17 Moves: Meeting & Approaching Guys at the Bar and Getting Guys to Approach You

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There are so many ways to pickup a guy at a bar, the following are just some examples I’ve come up with on my own, plus from what I’ve found on Reddit, blogs and other forums. If you have any of your own strategies that have worked for you, be sure to share them in the comments. 

IMPORTANT: the following article is an excerpt from my 9,000 word guide on approaching guys in almost any situation (although I've included more bar tips and techniques here) so read that to get a full understanding of the broader principles and techniques: 50 Techniques: Approaching Guys & Getting Approached By Guys You Like

1. Cons of meeting men at bars

Before we talk about the specific techniques of meeting and approaching men at the bar, I'd like to discuss the common complaints associated with bars in general:

  • Bars are only good for hookups 
  • Too many drunk guys
  • Too noisy to talk 
  • Can’t meet people outside your group
  • Too much competition
  • Not being able to shake off a loser who approached you

And yes, you’re right. Those are legitimate problems. 

However, I’d like to make the claim that you can and should consider using bars as a way to meet a long term boyfriend or husband - not just hookups. 

Allow me to explain, point by point.

Bars are only good for hookups 

We know the common saying “you're not going to meet a good guy in a bar” and “guys at the club only want 'one thing'.”

But what is misleading about that claim is every normal, healthy man wants to hookup! All the time and everywhere - that’s our biological programming; our sexual strategy. 

So yes, you may be approached at the bar by a man looking to hookup, but you can always change the frame of the conversation and let him know what you’re really looking for. 

Do you sleep with him that night or do you take his number and suggest you meet up later down the week?

What may also surprise you is that most guys when given this choice between dating or nothing (no hooking up), they’ll choose the former. (By the way, have you tried to approach guys yourself at the bar and make things clear from the beginning?)

It’s not always about where a man finds you (bar or church), it’s about how you present yourself.

Additionally, you don’t need to go to bars that are known to be meat markets full of people cruising for a one-night stand (avoid clubs all together). As we’ll soon discuss, picking your bar carefully will help avoid many common problems. 

Too many drunk guys

Too many drunk guys is mostly solved by A) going to the right bars B) going to your bar at the right times (as we’ll soon discuss).

Too noisy to talk 

Again, are you going to the right bars at the right times?

Also, you don’t need to stand where it’s so loud - find a good place to stand in the bar. You can always take a break outside and the guys there.

And if you really like your man, you can substitute verbal communication with body language and touch.

Can’t meet people outside your group

That’s because you choose not to meet people outside your group. If you’re shy and introverted, ask your friends to get you to talk to that cute standing by the bar. You need to be proactive.

Too much competition

Yes, but understand there will always be intersex competition, men between men and women between women. There is no escaping The Sexual Marketplace (unless you get lucky with some obscure bar). 

Not being able to shake off a loser who approached you

Being approached by losers is one of the downsides of being in a social arena where approaching women is acceptable. Sometimes a hot guy approaches you (he likes beer, sports, women and cars) and sometimes a loser approaches you (goes alone, trying to get laid). Oh well.

The second thing I want to point out is that you could meet up with weirdos everywhere - church included. So it’s not a matter of where you get approached or where you approach your man, it’s a matter of going out of dates, getting to know him and analyzing his traits, values and habits then making your decision.

You may also recognize this as ‘filtering and setting boundaries’. 

Thirdly, and this really solves the problem, you need to learn how to gracefully reject guys so you don’t get stuck with them the whole evening. I should soon be writing a post about how to reject guys efficiently, so check back in a bit.

Looking to meet your gay partner? Read my complete guide

2. Pros of meeting men at the bar

Bars are full of people the same age as you

Unless you’re older, you won’t have any trouble finding someone attractive the same age as you. 

Bars are 'the' social place

Everyone is looking their best, it is socially acceptable to talk to people you don’t know and there’s an unlimited supply of alcohol - the most potent social lubricant.

This is what makes bars worth all the effort. 

3. Go to The Right Bar

As mentioned, picking the right bar will solve most of the common bar related problems. So how do you pick the right bar?

Well obviously, only go to places that A) you enjoy visiting and B) the kind of men you like tend to hang out there. But let's break it down:

  1. 1
    Depending on your introvert/ extrovert levels, different bars at different times (busy vs empty) are gonna work better for you. 
  2. 2
    If you’re looking to meet rich men go to rooftop bars in your city’s financial district and check out tiki bars especially during the after work hours (this of course changes from city to city).
  3. 3
    Try finding bars with games (beer-pong, pool table) because you could use the excuse that you want to challenge him to a game as a way to approach him.
  4. 4
    If you’re traveling, visit an ex-pat bar, you’ll meet people travelling just like you.
  5. 5
    If you’re looking to avoid hookup only bars, avoid bars with that kind of reputation (duh!), but also check out other alcohol related meetups, e.g. craft beer meetup, many traditional guys tend to look for high quality food/ drinks where hookups aren't be an option.

But beyond your preferences, as you’ll soon see, having room at the bar and a bartender to use as a wing is very useful, so I think for most girls, a less crowded bar is always a better option.

Avoid crowded bars when getting a guy to approach you

4. When to meet men at the bar

Couple of things to consider:

  1. 1
    Unless you go with a friend, aim for the bar at around evening time, before that some guys might see you as a gold digger or a prostitute.
  2. 2
    After work hours in rich districts may help you meet a rich man
  3. 3
    You also don’t want to go when it’s crazy busy, so depending on what bar you picked, it may be better to check out what it’s like midweek vs the weekend craziness. 
  4. 4
    Always leave before 11 or 12 to avoid all the super drunk guys who are only interested in hooking up. 

If you have of your own secret tips in the comments!

5. Have A Drink Yourself

God! Do I really need to tell you to drink some alcohol in a bar? 

Drink at a bar to be more approachable

Please, have a drink. It's my present to you. For free!

I don’t care if you don’t normally drink or you’re from a family that’s against drinking for whatever reason.

Drink! It’ll raise your vibe, make you more approachable and give you the guts to talk to any guy you like. 

6. Pick a good location in the bar Itself

In my guide for men: 22 Smooth Steps to Approach Girls at the Bar, I stress how important location is in any social event, bars included. 

Obviously, you gotta go where the guys you like are and staying on the dance floor all night isn’t a great option.

So where should you go? The bar is a good option, but what if it also gets too crowded as the bar fills in?

In that case, back of the crowd, just not so far away that guys don’t notice you. It should also be less loud there too. 

Balconies are also good because there’s lots of room for guys to approach you and talk about whatever you’ve overseeing. 

7. Be the one to approach

While there's nothing wrong with using the following techniques to get a guy to approach you, it's important to understand that unlike most guys who are approaching you just to hookup, the guys who aren’t approaching you are usually the same guys looking for a relationship. So, as we said, why don’t you take the initiative and approach those guys?

8. Make room for a guy to approach

Besides for going where there is ALREADY room for a guy to approach you, you can always take the lead and make room yourself. 

Look at the diagram below: 

Getting a guy to approach you in a bar

In the first example, you and your friend are facing the bar (forcing guys to approach you from behind) and there is no room next to you to sit down.

In the second example, you’ve pushed to your right to make room on your left side for guys to approach and you are now facing to your left, open to any guy who would want to approach you.

Using a wing to approach a guy at a bar

Always use a friend or a "wing" to help you approach guys. 

9. Wait for him to order drinks

When you see your man approaching the bar to order a drink, go order one yourself too and try to strike up a conversation that way.

Alternatively, you can ask him what he likes, then buy him a drink (which signals your interest). At this point, he’ll probably go back to his friends, but don’t worry, he’ll come back to buy you a drink and chat you up.

10. Mention his drink

Here’s where you use a Situational Opener:

  1. Is that an IPA? Do you like it?
  2. Have you ever been to [insert brewery here]?”
  3. If he’s drinking a cocktail, ask him what’s in it and if he’s ever made one at home.

This can also work if you don’t know much about drinks, because you’re not the one doing all the talking, he is. Just seem curious and ready to listen. 

11. Ask about the event

Besides knowing what bar you like going to and what times, it helps to know which events are happening and what days. 

Going when there’s live music gives you so much to talk about when you approach your man: 

Is this his favorite song/ band? What does he like to listen to? Did he come specifically to hear this band? How did you know we had the exact same music tastes?
Use events happening at the bar to approach men

If there's karaoke, ask him to choose a song for you and then you could sing together (talk about ways to flirt with a guy).

12. Look for a guy sitting by himself

Approaching a guy sitting by himself can make things a lot easier. He’s got no girls to 'cockblock' him and he’s so bored that anything better than his phone is welcome. 

Just be aware, however, that he might be waiting for his date or friends to show up so try to establish that early on in the conversation so it doesn’t screw you over later. 

So what are some things you can do:

  1. If you’re super shy, just sit next to him. Things automatically happen when a cute girl and hot guy sit together (this applies to any restaurant, coffee shop too).
  2. Buy him a drink
  3. Approach him any Situational Opener
  4. Ask him if you can join him until your friend arrives 

13. Use the bartender 

As mentioned, bartenders are the best social lubricant (unless you find the odd socially awkward one). So why not use them to help you out as a wing?

  1. Start by making flirty eye contact and smiling, if you notice he smiles back, ask the bartender to send him a drink
  2. Ask your bartender/ waiter to pass your number to him (think ‘love note’ back from your school days)
  3. While you’re at the bar chatting with the bartender, include your man in the conversation when he comes to get a drink
Always use the bartender to help you get with guys

Make him your best friend... unless he's the guy you want!

In all of these examples, it helps to tell your bartender in advance that you’re single and searching… and make sure to tip him well!

14. Use games in the bar for pickup

Not all bars will have games (pool, foosball table, etc.) in the bar, but that’s why you picked a bar that has one… right?

OK, so here are some ways to do it:

  1. Ask if he needs a new partner in the game 
  2. Ask him to show you how to play
  3. Ask him if he wants to join you for a game
  4. If he’s with friends, go introduce yourself and ask if he needs any help beating his friends 
Use Games In The Bar For Pickup

The key here, and I’ve told this to you a million times, is that you must be Indirectly-Direct. It’s not about the game, it’s about an excuse to flirt with you.

15. Approaching a guy in a sports bar

The only reason I mention sports bars here is because a lot of guys are watching the sports there which can help you use a Situational Opener. 

Example: he’s obviously interested in the game, ask him to tell you which team he’s rooting for. When he tells you which one, tease him by saying there’s no way you two are ever getting together because his team is just terrible!

Again, I encourage you to read my full article on approaching men: 50 Techniques: Approaching Guys & Getting Approached By Guys You Like

16. Use the loud music to your advantage

Touched on this earlier. If it’s too loud to verbally communicate. Make physical touch and body language your main modes of communication! 

Guys use touch all the time when they approach girls in the bar, and it’s time girls level up too.

Lean in, make him feel your body and he’ll understand you perfectly well… and get a little horny.

Use The Loud Music to approach guys

17. Approaching a man while he’s with a friend

Lastly, what happens if he’s not alone at the bar? What happens if he’s sitting at a table with his friend? 

There are several ways to deal with a 2-set, but here’s how I’d do it: 

Approach them both in a very friendly manner so as not to cut off him friend, but be more sexual/ flirty to your man (understand that this is a massive ego boost for your man in front of his friends, so don’t worry about interrupting him). 

If you notice that he’s hooked or his friend has left to give you space, offer to bounce him over to the bar where you’ll buy him a drink. If you see that he’s not ready to leave his friend yet, trade numbers and/ or re-approach him later. 

Now, I don’t need to tell you this, but don’t approach him if he’s with a girl. He might not be annoyed, but his girl will be mad. Avoid unnecessary drama. 


I want to finish this piece by saying NO venue is perfect for meeting guys, including bars. My argument is only that you should consider using bars to meet a good man for a long term relationship.

Thanks you reading!


If you want to get all my tips approaching men in all scenarios, read: 50 Techniques: Approaching Guys & Getting Approached By Guys You Like

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    About the author 

    Coach Colt here, the founder of Dating Armory, your go-to source for no-nonsense, practical relationship advice. I'm a bisexual male in a same-sex open relationship and a researcher in sex, love, and relationships with 7+ years of experience. I specialize in helping both men and women navigate the crazy world of dating.

    Don't miss my other guides packed with practical dating advice (no bullshit repeated Platitudes) and tons of real life examples:

    How To Flirt With a Guy In Any Situation: 43 Examples

    17 Moves: Meeting & Approaching Guys at the Bar and Getting Guys to Approach You

    Rich, Single & Hot! 73 Best Places To Meet Men [Tips Included]

    20 Moves: Meeting & Approaching Guys at the Gym! [& Getting Guys to Approach You]