Hitting up your city’s most popular bar or club on a typical night will usually go one of two ways. If you take the catastrophic route, chances are you’ll have had difficulty getting in; the bartender will have taken a “hey, how are you” for “you have nice breasts,” subsequently ignoring you with the stink eye all night; and you’ll have gotten so wasted that you end up spilling a drink on some girl you were talking to — that light bruise on your cheek the next morning is from her slapping you. A night like that is sure to make some people go into hiding, or at the least make them avoid nights out. But what if there was a way to become the most likable person in the spot? There is, and this is how.

Getting the Bartender to Like You

Getting your bartender’s attention is a true skill. On a typical Friday or Saturday night, in New York City’s more popular bars, there will be a sea of people, about four deep, surrounding the bar. If you can manage to get through the sea, then making your thirsty-self known becomes the next task. Waving, snapping, clapping, or tapping the bar will get their attention, but not the good kind.

Instead, you should try standing squarely against the bar with your head facing forward, as if you’re looking at the shelves of liquor. A team of British scientists found that this worked 95 percent of the time in telling the bartender through body language that they needed a drink, as opposed to conversing with friends. Doing that with the occasional glance at the bartender also worked 86 percent of the time in getting their attention.

Once you’ve gotten the bartender’s attention, being nice, knowing what you want, and tipping especially well on the first drink will not only make you look like a good person, but will increase the likeliness of the bartender noticing you first on the next round. Also, don’t hit on your bartender. While this may be obvious, some guys don’t realize that a nice bartender gets paid to laugh at your jokes and smile. Though most will take a “hey, how are you” at face-value, going further than that, and assuming that their kindness translates into you two having a special connection, will only make you look like a drunken fool.

Getting Rico Suave with the Women

Let’s face it, three of your four friends meeting you at the bar are going out solely to meet women, and chances are that’s the reason you want to go out too. It may not be the best place to meet someone you could have a real connection with, but hey, any opportunity to be social, build confidence, and practice communicating with strangers is a good thing, right?

If you can get past your own nerves, then the next step is to get past a woman’s defenses, which will be up, due to how almost every other guy will be drooling over her too. Though there isn’t really a surefire way to get her attention, the best possible way is to probably just say hello. If she finds you attractive, she may start talking back to you — your confidence is key in this too. Follow up with real conversation (include her friends if she has them with her), keep your posture straight, don’t get too close, be honest without shooting compliment after compliment (maybe try to avoid them more than anything), make eye contact, and in certain cases, like when laughing, subtly tap her arm or shoulder. If you exude confidence through all this flirting, then your looks will matter far less.

Overall, just being a likable, genuine, and relaxed person gives you a better chance of talking to women. If you’re open and friendly to everyone, then people will gravitate toward you, including that woman you’ve been trading glances with all night. Being open also includes breaking it down on the dance floor. If you don’t know how to dance, a group of evolutionary biologists say they found the perfect moves to attract women. All you need now is some James Brown.

Doing It All, Without Getting Too Drunk

Here comes the challenge. You’ve made eye contact with that beautiful woman sitting at the corner of the bar, you’ve given up your barstool to a guy whose girlfriend got the stool next to yours, and you’ve won the bartender over with good tips and a kind, mature demeanor. Too often it’s come down to that one drink. That one drink that turns you into a belligerent douchebag that spills your drink everywhere, yells obscenities to random people, and ends up with no recollection of how you got that black eye the next morning.

Thankfully, a little active yeast will help you regulate how drunk you get if you can’t do it on your own. In April, founder of Boston Beer and chairman of Samuel Adams, Jim Koch, told Esquire magazine that he adds a little active dry yeast to yogurt, which, with the help of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), is able to counter the effects of alcohol before they reach the brain. One teaspoon of the yeast per beer, right before drinking it is enough to get the ADH in the yeast to break down the alcohol just like the liver would. As a result, the alcohol has a milder effect on the body, and makes it more difficult to get drunk.

Of course, drinking moderately would be just as effective, and wouldn’t require any extra work (Who, besides Koch, eats yogurt with their beer anyway?). Along with these other loosely scientific-based rules for proper etiquette, you will become the most likable person there, or you’ll at least avoid being that guy.