the guy who's yelling the loudest. Use the same techniques you'd use to get a friend's attention: Make eye contact and smile. The bartender will see you as accommodating, not demanding.
Avoid long lines
There's time to be the cool guy who shows up late to the party, but this isn't it. Do your homework. Use the "popular times" feature on Google Maps to see when a place is busiest. "Plan to arrive an hour before the peak period," says Tad Carducci of the beverage consulting company Tippling Bros.
Don't belly up
Your first impulse may be to sit as close to the bar as possible. You gotta be near the beer, man. But beware of waistline peril: Cornell researchers found that people who sit within two tables of the bartender have three more alcoholic drinks, on average, than those who sit three tables away.
Score food sooner
What are they doing back there, milking cows for nacho cheese? Don't blame the kitchen, says Carducci. Everyone's orders during the game, especially between periods. If you want fast service, order drinks first, which opens your ticket. But before the drinks arrive, add an appetizer and entree to the tab. This should fast-track your food before other orders.
Defuse a drunk
Handle a boozer with the calm rationality of bartender. "My first response is to acknowledge the way someone feels," says Meehan. Tell him you're sorry he's upset and leave it at that. Don't engage. If things escalate the manager can give the belligerent brute the boot.