The truth is, there’s rarely a “winner” in a bar fight, unless you consider getting arrested, banned, sued, or injured “winning.” The absolute best outcome is to come away fully intact, with no injuries, and no stain on your public record or reputation. The extent to which you or your opponent is intoxicated is the main factor determining this outcome. We’re going to assume that you are not the aggressor, but rather a bystander who has for whatever reason incurred the wrath of an intoxicated fool high on testosterone.
Make Love, Not War
Possibly the most important thing to remember and which at first may seem counter-intuitive is to not injure your attacker. This is critical, because even though you are acting in self-defense, you can still be held liable for injuries you inflict. And since, we presume, your attacker is drunk and you are less drunk, you have a much greater chance of hurting him than he does of hurting you in a straight fight. Therefore, the wisest course of action is to avoid confrontation all together.
When Drunks Attack
When pacifism does not work and a physical altercation seems likely, you must assess your situation quickly to determine how dangerous the guy is, if there is help nearby (bouncers, security, friends), and if there is an exit available. You still may be able to escape violence through a side door when Drunkie McDrunk isn’t looking, lose him in a crowd, or let security know this guy is being belligerent. If escape isn’t possible and dude is getting in your face, take a defensive stance and back away from him. Keep your distance and don’t take your eyes off him. Most of the time, if he takes a swing at you, staff, friends, or bystanders will intervene and restrain him, so all you have to do is back away and not get hit. You can also simply tire him out this way too, provided that you can keep your distance and keep circling around.
Float like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee
If it becomes clear than nobody else is stepping in, you have no where else to go, or this guy is just not going to stop, your most effect counter attack is an upper cut to the gut. The benefits of the gut shot are 1. a well placed gut shot will instantly destroy any enthusiasm he had for attacking you, and 2. it doesn’t leave any visible damage. Avoid punching the face for this reason: bloody and broken noses look pretty horrendous and increase the chance that you will be seen as the aggressor. Not to mention the chance of breaking your hand. Not good. So be defensive, look for your openings, and hit the gut. Then you should probably leave.