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How Bars Drive you to Drink

By Dirk Hanson 03/27/11
Is it hot in here or is it just me? Photo via ccnow

Why is it that when you’re grooving to Usher in the city’s hottest spot you suddenly feel like taking off all your clothes? Turns out it’s not because your bad self is turnin’ it out on the floor, it’s because the club owner is turning up the heat—literally. Taking a cue from Vegas casinos, the nation’s booze halls are deploying a litany of savvy marketing techniques and subterfuge to keep you bellied up to the bar. Even corner dives are in on the act. Bar owners know that higher temperatures make for thirstier drinkers and higher profits. And that’s not all: those frosted "extra cold" pumps covered in fake condensation? Only the latest in industry marketing gimmicks. Music blaring too loud? Hey, the higher the volume, the faster the cocktails fly. “The last thing we want are people talking quietly in a corner,” admits one club owner. And you don’t get to dance for very long, either. Indiscreet DJs, according to the BBC, say that house rules, not their bad taste, force them to kill a string of hot tunes with a few clunkers, forcing the crowds to make a beeline for the bar. And the final touch: smoking hot bartenders. Because if you keep ordering doubles, you sadly convince your overheated self, maybe they’ll take off all their clothes.

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]

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