You know how eating Velveeta Mac 'n' Cheese straight from the pot can cure a hangover? Or how sometimes you just need to watch "P.S. I Love You" and cry while hugging that stuffed animal you say you keep as a decoration?

Yea. We all have our, "This is what I do when I feel _____."

Your nightlife experience is no different. Feel like bumping rumps with a group of sweaty strangers? Looking for a drink more sophisticated than, "a shot of whatever's cheapest, please"?

Here's a guide to your Boulder bar experience.

I just wanna dance

Absinthe House

1109 Walnut St.

First step: shut up and just wait in line. I get that it's cold, that your buzz is wearing off, but lines are all part of the human experience. Next: Get to the bar. Trust me, you can't miss it, just a wall of liquor and craft brew delights. Third, you'll want to ditch the group's bums on the couches nearby, and take only those ready to shake dat ass out on what's usually an impressively packed dance floor. Fourth: DANCE. It doesn't matter how — you'll still see this girl rockin' the lawn mower or shopping cart or Q-Tip. (Or you'll see my friend creeping behind you, mimicking every move you make and laughing her ass off about it.) But the important thing is to just have fun. Sure, you might lose all hearing and a shoe, but it'll be worth it.


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Plus, when the weather cooperates, there's service rolling in the rooftop bar. Dancing with a view... not too shabby.

I just wanna dance, but my date's a gamer

Press Play

1005 Pearl St.

pressplaybar.com

So, you've got the group split by those wanting to bust a move and those crippled by ass-to-couch fusion, content with video games. Fine. We all know you've got the big-eyed pouty face down to get 'em out to the bars anyway. And once you step downstairs into Press Play, the bitching will stop and the coins will clang as they zero in on the game they're playing. You've given the anti-social gamer a place to play with others, or near others at least, while you enjoy a fully stocked bar. There's even Trivia Night on Tuesday, for those who play games AND know absurd amounts of random factoids. Lined with arcade games, pool tables and liquor, those fuddy-duddies will be set, leaving you to hit the dance floor tucked in the back. Oh yes, a dance floor rife with thudding music and plenty of bumpin-n-grindin. Enjoy a shot that even looks like a shot! (Big plastic syringes filled with Jell-O shots. Just don't leave your mouth open or a pal may just shove it in and... Oh wait, eww.)

Classic dive bar, pool tables and that old guy

The Sundown Saloon

1136 Pearl St.

This is one of the bars we've all gone to, and nearly everyone loves. Is it the booths that are literally falling apart? The low ceilings that lead us tall folks to duck and lean? Perhaps it's the heavily discounted PBR pitchers and Kamikaze shots. Whatever it is, once you go Downer, you'll never... not go back... whatever, it's a rad place. Just head downstairs, find an opening at an always-packed bar and get yourself a drink. From there, pool tables line the back (and yes, plenty of older folks prey on the naive, "I only get better at pool the more I drink" crowd), a foosball table and shuffleboard. I've found a game of Quarters is also a go-to, since you don't feel bad scuffing up their already dented tables. On busy nights, a second bar will open up to ease the congestion. I'll warn you now, don't wait until the bursting point to pee — the lines get long and move slow — but otherwise, it's the perfect dive bar.

Stereotypical college antics and questionable bar snacks

The Walrus Saloon

1911 11th St.

boulderwalrus.com

Another long-liner, the Walrus is a place I take those looking for a typical college bar. Want a beer immediately upon entering the bar? You're in luck, the gal at the big bin is there right near the entrance to toss you a bottle for a few bucks. There's a dance floor (that also doubles as their Ping-Pong area on some nights), but the further you go back, the more you'll find. There's a bar with all you'll want, liquor-wise — including mystery shots at a discount. Jonesing for a snack, and unconcerned with who else may have groped it before you stick it in your mouth? There's a barrel of peanuts just off the bar. I make no promises to what you contract after eating them. Add in air hockey, foosball, pool and a ring-toss sort of game (the ring's on a string, and you have to release it in such a way it'll fall on a hook on the wall... I don't know, but it's addictive), you've got plenty of entertainment. There's even couches back near their secondary bar to sink into if those heels are proving to be a bad choice.

Added bonus: You'll have yourself a new fish home when you top off the fish bowl there. That, and you'll be the proud owner of absurdly long straws that will never serve a purpose in your life again.

Liquored up on the Hill

The Sink

1165 13th St.

thesink.com

You can get liquored up at a place where Barack Obama and Guy Fieri hang out. The Sink is just up the way from Half Fast Subs (that has excellent sandwiches and a Strong Island pitcher that's truly one-and-done). The Sink is a bar/restaurant that goes on forever. You'll hit the bar first, ready to serve up the drink of your choice. Then you can hang there, work your way back to one of many tables (there's even a section you'll hit that has a blacklight... super fun for drunk people) or head out to the patio. My friend and I, well, we figured if we sat in the initial walkway, we'd have first pick of men coming in. ... Not as effective as we'd hoped. The Sink's ladies night isn't just a free drink for lasses, but a big SOLO-cup's worth. And the bar staff is always up to tell a story or help you out with unwanted flirtation. Plus, you're near a kitchen that's packed with fixin's for pizzas, burgers, etc. Soak up the booze and keep on rollin.

Bingo, trikes and staring at Chotchkies

World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

2922 W. Baseline Rd.

darkhorsebar.com

Tucked behind a McDonald's you've invariably gone to once or 30 times for a cheap snack, the bar's settled off the beaten path. and yet always humming with bar lovers. You can spend a whole night alone just walking the halls, staring at the mismatched posters and kitschy signs that are everywhere. Look up and you'll find bikes, furniture, sleds, mannequins, etc. (Hint: Perfect for a first date. If conversation lags, just look up and you'll find something to comment on, like pics of half-naked people or a scary clown figurine.) You'll find pool, arcade games, foosball and air hockey, and plenty of booths and tables to nestle into. On Fridays, the bar hosts bingo, led by a guy who has no fucks to give on what curse words he uses or whether you want to do the Ski Shot you won or not. There's trivia on Wednesdays, karaoke on Thursdays and each Tuesday, adult tricycle races around the bar. Winners get beer.

This is really a bar that has something for everyone. (Another tip: Watch out when hitting the loos. I've had many a man stare confusedly from the urinal as I awkwardly backed out and into my own bathroom.)

Alexandra Sieh: bouldernightlife@coloradodaily.com, twitter.com/ansieh.