While we all need to look after our mates on a night out, there are occasions when you know you need to make a hasty, unnoticed exit before the night gets ugly. Ghosting, the smokebomb, the Irish goodbye — call it what you want, the subtle art of disappearing before your mates even realise you're gone is a skill. How to Drink Properly has teamed up with Uber to help you slip out when you reckon you've run your race by adding a 'ghost' mode on the ride-sharing app. Sneak out and get home with an Uber, then let your drinking buddies track your trip once you're in the car so they know you've arrived home safely. All you've got to do to pull off a great ghost is get to the front door of the venue — we've put together a list to help you out. You can thank us later.
EASY: COLLEGE LAWN HOTEL
College Lawn in Prahran has long been the sort of place you'd want to wander down to on a Sunday afternoon to sink a few pints and maybe watch a game. But when that afternoon turns to night, and you realise you've got work in ten hours or so, College Lawn also has you sorted for ghosting. Surrounded by main roads your Uber can access in a jiffy, the large venue also has enough rooms and different areas you can sidle off to and make your exit from. You'd even be able to hop over the fence at the back without anyone noticing and calling foul.
EASY: THE CARLTON CLUB
The Carlton Club is another large, sprawling venue that encompasses enough random bits and bobs to distract your friends from your exit. Lead your group into the room with animals on the wall, get them to stroke said furry wall, then take your cue and order your Uber quick smart. They'll probably spend a fruitless few minutes looking for you before assuming you're on the palm rooftop bar or something and stop worrying.
Howler is the sort of place where you're not really sure if you're in a bar, a club, an art gallery or a ping-pong tournament facility. With all of that going on — music, theatre, fringe shows and storyslams — it should be easy enough to blend into the background, pretend you're doing an art piece and scamper. Or you could win huge at a game of ping-pong, do a victory lap and then never come back.
EASY: MADAME BRUSSELS
Madame Brussels has the benefit of the good old distraction technique, too, but this time it's of a different sort. All the staff here just look so swish when they're done up in their finest tennis whites, your mates will find themselves wondering where you even buy tennis skirts from, and what exactly Pimm's is as they sink another jug of it. Then voila, you're a distant echo and on the way to water and bed.
EASY: THE RETREAT
The Retreat arguably has one of the best beer gardens on the north side of town — perhaps even the whole of Melbourne. It often plays home to some noise-heavy bands playing their hearts out, so you summoning an Uber will go unnoticed amongst the loud guitars and smokers. It's a busy place and it's got your back when you need it; just duck around the enormous tree out the back and slip out easily.
HARD: GERALD'S BAR
Gerald's quaint, cosy interior is a prime date setting for a romantic night of red wine and pasta. However, when it comes to group hangs, the one entrance is very obvious and the warm lighting and close quarters means it'll be unlikely your actions will go unnoticed — the rule of thumb is that the smaller and sweeter the bar, the easier it'll be to hear your mates yelling, "Oi! Where ya going?" and the jig will be up.
HARD: LOOP ROOF
Loop Roof is an excellent summer night cocktail spot high above the Melbourne skyline, but it's also a tricky spot to escape in a hurry. It may seem all fine and dandy to start with when you've ordered your Uber and downed the rest of your drink. But when you realise that there are five flights of stairs you have to contend with and your balance isn't so hot tonight, that facade fades fast. You make your way down bit by bit, and listen out for the Uber driver calling to find out where you are. Just tell 'em you're only one flight away.
HARD: MARION WINE BAR
Marion, Cutler & Co.'s neighbouring wine bar by the same owners, is another place you'll want to bring your Tinder date to so you can impress them. It's new, trendy, long rather than wide and all done up in minimalist white and brick. This makes for an A+ cool wine bar experience, but has D+ ghosting capabilities, considering everything you do will be more noticeable thanks to the narrow entrance, bright white walls, small tables and huge windows. But really, you shouldn't be ghosting on a date unless the situation is dire, so stick to catching up with friends here who'll understand when the night turns and you need to run.
HARD: SUN MOTH CANTEEN
Sun Moth Canteen is one of those small places hidden away in Melbourne's underbelly of cobblestone laneways — good for the secretive 'find it yourself' culture that our city enjoys, but bad for those hoping to make a quick escape into a waiting car on a main road. Also, if you happen to glance at the food menu and see that there is fried bread on it, good luck to you. Your inner carb fiend might just take the reins and forget about leaving.
Yah Yah's is a mainstay in late-night joints that keep kicking 'til daylight comes back around. At this 'weekend club for zombies', don't be surprised if you find yourself still there as the next door café kicks into gear for the morning rush. Smokebombing from a place as resolutely banging as Yah Yah's is nigh impossible when there's a dance floor and tunes of such prowess, so ghosting here is something you may try, but quite possibly fail at. The entrance is also right next to the dance floor. Not helpful.
Make a sneaky exit before your next big night gets a little too big to handle with Uber's new ghost mode, and as always, drink responsibly, friends.