20 Bars With Bizarre Rules You Have to Follow — or Fear Being Kicked Out

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All bars have rules. But most of the rules are pretty much the same: pay for your drinks, don’t get too rowdy, you have to wear shoes, don’t play Hey Ya! three times in a row on the Touch Tunes even if everyone actually really seems to be enjoying it and it was your own hard earned money you put in there. But some bars have much, much more specific rules.

Or, if you’re someone who loves rules, which let’s be honest some of us are, they will make you very, very happy. Either way, here are a bunch of bars that have super specific rules.

At The Continental in New York, they got tired of hearing people use the word “literally.” So they banned it, and whoever is saying it. At this bar, you get kicked out if you dare utter the word “literally” (which honestly seems a little harsh, it’s literally not the end of the world if someone slips in a few “literallys” every once and awhile). Look, we all know people use the word “literally” when they should be saying “figuratively” but isn’t there some poetry in the fact that somehow through frequent use we managed to make a word refer to the exact opposite of what it actually means? And everyone still knows what we are talking about? The English language is fluid and beautiful and… anyway, moving on.

And everyone still knows what we are talking about? The English language is fluid and beautiful and… anyway, moving on.

At the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange in Kalamazoo, Michigan, beer prices change according to how many people in the bar are buying beer, just like the stock market. There is a big board that displays the current prices of beers depending on demand. Every once and awhile the market will crash and one beer will be super cheap!  

You can get shushed for talking above a whisper at this New York bar. This would be a difficult bar to attend for some of us who may or may not be able to control the volume of our voice.

At The Anonymous Bar in Prague, some of the menu can only be read with a black light, and if you order a specific drink they take a photo of you in a Guy Fawkes mask.

The British pub chain Samuel Smith’s has recently banned swearing of any kind in their pubs. Um, have you ever met a British person, though? Swearing is something of an art form in the UK, this sounds like an impossible task for most of that country.

To ease the awkwardness of meeting up with someone you’ve never met before, Alphaville in Brooklyn gives you a free shot if you can prove you’re on a Tinder date.

Maybe they’ll throw in a free beer to cry into when your date mentions he “Needs to get home before his girlfriend suspect anything” and you realize you definitely were not a match after all.

Every Wednesday the bar hosts “flip nights” where you flip a coin to see if your drink costs money or if it’s free. Seems a better business model would have been a dice, but okay, we’re down for a 50/50 chance of getting a free drink. They also sometimes choose a few random names and people with those names get to drink for free. This bar loves giving away free drinks, apparently.

Alcotraz in London is a prison-themed bar, where alcohol is strictly forbidden. You are supposed to sneak in your own booze which the other inmates (aka bartenders) will help you prepare into a drink. You even have to wear an orange jumpsuit.

They think it makes light of the prison system, calling it “tone deaf”.

At least if you’re a man. At Maple Bar in Canberra, Australia, men are not allowed to speak to women unless they speak to them first. The bar says this is to make women feel more comfortable.

If you are a person who loves rules, you will feel right at home at The Patterson House in Nashville where you are not allowed to use your cell phone, name-drop, play-fight or even talk about fighting.

This bar in New York has decided that they didn’t want a young crowd doing all kinds of shots and doing who knows what in the bathrooms, ruining the vibe, so on weekends, you have to be over 25 to get in.

Thomas Foolery in Washington, DC is a now-closed 90s themed bar where you could get 10% off your drink if you dressed up like Carlton from the Fresh Prince, 10% off your whole groups drinks if you all dressed like a 90s boy or girl band and a free Ring Pop if you danced 30 seconds of Single Ladies. Bring it back!

Speakeasy bars are very popular right now and the Soda Factory in Sydney is one of them. To get into this secret bar, you have to walk into a fake diner and open up a fake drink freezer, which turns out to be a door. Definitely daunting if you’re heading in alone for the first time, since the whole thing looks very realistic.

To get to Noble Experiment in San Diego, you have to push a walls of kegs that turns into a secret door. At Lock and Key in LA, only one knob of many will turn to let you into the bar. Ipswitch in San Francisco is a speakeasy within a speakeasy.

The Gin Tub in Hove England is very serious about their no texting rule, so serious in fact that they built a Faraday cage around the building and filled the walls with tinfoil, making it impossible to text while inside.

Some people think a bar having rules makes it more fun, others beg to differ. Is building a barrier impenetrable to cell phone going a bit too far to ensure people have meaningful conversation at your bar going a bit too far?  Maybe. Should bars really throw people out for using common slang? Probably not. But there’s always the option of drinking at home.