A local cheers in Philadelphia begins with someone sharing a story that takes an unusually negative turn and ends with everyone raising their glasses and saying “oh well.” During this process no eye contact is made. Locals just stare at their beers and race to get to the bottom of their glasses.
Boston is a city of local bars with frequent regulars who just want to go where everybody knows their name. You know who local legends are when they walk into one of these establishments because everyone raises their glasses and sings out their name in a drunken chorus. If you’re new in town and want to get involved in this spirited toast, simply yelling “heeyy–ooo” will suffice.
After discussing what each person does for a living, rounds of shots are ordered. Brooklynites then engage in an Anna Kendrick-like cup dance where they raise their glasses, clink them together, tap them to the table or bar, and then kick them back…in that order! Afterwards, locals argue over who pays what on the bill and complain about how damn expensive each shot was.
Toasting in Atlanta begins with two or more people gossiping about how bad they feel for someone they all know but also dislike. Even though the group is not fond of the person getting blasted, they soften the blow with “bless his/her heart.” Drink and repeat.
A Fort Worth cheers requires quick and biting wit. After everyone grabs a Shiner or Lone Star, one person starts the toast by sharing a short, yet very dirty saying or poem. Some tame examples are “here’s to swimming with long legged women” and “she offered her honor, he honored her offer, and all night long, he was on her and off her.” After each little saying, the group affirms it with a “yeah” and “that’s right…that’s right.” This continues until each person has come up with a clever toast. Each toast tends to get riskier and riskier as each person tests the depths of how low the group can go.
A Los Angeles toast begins with everyone circling around a storyteller who is regaling everyone present with a tale of a profound turning point in his or her life. When the story is complete, someone in the circle will respond with something along the lines of, “Hey man, here’s to that.” The storyteller then responds with, “You know what dude? Here’s to you.” Clinking glasses is not necessary. There’s too many people and that takes too much effort, so a wink, a nod, and a mutual understanding is all that’s needed.
The recent influx of tech startups to San Francisco has bred two types of bar-goers: tech transplants and natives. Tech transplants, after the first round is served, fall face first into the smartphone abyss and proceed to Instagram and tweet what they’re drinking, with whom, and where. After all social media networks have been notified of their activity, tech transplants begin to gossip about startups they think are going to fail. Meanwhile, natives are cheering to the hope that the tech bubble will collapse so they can afford to live in San Francisco again.
When they’re not flashing their goods, people from New Orleans cheers to anything and everything food related. Topics of concern are usually what you ate last, what you plan to eat next, and whose jambalaya reigns supreme — your mommy’s or your aunty’s? Eventually, the conversation ends on legends of the finest dish ever consumed and they toast to that, wishing that each person “eat well.”
A Portland toast feels like a brewery tour of all the breweries in the Pacific Northwest. The ritual centers on the person buying the first round. Like a matchmaker, this individual pairs each friend to the beer he or she feels speaks to that friend’s personality. The person buying the round explains the history of the brewery and how the ingredients behave in the particular beer style. When everyone has a beer in hand, they raise their glasses up to their noses to sniff. While sniffing, each person makes awkward eye contact and waits for the buyer of the round to take the first sip. This process continues until each friend has bought a round.