The bar is an unconventional place to have a date, let alone a first date. Dates require an intimacy that boisterous laughter, incessant chatter and arguments over who finished the tequila salt, all found at the bar, hardly permit.

Here’s a guide to scoring a second date at the bar and turning the bro-friendly bar vibe into a romantic getaway.

1. Have an exit strategy

Not the best starting place for a successful date but sometimes cutting losses and leaving before any (more) damage is done is a success. You stand a chance of making amends later.

Whether it is a fake call or the plain cold truth that “this is not working“, always have a gateway strategy.

2. Nail your order

The perfect drink will help you relax, and nothing is more comfortable than your regular drink. Don’t leave your comfort drink to impress your date. If you want to try something new, go for something you can leisurely sip on like a cocktail. Keep the meals simple and small. If you are having trouble stepping out of your zone…

3. Ask for help

Use the bartender and waiting staff to your advantage. Talking to the bartender is also one way to break the ice between you and your date. Ask for his advise on the drinks and food pairings.

The trick is to arrive early and introduce yourself, then later you date. If you explain that you’re on a date, the barkeep will give the appropriate treatment and space.

4. Alcohol does not mix well with nerves

Liquid courage will take your evening down the drain with it. It will make you more self-conscious and jittery, so instead of taking a shot to calm yourself try this next step.

5. Switch up the formula

No matter what you think, it is very hard for the other person to tell that you are nervous, unless you have the worst case of it. They are probably nervous themselves. If you can admit it, it might help, but try mixing up your body language to relax. Laugh, ask questions and sip your drink, you’ll avoid the date pitfalls of laughing too much, interrogating the person or drinking too fast.

6. Sit on the same side

Sit side-by-side instead of the classic sitting across the table. In proxemics, study of human space requirements and impact of positions, sitting side-by-side shows that you are facing a similar direction working toward the same goal. Avoid tables, they create physical barriers and might feel like an interview. According to proxemics, sitting at a 120 degree angle makes for a successful cooperation.

7. Pick the location and night wisely

Choose a venue that has good security and where you’ll be able to relax. Pick out a favourable night out of your week. The bar setting is relatively the same, but the nights differ with the size of the crowd.

8. Move away from the bar

Relocate from the bar as the evening progresses. It can be hard to communicate naturally with your date, to get to know them, when you have the company of the bartender and other people are coming and going with orders for drinks.

9. Stay away from your phone

Unless you are showing your date pictures, and letting them get to know you, keep your phone in your pocket. Be conscious of the contents and settings of your phone if you are using it to keep conversation going. You don’t want to have a notification preview make things awkward.

10. Don’t be a know it all

Make the night an adventure, reign in the urge to point out everything that you know, think you know or Google what you’re not sure of…especially on the drinks menu. Relax, discover and experience the evening together. Rather than pretend to ‘do this all the time’, embrace recommendations.