How to Approach Any Woman at the Bar without Ever Striking Out (Advice That’s Proven to Work)

Your bud­dies can give you a mil­lion tips about how to pick up at the bar, but there’s a good chance that most of them will bomb. The best way to per­fect your pick-up game is to lis­ten to one per­son who actu­ally knows what women want—a woman!

I’ve been to quite a few bars in my time, and have been hit on by enough men to know the win­ners from the losers. There were the guys who had such bad game that I actu­ally felt sorry for them, the creep­ers I wanted to deck in the nose, and then the guys who were so smooth that even I wanted to pat them on the back.

Every man wants to know what a woman wants, right? Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to share with you the moves that, from my own per­sonal expe­ri­ence, worked like a charm, plus the ones that com­pletely back­fired. Here’s what every guy needs to know to suc­cess­fully pick up a woman at the bar.

Your Appear­ance

When you set your sights on a par­tic­u­lar woman in a bar, it’s because some­thing about her appear­ance caught your atten­tion. In other words, she’s hot. Appear­ances obvi­ously mat­ter, but it goes both ways. Trust me when I tell you that even in a dark, crowded bar, a woman will notice every minis­cule detail about your appear­ance, from your hair­style to your shoes. It’s because, accord­ing to us, what you look like says a lot about who you are. You don’t need to be wear­ing a designer suit to make an impres­sion, but leave your stained sweat­pants and hoodie at home where they belong.

While on the topic of impres­sions, her first impres­sion of you is what’s going to make or break your pick-up game. Remem­ber, you’re com­pet­ing with vir­tu­ally every other guy in the bar, and it’s your appear­ance that can set you apart from the get-go. If a guy approaches me at the bar and he looks like a total slob (or looks like he spent more time get­ting ready than I did), I’ll be ready to shoot him down before he even starts talking.

Your Approach

Let’s start with what not to do. The most annoy­ing thing for a woman at a bar is being ogled at from the side­lines. Yes, I have boobs, and no, you can­not touch them. That might not be what you’re think­ing, but it’s def­i­nitely it looks like to us. When men just stare from a dis­tance, it’s dis­turb­ing and creepy, so don’t be that guy. If you want to show a girl that you’re inter­ested, just make eye con­tact with her casu­ally and smile, which shows her that she’s caught your atten­tion. If she smiles back, that’s your go-ahead.

The next step is to make con­tact. I think the biggest mis­take men make in bars is assum­ing that every woman is inter­ested. Just because she smiles back, it’s not an open invi­ta­tion to come over and start grop­ing or danc­ing with her. No classy woman will be OK with that, so keep it in your pants.  The best way to get ahead when approach­ing a woman at the bar is to just strike up a gen­uine and engag­ing con­ver­sa­tion. And I don’t mean open­ing with, “You’re hot,” or, “Let’s dance,” and then ask­ing for a num­ber. You’re not going to get it.

As a woman, I want to feel like you’re inter­ested in more than my body. When you approach a woman at the bar, start by at least ask­ing her name, or if she’s out cel­e­brat­ing some­thing spe­cial. I remem­ber one night my friends and I went out danc­ing and I got pretty excited when a par­tic­u­lar song came on. This guy came over and all he said was, “I noticed you really like this song. Have you heard their lat­est album?” We ended up hang­ing out all night and yes, he even­tu­ally got my num­ber. I thought it was really classy that he took an inter­est in get­ting to know me.

Com­pli­ments are another use­ful tool, because every woman wants that ego boost. Tell her she has a beau­ti­ful smile or that you can’t help but notice her shoes. (She prob­a­bly put a lot of thought into wear­ing that par­tic­u­lar pair, so she’ll appre­ci­ate that some­one noticed.) Just make sure that your com­pli­ments are gen­uine, because we can tell when you’re full of it.

The other approach that I’ve found can work is using humor as an opener. But you’ve got to have the per­son­al­ity to match. A friend of mine met her now-boyfriend (they’ve been together for three years now) in a bar and his open­ing line was some­thing like, “I couldn’t help but notice you notic­ing me.” She had noth­ing to do but laugh, and that was it. They talked all night and have been together ever since. Cheesy pick-up lines can be dan­ger­ous, but in this case, it worked bril­liantly, because it broke the ice, they both had a good laugh, and it showed her that he was a fun and laid­back guy.

How to Approach Any Woman at the Bar without Ever Striking Out_2Buy­ing Her a Drink

Ask­ing a woman if you can buy her a drink should be com­mon sense. Notice that I said ask­ing if you can buy her a drink. Don’t just go ahead and bring her a drink. In today’s day and age, women nat­u­rally tend to have their guard up at a bar, espe­cially when it comes to their drinks—it’s just a mat­ter of safety. I know I wouldn’t be com­fort­able accept­ing a drink from a ran­dom guy I don’t know, espe­cially if I’m not around when the bar­tender is serv­ing it.

That being said, you can still treat a lady to a drink with­out alarm­ing her. When she’s at the bar, approach her and sim­ply say, “I’d love to get your next drink for you, if that’s OK?” If she agrees, ask her what she’d like and then order it in front of her so that she knows she has noth­ing to worry about. She’ll appre­ci­ate the con­sid­er­a­tion on your part and will be more open to accept­ing your offer.

What If She’s Not Alone?

Girls rarely ever go to a bar alone. If you do spot a woman who seems to be fly­ing solo, she’s prob­a­bly either wait­ing for her friends to get there, or is deal­ing with bag­gage you prob­a­bly don’t want to get involved with.

A group of girl­friends at a bar is like a tightknit pack that sticks together. If you swoop in and try to pull one of them away, the group will go into pro­tec­tive mode and you won’t stand a chance. So don’t try to sep­a­rate her from the pack.

If you’ve got your eye on a woman who’s with a group of friends, the trick is to get accepted into the group first. An easy way to do that is, again, to strike up a con­ver­sa­tion, but this time with the whole group. Start by ask­ing all of them for their names, even before you ask the girl you’re eye­ing, which shows that you’re tak­ing an inter­est in the friends first and fore­most, but sav­ing the best for last, so to speak.

It’s a classy move that works like a charm, because in all hon­esty, women always turn to their friends for approval. So if you can impress the group and get them on your side, you’re golden. For the record, this tac­tic has actu­ally been proven to work. Once you’re all acquainted, offer to buy a round of drinks for the whole group.

What to Do If She Turns You Down

Again, we’re going to start with what not to do. It’s actu­ally pretty sim­ple: don’t act like an ass­hole if she tells you she’s not inter­ested. There was once this guy who came over and started chat­ting with our group of girls. He seemed like a really nice guy, but when he asked my girl­friend for her num­ber and she politely declined, he rolled his eyes, called her a stuck-up bitch, and then imme­di­ately moved on to another group of girls across the room.

There is noth­ing less attrac­tive than an ego­tis­ti­cal jerk who’s so inse­cure that he feels the need to put down a woman if she’s not inter­ested. Remem­ber one thing: girls look out for each other. So, if you’re going to act like a spoiled brat and throw a tantrum before try­ing to pick up another woman, don’t be sur­prised if word gets around the bar and she shoots you down, too.

Know When to Call It a Night

Nobody likes get­ting rejected, but if it hap­pens, be a gen­tle­man about it. For instance, if she tells you that she’s already see­ing some­one, sim­ply tell her that he’s a lucky guy and that you hope she has a good night nonetheless—classy, mature, and polite. And then leave her alone. Any woman will tell you that it’s extremely unat­trac­tive when a guy keeps try­ing after she makes it clear that she’s not interested.

I get that it isn’t always easy for guys to approach women at a bar, espe­cially if she’s sur­rounded by her friends. But to be hon­est, it’s not rocket sci­ence. We’re peo­ple, just like you, and we’re really not as com­pli­cated as a lot of men think we are. If you’re sin­cere and respect­ful, you’ll stand a much bet­ter chance at scor­ing that first date.