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AIBU to not pay for all the drinks at my party?

(106 Posts)
sailawaywithme Sat 07-Jan-17 21:21:21

Hello, I have a milestone birthday soon and am having a party in a function room at a local pub. There will be around 70 guests. We have organized a buffet, and a birthday cake large enough for everyone to have a slice. We also have a (fantastic!) cover band playing.

My question is about the drinks. There is a full bar in the function room and we did not plan to pay for people's drinks, but a friend of mine sounded surprised when I said it was a cash bar and that guests would buy their own drinks.

Would you expect to have all your drinks paid for? I certainly wouldn't but I'm interested in others' views. To complicate things further, we are in the US and around half the guests are Americans, and half British. Although I expect the Brits to drink much more than the Americans 😀

PopGoesTheFuckingWeasel Sat 07-Jan-17 21:26:04

My bf celebrated her 40th a few weeks ago. She did similar to you- buffet, cake, etc, and there was a bar that people bought drinks from.

Yanbu. If people don't like it, they don't have to go! Way it be! ☺

Dutch1e Sat 07-Jan-17 21:26:55

At UK drinks prices, no you're not being unreasonable especially as you're laying on food and music.

dollydaydream114 Sat 07-Jan-17 21:28:08

If it was in a function room at a pub or anywhere with a bar then yes, I'd assume I'd be buying my own drinks. I certainly wouldn't expect to have my drinks paid for all night. What you've planned is totally normal and fine.

Itrynotto Sat 07-Jan-17 21:28:58

I would not expect a friend to pay for my drinks at their party, no way. Your friend is being a chancer in my opinion.

Billyray23 Sat 07-Jan-17 21:30:32

I would expect to pay for my own drinks

MsJudgemental Sat 07-Jan-17 21:30:44

If there's a bar, I would expect to pay for drinks. Sometimes the first drink is paid for, but that's up to you.

edwinbear Sat 07-Jan-17 21:31:05

I recently attended a friends 40th in a pub function room with much the same set up, they had provided a buffet and a DJ, we bought our own drinks at the cash bar. Perfectly normal.

BIgBagofJelly Sat 07-Jan-17 21:31:21

I think it's a nice gesture to maybe buy one drink per person or provide soft drinks but it's not necessary and if you paid for an open bar people would end up taking advantage and it would cost you an absolute fortune.

Dutch1e Sat 07-Jan-17 21:31:25

Oh sorry I just saw that you're in the US not paying UK prices for drinks! In that case I don't know - what's the usual practice where you live?

FuzzyDiamond Sat 07-Jan-17 21:31:55

I would expect to pay for my drinks, hope you have a great party.

gunsandbanjos Sat 07-Jan-17 21:33:36

I'd expect to pay for my own drinks. Your friend is unreasonable.

annlee3817 Sat 07-Jan-17 21:33:55

It's an American thing that if you host a party you provide the booze, it's the same with American weddings, cash bar is frowned upon. I think it's completely acceptable to have a cash bar, it's the norm to me if your hiring out a function room with a bar, completely different to a party at home.

annlee3817 Sat 07-Jan-17 21:34:22


LobsterQuadrille Sat 07-Jan-17 21:34:42

I'd expect to buy my own drinks, although I've been to a couple of parties like yours where we've been given a couple of raffle type tickets which entitled each guest to two free drinks. I don't think that's necessary especially with music, buffet and cake. Happy birthday in advance!

Starlight2345 Sat 07-Jan-17 21:36:08

I would expect to pay for my own buy like you no idea in the US

EatsShitAndLeaves Sat 07-Jan-17 21:36:52

I'd say it was pretty normal to have a paying bar for this type of event. Quite a few friends have had big birthdays recently and those that have thrown a party have done similar to you.

You're providing substantial food, so there's no real lack of hospitality.

You might want to consider providing a "toasting" drink if you are going to do a speech, to have with the lovely cake, but that a nice to have and not strictly necessary.

As long as people know it's a paying bar then I don't really see an issue. In fact I prefer a paying bar. Free bars tend to be more restrictive on what you can have. I'd rather pay for a nice glass of wine than the cheap job lot of Chardonnay (that I hate) that invariably forms part of a free bar.

I think your "friend" is being a bit of a chancer...

Keepingupwiththejonesys Sat 07-Jan-17 21:37:16

We throw parties like this around twice a year. No way could we buy everyone drinks all night! I'd be really surprised to turn up at a wedding, birthday, christening or anything like that and not pay for my own drinks. We always do a very large buffet (both have big families) , a cake or two (enough to serve everyone) and sometimes if we know its a party when lots of children will be there we put out some of those boxes of the little qwenchy cup type drinks in the cartons but when they're gone they're gone. We also have music and depending on the occasion karaoke which my husband now does as he has full set up of speakers, Amps, lights etc. I think its more than enough!

EatsShitAndLeaves Sat 07-Jan-17 21:40:21

Oops - sorry for the dual post - no idea what happened there....

I did miss the part about the US.

I've been to events there with work that have a paying bar but tbh I'm not sure on the etiquette for birthday events.

SheepyFun Sat 07-Jan-17 21:43:43

I'd be quite happy to pay for my own drinks. But I'd like to know that in advance, not least to ensure I had enough money on me - let your guests know so it isn't a (unwelcome) surprise on the night.

Bodicea Sat 07-Jan-17 21:43:48

I think it's more common in the us to provide the booze. However if half the guests are brits it could get very expensive!
You could compromise by putting a set amount behind the bar then when it's gone it's a cash bar. We did this at my wedding. Think we put £500 behind. It didnt last long.

MudCity Sat 07-Jan-17 21:46:30

I would totally expect to pay for my own drinks.

Enjoy your birthday!

Dogivemeabreak Sat 07-Jan-17 21:48:10

No it's not common in the States to buy all the drinks. We'd buy our own if food and entertainment were provided.

Birdsgottafly Sat 07-Jan-17 21:51:00

The norm in my circle/area, is a drink on arrival, a choice of red/white/rose wine, set put on a table, in the entrance.

I don't know anyone who'd expect a paid bar.

Only1scoop Sat 07-Jan-17 21:51:40

Drink on arrival/toast then paid bar

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