Every good evening of bar hopping should ideally start at a mutual acquaintance's condo/apartment. You should avoid houses like the plague. Houses are safe havens for people who value their belongings and intended to settle into a domestic life as soon as possible. Stay away from those people, they're pretty but they're dead inside. The goal with pre-gaming should always be to reach the perfect level of euphoric inebriation. A state of drunken harmony, wherein the casual alcoholic is firing on all verbal cylinders. Drunk enough for Twister, not drunk enough to skinny dip.
Most people, realizing how expensive bar hopping is going to be, imbibe a fair amount more than they should far too early in the evening. This is a mistake. You know that girl you locked eyes with when you first joined the group? The one who started looking better and better as you knocked back those additional ill advised shots of Stoli? The one you decided you were definitely going to converse with once you were drunk enough? Guys like me will have her doubled over the bed while you're still doubled over outside, puking on your shoes. We showed up with our confidence. You had to drink yours.
Learn your limits, and adhere to them. It's not about how many drinks you can get down, it's about how many you can keep down. Remember junior, too much of a good thing can be a great thing, but we all have to start somewhere.