Nothing elevates the excitement of a company party quite like the mention of an 'open bar.' Sure, the tried-and-true cheese tray and obligatory bowl of French onion dip are great, but the opportunity to score free booze is what really brings the people in.
Rule 119 from "According To Him + Her" encourages employees to "always take advantage of the open bar at the company party," and we'd have to agree. But, there are a few rules to observe before downing your share of cocktails or brews. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Know your limit. Keeping your intake to a two-drink maximum is a good rule of thumb when dealing with a company-funded open bar. There's no doubt you can drink your friends under the table on Cinco de Mayo or the Fourth of July, but now isn't the time to showcase your talents. In the company of co-workers and employers, keep it cute and remain [relatively] sober.
Be mindful of your company. Speaking of co-workers and employers, remember they're just that-- your co-workers and employers. While you might have personal relationships with some of them outside of the workplace, understand that a company party is not the same setting as Saturday night at the club. Have fun and be social, but maintain a certain level of professionalism when that buzz creeps in.
Don't skip the tip. Just because your boss is footing the bill doesn't mean you should dismiss all bar etiquette. If the tip jar is in plain sight (sometimes a bartender's tip is covered by the client/company), it's courteous to drop in a dollar a drink. That's a nominal fee, if you're following the two-drink rule (see above). Don't be afraid to show your bartenders a little love.
(Photo: Ned Frisk/Blend Images/Corbis)