I'm getting scolded for bringing my metal water bottle into the bar. Some bars say it's illegal; others say I can keep it, but only if I let them fill it with their water. I can't find this in OLCC regulations. Can you clarify? I just want to stay hydrated.

—Drunk and Thirsty

Oh, Drunk; you scamp, you saucy rogue. I can't tell whether you're just yanking my chain or you genuinely have a faltering grasp on the obvious.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission isn't the only entity that can make bar rules—the bar also gets a say. There's nothing in OLCC regulations that says you can't write your name in the artichoke dip using your penis, for example, but most bars won't let you do it. (Many won't even let you do it using someone else's penis.)

You're not allowed to bring outside containers into the bar for the same reason you're not allowed to walk into Clarklewis, put your muddy feet up on the linen tablecloths, and ask the maitre d' to be a sport and heat up that microwave burrito you've been saving for just such an occasion: No one makes any money when you do such a thing.

I realize you've been giving me a song-and-dance about hydration, but I find it hard to believe you haven't noticed how much cheaper your night out could be if you could bring liquor from home. The bar assumes, probably correctly, that you're trying to sneak in cheap booze so you can suck up all their tony atmosphere without shaking loose any cash.

So cut the bar some slack. They're in business to sell drinks. It's not their job to provide you with a free place to hang out while you slurp $6 HRD vodka from your backpack—that's what the library is for.

QUESTIONS? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com