How to Lose a Knife in a Bar

City Bars and Clubs are Exciting Places to Lose a Knife

A bar is a great place to take a knife if you want to lose it. There’s really nothing else to do with a knife in there. The bartender opens all the beers for you and for some reason people get angry when you try to make feather sticks out of the chair legs. The best you can hope for is that some well-meaning enthusiast will ask what you have in your pocket and you get to talk cool knives for a while.

Thing is, the only time someone asked what I had in my pocket at a bar I was in the bathroom and the leathery old man staring at my pants didn’t wash his hands. I just told him it was a roll of quarters and politely excused myself because I didn’t want his pee hands all over the micarta scales.

Any other time my knife comes up in a bar, it probably means I’m about to lose it. Maybe it’s because I had to check it in with security, or maybe it’s because I took it out to set it on the back of a sink while I washed my hands. Not for any particular reason other than that my decisions up to that point made that seem like a perfectly logical thing to do.

What I mean is I’ve lost a few knives in bars. Enough that I’ve decided to call myself an expert on the subject, because that distracts from the gathering cloud of my drinking problem, and if you follow along with my carefully thought-out instructions, you can too.

Pick the Right Bar

A small town bar is a safe place for a pocket knife, , but city bars will take them.

The first step is finding the right spot to lose your knife. Some bars are easier to lose a knife in than others. For example, no one cares about your knife in a small town bar.

If you can imagine a place like Cheers only smellier and with a more claustrophobic floor plan, probably with less charming people except for the bartender who’s just taking all the sarcastic responses in her head and molding them into ambiguous sympathies that she’s praying will end just after you leave a decent tip but right before you ask for her number, you have a good idea of the small town elements you’ll be dealing with. You’re really relying on your own stupidity in a place like that.

Also no one knows your name, but there’s a salty old man in the corner that keeps calling you “Charlie”, and you will never find out why.

Alternatively, any city with a college offers a wide range of tools the ambitious knife user can use to either lose track of or get forcibly separated from his knife.

The dive bar: Similar to the small town bar, except it runs the risk of getting overrun by a herd of frat guys. These are particularly useful creatures for losing your knife, as they are one of the few who might actually take interest in your knife and pass it around to their hat-clad friends. At some point you will hear the phrase “dude watch this”. The possibilities following that are too complex to get into here, but rest assured at that point you have achieved maximum knife loss.

The trendy bar: Actually pretty similar to the dive bar, except all the drinks cost twice as much and at least two guys have ironic handlebar mustaches instead of backwards sports hats. There’s not a lot of possibility in a place like this. If you take your knife out you’re just going to get worried sideways glances and an exaggerated attempt at a big boy voice from the bartender saying you can’t have that in here.

The popular bar: Whether it’s popular because it’s actually nice, or because it’s conveniently placed between a movie theater and that place with really good tacos, this bar is always busy. Getting to the bar requires a battering ram, and the bathroom is only a legend whispered about in the line of people who are somehow always between you and your table. On weekends this place will have a bouncer, which is an element rife with opportunity.

The club: You’re not here because you picked the place. You’re here by accident. You thought you were in the line for a food truck and now a very large man with a shirt that says “Security” is asking why you’re wearing a hoodie. There is nothing in the world that could possibly make it worth actually going into the building, but it is absolutely the best kind of bar to lose your knife in.

Pick the Right Drink

For lightweights I recommend sticking with beers in increasing strength.

This is essential, as almost none of these things can happen before you’ve made enough of the correct wrong decisions about your drink choices.

Longevity is key here, because you need to create as big of a window for bad decision making as possible. For lightweights I recommend sticking with beers in increasing strength. You need to let the drunkness sneak up on you until you’re dumb enough to let the bad friend buy one last shot of whiskey before you try to go home.

For others, you need to start with a friendly mixed drink so you can keep up the facade of a low key night for about half an hour until people start calling out the names of more drinks like they’re rides at an amusement park. That’s when you start participating in productive behavior like betting someone you can flip your knife in the air and catch it by the handle.

Never Tighten Your Pocket Clip

Some knives hold on great to their pocket clip and function well enough to keep the knife in your pocket 95% of the time. Other knives do not.

This is a pretty simple tip. Some knives hold on great to their pocket clip and function well enough to keep the knife in your pocket 95% of the time. Other knives, not naming any names, are apparently designed with spring-loaded pocket clips that Jiminy Cricket out of your pants at the mere graze of a wish.

For me, taking off my coat in a sloppy attempt to cool down is the most effective for losing a knife by a loose clip. It creates enough noise that I don’t usually hear the knife hit the floor, and the spectacle of my attempt to take the coat off without looking like I’m drunk distracts everyone else.

Other options include:

  • Pushing through a crowd of people that’s so tightly knit it’s basically a human crochet blanket wound hip to crotch;
  • Digging around aggressively in your pocket to look for your phone before remembering you put it in the pocket of your coat which is now hanging on the back of a chair somewhere (Bonus: this is also a great way to lose your phone).
  • Leaning against a wall.

All you have to do to make it happen is never tighten your pocket clip down.

Provoke the Bouncer

Guaranteed the bouncer will see that clip hanging out of your pocket when you walk in.

Guaranteed the bouncer will see that clip hanging out of your pocket when you walk in. On any other occasion he wouldn’t care, but now you’re about to be a drunk asshole with a knife in a bar that he’s getting paid to watch, and, depending on the bar and the bouncer, that’s just too much to worry about. Either he won’t let you into the bar at all, or he’ll ask you to hand the knife over before going in.

Now let’s say you don’t think much of this no-knife policy, and say something off color about whether he’d like to confiscate your hands too and maybe tuck you in and give you a kiss on the cheek while he’s at it. And yes, you’ve already been drinking at this point, thank you for asking.

A few different things could happen at this point. The most likely is that he’ll either tell you to leave, or he’ll just stare you down and shake his head with a quiet, promising threat when you finally get around to leaving and ask for your knife back.

Another possibility, however distant it seems, is that he smooshes his ham hands down on your shoulder until your butt makes an imprint on the sidewalk and holds you there until the police show up. If he doesn’t keep your knife at this point, the police will probably take it when they show up, because they already have a drunk tank stacked with people and are tired of your crap before they get there.

Be a Lazy Drunk in a Bar Full of People

Falling asleep in a bar full of people is a great way to lose a pocket knife.

This is a long one, so bear with me:

Let’s say you’re going someplace where they’re really paranoid. Maybe because it’s in a bad part of town, or maybe it’s a city ordinance thing. Or maybe you see them letting in underage kids and stamping their hands so they can’t buy alcohol, but you see someone’s cool mom buying them all a round of Jack and coke inside, so nothing in this bar works or makes sense anyway.

Eventually it will hit you that this house-music hell hole isn’t so much a bar as a club, but it will be too late to save yourself by then because the line to get in goes back three blocks and when you turn around to leave there’s a fleshy wall of townies between you and the door that will not move any direction other than with the damning flow of the line they’ve been in for the last hour.

When you turn back around there’s a large tired man with a wand holding his hand out for you knife, limiting your options to either testing the laws of physics by trying to squeeze through the blob of congealed drunks behind you or handing this man your knife and “checking it in with security”. This was a hard decision, and maybe you finally hand the man your knife because you’re incapable of the complete disregard for hygiene and personal space required to escape, or because you heard three different people taller than you ask what’s taking so long and now everyone is looking at you like your the asshole.

Regardless, you give the knife up.

Now, you’re going to think about how your knife just got stuffed into a bag full of confiscated mace and those little bottles of Schnapps, and you’re going to try hard to remember the face of the guy you handed it to. If you’re really good, you might remember he had dark hair past the third round of what someone called an Irish Highball, but you’re pretty sure is just well whiskey mixed with gasoline at this point.

When you’re finally ready to go home, you’re going to look up and see a roiling swamp of people between you and the guy who has your knife. God knows why he’s at the back of the bar now instead of by the door where you checked the knife in, but, as we established before, nothing about this place makes sense.

At first you might try to weave your way through the crowd, but at the first sweaty contact with a stranger trying to dance on another stranger and spilling the delicate juices of his Hurricane over the already sticky floor, you will seriously reconsider how important that one knife really is when you have like ten other knives just sitting on your dresser at home.

So decide it’s not worth it since you can just come back and pick the knife up tomorrow. Then you go sit on the sidewalk and try really hard to hold your head still so you can see your taxi pull up.

In the morning you’re going to feel like a desert that was just drilled for oil and left on an even drier dessert. You can actually smell the vomit coming off the mere thought of going back to that God-forsaken bar to get your knife back, so you just lie there in the fetal position and try not to move for as long as possible.

At some point the thought will drift into your spongy head that they just released a new model of that knife with titanium scales anyway, and that you could probably go without eating long enough to afford it.

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Avatar of Ben North

Ben started a twenty year commercial photography career after a blurry stint in the navy. He spent a lot of time losing and breaking knives and other EDC gear on location shoots before starting Nothing But Knives. He has reviewed and tested hundreds of both outdoor and kitchen knives over the course of the last six years, and he was mostly sober while testing and reviewing.

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