How to Win a Bar Fight

By Andrew Hsu

At some point in your life, whether you are a girl or a guy and possibly with or without fault of your own, you may find yourself in a less than safe situation - a BAR FIGHT. Included here are instructions which may help you survive and possibly emerge victorious in such an event.

Oh no! Here he/she comes to get you!!!


Moderately Challenging


things you'll need:

  • moderate level of sobriety
  • at least 1 (one) arm
  • ability to stand
  • fine motor skill


Don't panic!!!
-Don't run yet.
-Count your potential opponents and DO NOT MAKE quick snap judgments of their fighting prowess based on visuals alone.
-They may just want to be your friend.
-Also be sure to note the presence of allies or members in your carousal party willing to engage in hostilities in your defense.

What did our buddy Paul Muad'Dib say when he had his hand in the Goom Jabar? "Fear is the mind killer."
Our favorite bad guy from Old Boy also said, "If you don't make stuff up, you'll be brave as hell."


Assess your situation through questions and reasoning:

-What the hell is this guy/gal's problem?
If the problem is something you did, maybe you should apologize.
If it's not something you did, maybe you should apologize anyway.

-How may I compensate you for your trouble?
While Bas Rutten would like to create distance and grab a chair, you my friend, are not Bas Rutten and probably are nothing like Bas Rutten.
Try offering to buy a drink in compensation, you can always walk away without paying if you feel like it.

You may not be aware of this; but the fight, while not on a physical level yet, has already begun. You may want to use tact to diffuse any misunderstanding which would lead to physical contact.
If you don't get into a fight, you may actually become buddies or something. That would be a win.

If something goes wrong, you might still win. Check out the next few steps.


    You failed at negotiations. :(

    If you have decided that there are more opponents than you and your cohorts can safely handle on your own, it may be time to call a tactical retreat.

    -At the very least, running from a bar fight absolves you of your tab for the night. That may be the ultimate win.


    If you feel that your party strength is relatively equal, there are other things to consider:

    Are your opponents armed? if yes, with what?
    a gun:
    -If he doesn't shoot you, calling the police is a guaranteed win as your opponent, even if permitted to carry a firearm, is not usually allowed to carry one in a bar or brandish it menacingly at you. His/her starting a fight doesn't help either.
    If he does shoot you, you pretty much lost, but in the event that you survive, you may be able to put him behind bars and tack on a civil suit which would equal a win.
    --In either case, unless you are a master ninja/navy seal/Norris fan, DO NOT EVER attempt to disarm somebody holding a gun on you. It just sounds like a bad idea. Also keep in mind that a bar is a public place and your death/injury will be witnessed either way which will assist in a court win.

    a knife:
    In many cases, a knife may be more intimidating and possibly dangerous than a gun. This is especially true in a close quarters confrontation. Nobody wants to sustain a large, jagged, gaping, bloody mess of a wound which may or may not include a torn/sliced/lacerated/missing internal organ.
    --If you can get away, then do so. Not getting sliced up is a win.
    --If you can't... try to create some distance and grab a chair. That's what Bas Rutten would do. And then get the hell away from the place.


    Opponents appear unarmed:
    -There is no way to know that someone is completely unarmed without a thorough search of his/her person. In most cases such as this, you will not be allowed to perform such a search. Therefore, you can only assume that they ARE armed.
    --get the hell away from them if possible. You don't want a "surprise" sometime during the fight. (the surprise is a trip to the hospital/morgue)
    REMEMBER: the bar tab is moot if you are under attack.


    You have no choice but to engage:
    -If you were smart and paying attention before you were forced into combat, you would have noticed multiple objects, locations, and people in your immediate environment.
    *Some of these objects such as bar stools, chairs, bottles, pool cues, tables, etc. are potential weapons. (Not recommended unless commensurate with enemy lethality - check step 7)
    *Booths, fixed tables, wall corners, bars jutting out of the walls, etc. are environmental hazards as well as potential ambush points.

    A savvy and quick tactician will know how to lure an enemy into a position of weakness and use the environment to his advantage.
    You may have been trained in some form of martial arts - but unless your opponent happens to be throwing a crane style jumping side flash upside down space shuttle kick he learned at your rival school, it won't help.
    Use common sense and speed (if applicable). Feint him/her into a jutting piece of the bar or into another chair or corner and push them into it. That would hurt.
    Don't ever forget that attacks to the groin, throat, and eyes usually = win.


    More things to consider in H2H (hand to hand) combat:

    -IF for some reason you happened to be armed with a knife, gun, or whatever, here is what you should do:
    *If possible, DO NOT EVER make it known that you are armed.
    *If weapons are exposed, be sure to drop, holster weapons.
    *If possible, Leave peacefully.
    *See if your lawyer is back from vacation.

    Winning an unarmed fight while armed, even if retained in concealment, is bad for you if the cops show up.


    If you are still unable to disengage your enemy peacefully, it would be possible as a last resort/desperate attempt to stop the fight before it starts through intimidation tactics such as a show of force.

    While this tactic has the potential to preempt combat (provided that your opponents are unarmed or less armed), it may also serve to escalate the fight (opponent holds equal or more arms).
    At that point, you will be in a more dangerous and exponentially more lethal armed conflict with a potential for collateral damage (bystanders + bullets = automatic loss).

    Also note that, in the event of victory through the use of arms, you will probably be going to jail anyway - the opposite of a win.  In the completely amazing and lucky event that, you do in fact participate and even survive an armed conflict unscathed, here's some more stuff to think about:

    Did you just kill somebody?

    Consider non-extradition countries. Call your lawyer and then the police. Don't speak to anyone until your lawyer arrives. If you don't have a problem being wanted by the law, just get the hell away and maybe nobody will be able to ID you.

    -No, but my assailant is bleeding like a Christian prophet during Roman rule:
    If your opponent is disabled and appears to be docile but wounded severely, call your lawyer, the police/ems, and attempt to apply first aid. If you don't know basic first aid, you shouldn't even be allowed outside of the house.

    No, and everyone is ok:
    shake hands and disperse as quickly as possible. As far as everyone involved is concerned, nothing happened. You may still have to pay your bar tab so the bartender doesn't ID you in a lineup.

    Tips & Warnings

    • All things considered, the best way to win a bar fight is to not get into a bar fight.
    • Hide/conceal all weapons if possible
    • Watch those walls and other environmental points for potential ambush or cornering use
    • keep a lawyer on retainer
    • NEVER underestimate your opponent.
    • Drinking and driving results in non-win even if you win a fight