A Gentleman’s Guide to Bar Etiquette

In Food and Drink, Success

A polite society operates on ground rules that are passed down throughout history. It makes no difference if you pay $5 for a mug of beer or a whole $16 for an artisanal cocktail. Young, old, woman, man, in order for your server to manage the chaos, there must be rules followed by every person that enters the house of hooch. Every gentleman ordering a drink should keep his bar etiquette intact to ensure that everyone has a good time. Think of it:

1. The Bartender is not Your Servant:

Waving may seem like a nice way to get the bartender’s attention, right? Don’t be so sure, ask a bar manager at any given bar. At first blush, this is how you go about it. It’s loud in the bar but you don’t want to shout your pressing need over the crowd that you need more bourbon. Waving or worse snapping places the bartender in a portion of servitude. So, keep up your etiquette and do what should be done. It’s pretty damn easy, wait patiently; the bartenders know their job and will be with you as soon as possible.

All the same, shouting at the bartender ‘pal,’ ‘buddy,’ ‘honey’ or other lame names is not okay either. It should be noted that, even in cases where you know the bartender, you should not shout his or her name.


2. Keep it Classy:

You should know what drink you want to avoid wasting bartender’s and other patron’s time. As it’s bartender’s responsibility not to over-serve patrons, and believe it, they keep things in check. However, do not mistake them for a babysitter, they are there for you when you order a drink. Bars offer a significant challenge in the hospitality industry; they offer portions to patrons every night not just for them to enjoy a glass of cocktail or wine but to get drunk as well. Nevertheless, if that is your game plan, call a cab, designate a driver, or sleep underneath the bar… ha-ha just kidding unless you want a night in the drunk tank.

3. Don’t Complain about a Tab, unless you are Sure it is Wrong:

If you have drunk $200 worth of liquor, pay for it. Stop being stubborn that you always get lower pricing on closing tabs then you got. After all, were you getting free shots? Was the tab equal or less than what you drunk? If it’s equal then pay for it, dude.


4. Offer Tips and Be Appreciative:

There are different ideas that surround the world of tipping. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local custom and how much they give for a tip. If you plan to leave a tip, it is best to leave at least 10% of the total tab. Often leaving a small tip can be misunderstood as a slight against their service. If that is all that you can afford, let them know that you appreciated their service, and this is all that you can manage for now. Leaving only one penny for a tip is the greatest insult. It is meant as a statement of how poorly you believe your service was.

It is important to give a fair tip of 15-20% unless you want to be considered cheap. Your future service with that server can be effected if they know that you will provide no incentive for good service. Nevertheless, you may be saying, “that doesn’t make sense, they are paid to open and pour beer when I order a drink, and that’s all they do!” keep off the bad attitude, being a cheapskate at the bar isn’t going to get you friendly services or hook you up with some free shots. Their job can be quite a bit more demanding than you realize.

Final Words:

Drinks are not served after hours. So, don’t ask for more after the hours are over–not even “just one more, the last one” with a pouty face–it’s time to head home.

Above all, ensure that everyone has a safe ride home including yourself by not over-drinking. Touching your nose, lifting one leg up or even singing a song backwards does not mean you are a reliable driver. But all the same don’t sleep anywhere in the bar, it’s embarrassing. Make sure you have means to get back home beforehand.

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