The party before the party

Cups are lined up on either side of the table. You toss the ping-pong ball and it bounces into one of the half-filled cups. Your friend plucks the ball out of the cup and chugs the beer.

A few hours later, you’re outside the bar. You adjust your top, pull up your pants, and take a deep breath.

At the door, you hand your ID to the doorman.

A study released in November 2012 showed that people who predrink consume twice as much alcohol as the average person would drink at a bar.

Samantha Wells, a scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in London, Ontario told HealthDay reporter Randy Dotinga that the results of the research is a mirror-image of what’s happening in North America.

The study, done in Switzerland, followed the habits of 183 young adults over five weeks from Thursday to Saturday.

Predrinking is consuming alcohol before going out. It is often linked with drinking games that promote binge drinking, such as beer pong.

Those who choose to predrink often deal with the bouncer or doorman before entering the bar.

Tristan Johnson, bus boy and doorman at the Cellar, often turns away those too intoxicated to enter.

“We’ve all done it. I know what it’s all about,” he says.

Johnson’s way of deciding if patrons should enter is based on a few observations. Whether they are walking straight or if their speech is slurred are good indications of intoxication. He says he is commonly addressed in a rude manner if he denies them entry and is told to go fuck himself and “I come here all the time,” as if that’s somehow permission to come in.

According to Johnson, many are under uninformed about predrinking.

“They’re under the impression that they’re saving money before they go out.” he says “In reality, you go to the bar hammered and end up spending more money because your judgement is impaired.”

Ashley Garnett, third year of St. Thomas University says she predrinks to cope with the environment.

“If you get there sober, you’re surrounded by drunk people. It’s annoying. You feel out of place,” she says, “you also see so much more. You see the outfits, what people are doing. Nicky Zees seems so much dirtier.”

Her predrinking consists of a pint of vodka or Jager, depending on how much she plans on drinking.

“I usually drink that before I go out to the bar, sometimes I finish it, sometimes I don’t,” says Garnett.

Garnett admits to being no stranger to getting turned away by a bouncer.

“Basically, they take one look at you, how you’re standing and talking and they say no,” she describes “by then I know I’m pretty bad and I just take it and leave.”

Despite the risks, Garnett says she will continue to predrink.

“The most fun about drinking is drinking before going out to the bars,” she says, “It’s more intimate social-wise in a house setting with the anticipation of going out.”

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