How to Get a Drink at a Busy Bar

by A Manly Guest Contributor on April 8, 2010 · 179 comments

in Manly Skills, Out on the Town

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from AoM’s resident bartender, Mike Hagan. Mr. Hagan has previously written on classic cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.

Drunk Fella: “Hey Chief! Chief!”

My co-worker: “If that guy calls me ‘Chief’ one more time, I’m cutting him off.”

As I write this, I’m sitting at my bar, just off of work on a Friday night. I feel sorry for my co-worker; I’m the one who got Drunk Fella that way.

“Chief!”

What Drunk Fella doesn’t know is that he is being ignored on purpose.

———-

When Mr. McKay asked me to write this article, I had to think about it for a couple weeks. I really had to talk to a lot of bartenders I know to find out what their process is for getting their customers drinks. Do they just start at one end of the bar and work their way down? Does a regular get served before someone they don’t know? Do friends take precedence? Or do they just serve the loudest guy first, in an effort to get him to shut his trap? After talking to a few co-workers and fellow bartenders, I think I’ve got it down to a few key concepts.

1. Always, always, tip.

An elephant never forgets. Neither does a bartender (or waiter, for that matter). If you don’t tip well, or at all, you are automatically on the bottom of the list. And don’t play games with your tipping, either. If you pay cash each round, tip with your change. Don’t pull it all back and then tip at the end of the night. Tipping is expected, no matter how much you think of it as “extra.” If you start a tab, tip when you pay at the end of the night, or when you get your rounds with whatever cash you happen to have. Either will do! Both!

Let’s be honest: if you don’t have money to tip, go to a liquor store, buy your favorites, and watch the game at home. If you don’t have money to tip, you don’t have money to go out in the first place.

Here’s a tip: tip big on the very first round. I have a customer that hands me a $20 bill after he’s paid for his first drink. I take care of him until he leaves. He often gets refills before he’s even done with his last one. I take care of him because he’s taken care of me already, and no matter how busy it is, I always have time for him.

And guys, your phone number is not a tip. Give my female bartenders out there a break.

2. Know what you’re going to order before you start yelling for service.

Hopefully, I’ve gotten there just as your group has approached the bar and I’ve asked you what you’d like to have. If you’re the one who ends up ordering for the group, I understand if you don’t know what everyone wants. That’s why I have no problem waiting for your order if I’ve approached you. But if it’s super busy and you’ve finally gotten me over to take your order, KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. There is nothing worse than hearing you call for service for a few minutes and when I get there, you don’t know what you are ordering. I can’t stress this enough. In the time it takes you to figure out what everyone is drinking, I could have filled two other orders. All that time spent yelling for service should be used for figuring out what your group wants.

Case in point: for some reason, I always end up being the “order guy” for my group. Last time, we had a new person with us and I didn’t know his drink, so I asked him BEFORE we got to the bar. When the bartender came over, I rattled it off to her, she quickly called my price, and I paid her. She took my money, ran to get the drinks, and brought them back with the correct change. The whole thing took 5 minutes. Because I tipped well, the next time, it took 2.

We understand that if we approach you, we’ve caught you off guard and you may not know who needs what. But if you’re yelling, waving your arms, slapping the bar, trying to get our attention, then we get there and you don’t know what you want, understand that we’re a bit unhappy.

3. Chief, Boss, Bro, Scout, Partner, Dude…

The list goes on. Don’t use them. For bartenders they’re the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Now, I know that not all bartenders will call you “sir.” But they should call you something respectable if they don’t know your name. My line is “Sir, can I get you a drink?” and when I deliver, “There you are, sir. My name is Mike if you need anything else.” I expect to be called by my name or sir, or if you’re impolite, I’ll answer to “bartender.” “Chief” especially chills my spine.

The key is not the names, but what they represent: respect. Like it or not, the bartender is in charge of the bar. You are in his territory. Waiters come to YOUR table, but you have entered the bartender’s area. Treat it, and him, with respect, and you’ll both have a good time.

4. Don’t stand at the server station.

If the bar has a station where servers come to pick up drinks, it’s a bad idea to try to stand there to get one. You’ll get mad because the bartender is there 50% of the time, yet he’s ignoring you, and he’ll ignore you because you’re not supposed to be there in the first place, so he’s hoping you’ll get the idea and move.

5. Be a regular.

Find a bar you like. Go there as often as you can. If they serve food and it’s good, eat there on a slow night. Talk to the bartender when he’s not busy. Get to know about him and let him know about you. Create a rapport. When he sees you on a busy night, he’ll make steps to make sure you’re having a good time and getting taken care of. Unless you’re the creepy jerk regular that only tips with phone numbers given to the waitresses!

My Method

I’m lucky because I’m tall. Not NBA tall, but tall enough. I find a hole in the bar chairs that allows me not to reach over someone’s back. I hold my money in my hand, elbow on the bar, hand in the air, facing the bartender. I look at them until they’ve made eye contact. Now they know I’m there. Now I can scan the bar for beautiful women, friends I didn’t know would be there, or check the score of the game. But I keep watching the bartender. When they come over, I rattle off my drink order, and repeat if necessary. Explain drinks if necessary. The money is still in my hand. I say thank you when they bring the drinks back to me. They take the money. I say thank you again when I get my change, and because I know what I’ve already planned on tipping, I give it straight to them, saying thanks for a third time. If I need a helper for my drink load, they’re already there with me, and I start handing drinks back. Then I make my way to the spot where my group is. They next guy who is paying for a round usually ends up just giving me the money and having me do it…or we all just sit there parched while he calls the bartender “Chief” a thousand times…

{ 179 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Ben Bowman April 11, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I’ll be damned if I am going to a bar where I have to beg to give them my money. A properly run club should have a wait staff ready with your next drink before you want it.

102 RVA Bartender April 11, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I work in a nice bar at a hotel. I have worked in other bars as well (college clubs, chain restaurants). I have been “in the weeds” plenty of times. I do my best everyday to make sure that the customers get served in a fair way. If I know smoking hot Jane got to the bar after dorky John, I still try to serve John first. There are always exceptions, for example, if Jane and John are two out of 20 people waiting for drinks, and Jane has her cash in hand and she only ever drinks Miller Lite, I am more likely to grab her Miller Lite quickly than wait for John to figure out what scotch and whiskey he wants in his one grandfather, that he is going to use one of the debit cards in his wallet to pay for. Tending bar at a _BUSY_ bar requires more skill than most people think. And the quick response of the bar staff is very important. At times I will have 10 to 20 orders to make, and all of them are in my head. I can not tell you how many times people ask me, “Are you going to remember all this?”. Yes I will, and I do, that is part of my job.

Now, to anyone who has posted a comment about how it is simply the bartenders job to service you and they are lucky if they get a tip from you, please tell me your name, send me a picture, because I will never serve you! I will assume some of these posters do not realize that most bartenders only make between $2.13 and $5.00 and hour. And most people do not realize that before you get to the bar and after you leave we are still there. I am required to open the bar and close the bar, which involves a lot of cleaning, heavy lifting, and generally annoying paperwork. I do not want to work for nearly nothing! $2.13 and hour does not pay my bills.

To Insure Prompt Service: The Reward V. Bribe discussion is an old one. But in reality for most bartenders, those tips are not reward or bribe, it is the money we use to pay rent/mortgage or pay for expensive grad school books! If you think the person serving you does not need a tip, you are wrong. I do not bartend because I love the smell of beer, I do it for the money and flexible hours.

Do not for any reason yell at a bartender! If we can not hear you because it is busy, we will ask you to speak up. I don’t terribly mind being called “bro”, as long as you are not shouting it from the other end of the bar, when I am clearly busy. We are human beings, show us the same respect you would like to be shown when you are working. I really doubt you would get far in a job where you shout orders at your co-workers, so please don’t do it to anyone. Shouting orders is generally a bad thing. Additionally, throwing anything at a bartend will get you kicked out of the bar immediately!

And lastly, just because we are bartenders, does not mean we are stupid. I do not care what you do for a living, and I sure as shit do not have time to come tell you how to do your job, so stop acting like you can do mine!

103 Zoe April 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I agree that tipping helps get drinks (and is kind, of course), however at the bars I’ve been to, by the time my change has been handed to me the bartender is no longer even looking at me, and I tip into a tip jar. How is this going to get me better service? The answer is it doesn’t. I feel like my tip is not even noticed, let alone appreciated. So why should I tip if it isn’t appreciated AND it doesn’t get me better service?

104 David April 12, 2010 at 1:05 am

I have to admit, I’m tall, always polite, I tip (really) well, keep eye contact and the whole nine yards, and still I get ignored for thirty minutes standing AT the bar and out of the waiter zone. I can’t tell you how bad that pisses me off.

I was a server for years, so I’m down with tipping, and tipping well… but so many bartenders seem like bastards! Maybe it’s just where I live, as my holiday in Ireland (and it’s pubs) was a wonderful experience. It’s a shame to me that ordering via computer hasn’t been setup in really busy bars so the bartenders can just make drinks instead of dealing with long winded jackasses. That’s my two cents anyway.

105 Gary T April 12, 2010 at 1:37 am

To the poster that addressed the whole gratuity premise -

We have definitely lost the concept of what a gratuity is, it is supposed to be a gift in return for appreciation of good service. No tip, should be a comment on how bad the service is, or a couple pennies lets the server know that you didn’t forget about the tip, just how bad you thought his/her service was.

Furthermore, a gratuity is supposed to be a transaction between the customer and the server directly, it should not involve or even be counted by the establishment; that payment should never be a formal calculus to justify lowering a waitstaff’s salary. I would object to even the micromanaging of tips for IRS purposes.

And finally, a mandatory gratuity? An oxymoron if I have ever heard one. It is actually a form of fraud, insofar that such a fee should be included in the price of the food or drink. That one really has to go.

106 Math April 12, 2010 at 2:38 am

I’m glad we don’t really do the whole ‘tipping’ thing in Australia. Makes things so much simpler.

107 john April 12, 2010 at 8:26 am

This piece reminds why I never go to bars anymore. First, I hate crowds. Second, I hate waiting for service. Third, I don’t like paying $5-$15 for a drink I can make at home with better liquor for $.50-.75. And I don’t have to wait to get served at home or be jostled and crowded by a bunch of mental defectives who who consider being jostled and crowded by other mental defectives to be a good time.

108 Vince April 12, 2010 at 9:32 am

The two most important things (hold your money in your hand and make eye contact) are left out of your Top 5, but are included in your summary at the bottom.

That doesn’t make any sense.

109 J April 12, 2010 at 10:09 am

As a former bartender, trust me….we know where the tip came from. A large tip on the first round will get you noticed, remembered and prompt service throughout the night no matter how crowded the house is. Being a regular also helps. Sticking to your guns and not changing up you drink selection throughout the night will get you a fresh one in your hand without asking for it.

110 gmiller April 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

How creepy. “Find a bar you like. Go there as often as you can. If they serve food and it’s good, eat there on a slow night. Talk to the bartender when he’s not busy. Get to know about him and let him know about you. Create a rapport.”

Don’t you have better things to do than get inebriated? Why is this a featured article on Rockwell, anyway, “Chief?”

111 Michael Maier April 12, 2010 at 11:47 am

Yeah, the whole “expected tip” idea is moronic. I’m with Steve Buscemi in Reservoir Dogs, “you don’t like getting paid low wages, get another job”.

And I sure as hell shouldn’t have to bribe a server for good service in advance. Folks that live in bars enough to be regulars are wastrels, and often idiotic drunk drivers.

112 Kyle April 12, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Good point Al #6, people waving money are tip-teasers.

If the bar is busy, do not order a drink with more than 2 ingredients, this is not the time to order the dirty gin Gibson straight up with a twist.

Try to pay with exact change plus tip and thank the bartender when you hand it to them, it saves them a trip, almost like a second tip.

113 Eric Allan April 12, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Years ago when I lived in Southern California, the guys I worked with and I would frequent a bar every day at 4:30 for happy hour while we waited for the evening traffic to die down. The place was always packed with UPS guys and telephone men. There was only one waitress to serve everybody and I would run a tab. When it was time to leave, I’d ask her for my tab and then walk up to the bar and pay her personally, always tipping her equal my bar tab and sometimes more, then I’d thank her for the service. I don’t care how busy that place was during happy hour, my drink would be on the table as the last one was finished. In fact, when she saw me coming across the parking lot, I’d have a drink sitting on the table before I sat down. The other guys with me were beer drinkers and would tip her 25 cents apiece after drinking pitcher after pitcher. They never understood how I got such good service while she ignored them until she wasn’t to busy. I tried to explain to them that tipping was the name of the game and they said they didn’t want to spoil “these people”. They never “got it” and as far as I know, they’re still sitting there waiting for a beer.

114 Baller/Hustler/C.E.O. April 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm

“But if it’s super busy and you’ve finally gotten me over to take your order, KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. There is nothing worse than hearing you call for service for a few minutes and when I get there, you don’t know what you are ordering”
……………………So true. I am a bartender/server and I cant think of anything i hate more..except maybe for……….
“Let’s be honest: if you don’t have money to tip, go to a liquor store, buy your favorites, and watch the game at home. If you don’t have money to tip, you don’t have money to go out in the first place.”

115 Andrew April 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I guess I’m one of the whiners. I’ve been a server at multiple restaurants, and the servers know we have to EARN our tips. I gave excellent service to every customer at my table, and always went above and beyond no matter how the customer looked. I got great tips from shabbily-dressed people, and awful tips from folks in suits.

The difference is MY attitude — give great service regardless of the customer, because that’s MY JOB.

The overall problem is the service industry. The bartenders complain b/c they work on a different minimum wage like the servers do — as a “tipped employee.” I forgot the part where someone forced you to become a bartender. That’s a known factor before taking the job, so you don’t get to complain about it. I agree the discrepancy should go away, because that’ll change your crappy attitude about customers. However, most places I worked the bartender made more than the servers, and the servers were REQUIRED to share part of their tips with the bar (regardless of how much alcohol you actually served).

So F-you bartenders — you make more than enough money to “pay the bills” compared to the folks serving the food. You stand in one place and walk back and forth serving glasses of liquid, while the servers hustle back and forth from the kitchen to the table with multiple courses, filling beverages and traveling to the bar to get drinks from you (which the server takes the flack for when you don’t get it done fast enough).

Sure…I *understand* the point of the author, but I don’t respect it. I don’t respect people who are willing to sell their integrity for a couple bucks. If I give you $20 at the beginning of the night, and that changes your behavior, then you’ve sold yourself to me. Any man with self-worth would provide outstanding service to every customer in the bar, to the maximum extent possible, at all times, no matter how much he gets tipped. Every customer is your #1 priority. Anything less is unacceptable.

116 Fred April 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm

You can follow this article up with one on how to get bartenders to stop ripping off your establishment. Ie, giving away drinks to their friends, not ringing up drinks, and so on.

117 Johnny D April 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Bartenders who ignore any customer on purpose should be fired by their management. Let’s get real here: you are an employee of the bar. If you ignore customers and they go elsewhere, you’ve lost business for the bar, therefore you’ve become a liability, concerned more for your personal self-interest than the bar owner, therefore you’re fired. Try getting tips while you’re washing car windows on the street corner…

118 Peter Parker April 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I agree, tip well on the first round and be nice. If I am sitting at the bar, and it’s busy and bustling, loud and crazy, I place my money in front of me on the bar. As you said, nothing happens on that bar that the bartender does not see or hear. When asked, I place my order clearly without hesitation. When I am out, I simply place my glass off the napkin on the bartender side. When that glass is off the napkin, and empty, he knows about it and fills it when time permits. The money stays on the bar ahead of the napkin and is never moved. He knows it’s mine and takes. When I have had enough I follow the same procedure, but, stand up. He then knows the remaining money on the bar is his. Eye contact is made, I nod and hit the road. Never had any problems having a good time. This procedure has worked for me from coast to coast.

119 FingerSoup April 13, 2010 at 12:14 am

@ Gary T:
I take my tips seriously. Someone has to REALLY insult me to get a “bad tip” such as the 2 pennies thing… I have only done it twice in my life.

Further, I am a relatively good tipper… I round to the easiest calculatable amount (usually to a $10 mark), and I opt to round up when calculating my tips. I take 15% and if the service was remarkably good, I will add a couple bucks more. All this assuming an end of the night tip…

On the other hand, if it’s a busy bar, I tip big at the beginning. It never hurts to be memorable. Most bars I frequent have a tip jar, where you can drop the change. It’s typically a tall carafe with a narrow neck so nobody can stick their had in it. after the big tip, I drop some or all of my change in it (Depending on the cost of drinks, complexity of the order, amount of change, etc…). As long as the bartender hears the chink of the change in the tip jar, then he knows you’re still tipping. A “Thanks” comes more often than not.

Lets face it…. I’m not saying tip $20 every round, or even 15% every round… But a memorable, positive moment, followed by routine acts of kindness regardless of how much goes in the jar, will make the bartender feel like you appreciate his work, and gives incentive for him to keep serving you.

As for ignoring people, Bartenders have every right to work in a harassment-free environment as the rest of us. If people came to your job, and started shouting “Yo! Hey! Chief! OVER HERE!!!” in the middle of a board meeting, you would feel harassed. You would probably also not acknowledge such a rude individual, much like a bartender. It’s like heckling a comedian… It NEVER adds to the show.

If you are terrible with names like I am, then a “Thank you Sir!” with a raise of a glass in appreciation, after receiving your drinks makes an impact. Don’t give your bartender a pet name, give him respect.

And just because a guy has a low paying job that makes him rely on tips, doesn’t make him less of a person… It doesn’t give you permission to give him a hard time. Treat him like a human being. People who treat service staff like dirt, are the ones who JUSTIFY tipping… They make bartenders feel under-appreciated, and the only motivation is cash outside what their salary dictates.

120 Hank Fox April 14, 2010 at 1:32 am

OldSchoolBartender said “If you cannot afford to tip, stay at home.”

I work with customers all the time, myself, and while I’ll admit that I’m not absolutely thrilled with every one of them, I never let my feelings get in the way of good service, the best I can manage.

So screw you, buddy. If this is your attitude, you don’t need to be in a SERVICE business.

121 Harold April 14, 2010 at 3:16 am

Can we all stop this tipping foolishness! Tipping is invented for customers to show our gratitude for the labourer’s additional effort. Not for them doing what they were employed for, a bartender’s job is to serve the customer his drinks! And the compensation for their service should be in his salary; if his wage is to stumpy then maybe he should complain to his manager (which is the one your tipping, since the tips you give allows the manager to lesser the bartenders salary), or if you’re so unhappy about your salary then go out and find a better suited job!.
This new tipping trend is becoming more and more foolish as it is forcing the consumer to pay more than they actually price and creates allot of hassle and unexpected behaviour from people being neglected of what they were expecting, ex; tip for the bartender or a good service for the consumer.
But if the bartender does something extra for you such as being very friendly and you feel that he has gone out of his job to perform this then he is entitled to a tip. Such as my very friendly cab driver.

122 Big J April 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I thought this was a site that teaches boys to be men. From the responses that some of you haters are putting, it doesn’t seem to be working.

Saying that you shouldn’t pay extra for better service is like me saying my employees that bust their butts and go above and beyond shouldn’t get a bigger bonus than my employees that just “do their job”. Out here in the grown up world mediocre is free, but “great” costs you and if you don’t want to act like a gentleman, then don’t expect to be treated like one and sure as hell don’t get miffed if you get treated like a boy.

On second thought, never mind, its okay, don’t change your stance on tipping bartenders, or your over all attitude, I love guys like you. Because next time you’re at a bar waiting for your first drink, standing around complaining about not getting the service you think you are entitled to. I will be getting my second drink and keeping your bored date company.

123 Cybrludite April 14, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I have to say that I’ve not seen such a collection of cads and boors in a long while. Kick in your 15-20% and quit whinging like spoiled little punks. I half expect to find some of you kvetching about having to give up your seat on the bus to a senior citizen or letting your lady get most of the benefit from your umbrella in the rain. Perhaps the lot of you whiners can go find a site called “The Art Of Being Bratty Man-Children” to cater to your outlook.

124 Carlos April 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I was a semi-regular at a bar in California and tipped nicely but not excessively. Treated the bartender respectfully and chatted occasionally. I moved back to Texas and after a year and a half went to Ca. to visit my sister. During this visit I went back to this bar and before I found an open stool the bartender said, “Carlos! Budweiser right?” Good tips and respect to a decent bartender goes a long way.

125 John April 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Living in Milwaukee – A city that DRINKS – I have to say that these are all great ideas. The best combination, though, is to be a regular that tips. If you don’t have the money to tip well, though.

There is another way to get service faster, though, and make a great impression on bartenders and cocktail waitresses. If you’re heading to a bar and see some clearly empty / foresaken drinks, pick them up and return them to the bar (not off of occupied tables, though). Showing up with a stack of glasses or bottles can make a bartender’s day, especially if glasses are running low.

126 Drink Spirits April 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Best way to become a regular is to start going to that busy bar on Tuesday nights, it’ll pay dividends on those buys nights.

See: http://www.drinkspirits.com/bar-life/10-reasons-to-drink-at-a-bar-on-tuesday-nights/

127 Francisco Escalante April 16, 2010 at 10:52 am

classic . word up for being tall

128 BonzoGal April 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Big J and Cybrludite, you’re the kind of gentlemen with whom I’d enjoy having a drink. Bravo!

129 R April 17, 2010 at 5:59 am

Worth saying (as many American get this wrong) – in England you should never tip a bartender. I know it’s considered normal in America, but to leave money at the bar is extremely odd over here. The only exception is when you’ve received a personal service, such as reserving a table of area of a bar or pub, and one staff member has looked after you all evening.

R

130 Tristan April 18, 2010 at 9:46 pm

“Saying that you shouldn’t pay extra for better service is like me saying my employees that bust their butts and go above and beyond shouldn’t get a bigger bonus than my employees that just “do their job”. Out here in the grown up world mediocre is free, but “great” costs you”

Literally no one has said they won’t tip for good service. The complaint is that they have to pay extra to get ANY service. Your “example” proves the exact opposite of your intended point, as the way tipping tends to work is bartenders get a lot in TIPS for just doing their job, and the people who actually do go above and beyond and give great service? Yeah, they get tipped too. The people who do well should get more for their hard work; the people who don’t, shouldn’t.

Now, I’m a pragmatist. I know in the real world if the bar is busy I have to dish out a little extra to get quick service. But right now I’m not in a bar. I’m on a website, and you get my honest opinion on how things SHOULD be. And how things should be is you get paid to do your job, you get tipped to do it well.

131 Derick April 19, 2010 at 12:43 am

That writer’s tone of entitlement is grating. You’re a bartender not some fawned after mob boss. Pro tip: if you want the respect and sense of self importance you’re obviously hard for, get a real job.

132 CraigB April 19, 2010 at 7:32 pm

BYO
A flask of good vodka mixed with whatever you like.

133 Dave April 20, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Clearly the Apple guy who lost his next generation i-phone clearly must have violated Rule 1. I’ve left things at my regular bars many times and the bartenders have always held on to my things.

134 Dannyboy April 21, 2010 at 7:04 am

Having worked as both a Waiter and Bartender, the key difference as I see it is that the waiter creates nothing (he serves what others have created) whereas the bartender (for the most part) creates something from nothing. Was that draught I pulled you served promptly, with minimum spillage and with the correct amount of head? Was that labour-intensive round of cocktails you keep ordering every time at the bar beautifully crafted and excellent tasting? If it was and if you appreciated it, then feel free to give me a financial token of your gratitude. I’ll remember it, and you.

@ Derick – if we are talking about a bustling, crowded bar, the bottom line is this…A bartender can do what the hell he/she likes, serve whoever he/she likes, not serve, pick and choose between customers. And so on. If there is an air of entitlement to the article (I didn’t read it that way), then it maybe because the bartender is absolutely entitled do do whatever he/she wants, to serve customers at their discriminatory whim.
This one of the few service jobs where the customer has absolutely no control of the situation. Whether you like it or not, the barman has ALL the power and the patron none. All the patron can do is to try and work the situation in their favour – this is where the recommendations that the article suggests come into play. That was all Mike was saying, but feel free to go on your own way ordering a round in whatever way you fell appropriate. Not being in control is an emasculating experience, having to rely on others when you wish to rely on yourself, inwardly uncomfortable. So work that situation in any way you can to win back the control. That is the tone of the article as I see it. You may get a barman you is indiscriminate, open, friendly and chatty – that’s great, you’ve lucked out. Conversely, you may get a guy who is a dick, or a guy who has been working all night long on his feet, and may not be in the mood for any goodwill on his part – bad luck, never mind, buy your drink and get out of there and worry no more about it. If giving a barman a £20 note is your way of controlling the situation, then that’s your way of doing it, if you have another way of controlling the situation, even better (for you, obviously).

And I have worked in bars and restaurants in Australia and around Europe, and for those that don’t tip there, because they think there isn’t a tipping culture, let me assure you, there is, you just didn’t realise.

I don’t expect any tips from anybody, ever. I serve the best I can (a high standard) to everybody. If you’re a dick though (in whatever form that may be), chances are my mind will wander from my work, because I don’t care as much about you, thus my usually high standards of bar service may slip a little. But that is just me.

And finally for those of you who say ‘get a real job’ or words to that affect, I say this – Many of us are working in bars along side studying, freelance work, raising kids, doing work experience etc etc. I myself am working toward a career as a film director and I need to bartend pay for everything else, until I luck out with films. At which point, I’ll go round the other side of the bar, and buy the whole place a round on me.

135 This is ridiculous April 21, 2010 at 6:36 pm

@ Dannyboy, and anyone else that agrees with this quote:
“Was that labour-intensive round of cocktails you keep ordering every time at the bar beautifully crafted and excellent tasting? If it was and if you appreciated it, then feel free to give me a financial token of your gratitude.”

What the heck is a labour-intensive round of cocktails? I’ve never seen a bartender busting a sweat. Seriously? Give me a break.

And I do provide a financial token of gratitude — I’M PAYING YOU FOR THE DRINK! The bar is already charging 2-4 times more than the cost of the ingredients.

Apply this attitude to ANY other environment and it wouldn’t make sense. The neighbor kid does a great job cutting your grass? Pay him what he’s charging; if he wanted more, he should have charged more. If he does a crappy job the next time, then he gets a warning that the prior week is what you expect for the money, and if he doesn’t provide that level of service next week, and every week thereafter, he’s fired.

@ Big J and others who agree with him, in regards to:
“Saying that you shouldn’t pay extra for better service is like me saying my employees that bust their butts and go above and beyond shouldn’t get a bigger bonus than my employees that just “do their job”.”
This is just another example of American entitlement working its way into all areas. NO, your employees shouldn’t get a bonus for going “above and beyond,” because that’s the STANDARD you should set. Anyone who doesn’t care, or lays around doing the minimum, gets FIRED. So high-performance IS the minimum required for the job, vs. the exception that gets rewarded. If you want to incentivize performance, then do it through methods like commission or the like, not through tips or a bonus for doing what they should be doing anyways.

BTW – a commission is NOT the same thing as a tip.

@ Cyberludite: “I have to say that I’ve not seen such a collection of cads and boors in a long while. Kick in your 15-20% and quit whinging like spoiled little punks.” I prefer to reword your sentence and spit it back at you: “DO THE JOB YOU’RE HIRED TO DO and stop whining like spoiled little punks.”

@ Harold: Right on, brother. Right on.

136 Scott April 21, 2010 at 11:22 pm

I have previous bar experience within the UK and I can tell you some of these points are good (especially the ones about not shouting “chief” etc). However to the point is that there is always some form of system in place to serving whether its a small pub, bar at a restaurant or a busy middle of town bar.

In all cases it is first come, first served and sometimes the bar man’s eye may be wrong but for this is the central idea. Busier bars/pubs/clubs implement a slightly different system which is to serve from 1 side of your area to the end and then start over, just going from right to left along the bar. This is especially used when a bar is going 2 deep or higher. So regardless of any tip, it wont work.

You’re best bet for getting served is to be patient and actually remain focused on the server and look pleasant. A little psychology on the idea that you are waiting patiently and are easy to approach in comparison to the pissed off looking guy just next to you. This will sometimes get you 1-2 people ahead in a queue.

This is all based of personal experience of being on both sides of the bar.

137 Tony April 22, 2010 at 12:57 am

$20 tip for a first drink? Then what, the standard $1-2? Awkward. I frequent a couple bars and have gotten to know the bartenders and owners well. During downtime I’ll strike up a conversation, and sometimes buy the bartender drinks. Even if it gets busy, they’ll always find me.

I’d rather leave a 25-35% tip for a bartender that knows me well, without having to beg for his service, than a $20 tip to some random guy at the new hotspot club.

138 economist April 22, 2010 at 2:02 am

Some solid points in the article.

What the anti-tippers don’t understand is that on a busy night, the value of the bartender’s time fluctuates like crazy. Yes, on Sunday nights at the local $4 pitchers of bad draft establishment where one person takes up a barstool the whole night, your theory of “do your job” might apply.

At midnight on Saturday at the best bar in the city, where the place is slammed balls to the wall, you are no longer just rewarding level of service or building rapport; you are participating in an auction! The price you pay is measured in money + time, and you are going to have to bid up with one or the other. Yes, the bartender should (and often does) take pride in serving everyone quickly and accurately, but it makes all the sense in the world that you can jump the queue by bidding up. You came to ebay, there is no sense complaining if you can’t hang with the other bidders.

If you own the bar, this is your employees doing right by you as well. It is very important that two groups of people get served as quickly and as many times as possible: 1. Your loyal regulars who come in and keep the lights on on the slow nights, 2. The “ballers” who are in the mood to spend like the California legislature. If a first timer doesn’t like it, hey, there are 200 people in line who would rather be waiting at the bar than outside.

Yes, sometimes the “we have it rough” routine is overdone by the bartenders, but at bar number one, your bartender is no charity case. Yes, some busy bars are overstaffed with mediocrities who can stop to text their ex-boyfriends no matter how busy it is; but in the busiest small-staff, big-crowd establishments, you will find the elite athletes of the bartending trade. Even here you will see quite a bit of variation, it can take years for an employee to earn the most critical shifts and service wells.

The best of the best are zero-bullshit, lazer-focused on cranking volume as quickly and accurately as possible. They can take multiple-drink orders from five customers at once, and compute the most time-efficient way to deliver the whole combination of beers and mixers, while seamlessly processing the monetary part of the transactions. The best I have seen are absolutely jaw-dropping. Their limbs move on fast-forward as if controlled by computer, and they tear through the supplies like Patton’s army on its way to the Seine. (But not because they are wasting an ice cube).

139 George April 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

For prompt service, nothing beats having “regular” status. Seeing a familiar face (with a good reputation for being a decent tipper) is more effective than anything else. But if you’re new to them, follow this article and you’ll be ahead of the crowd. It doesn’t hurt to have females around you as well….haha.

140 T April 23, 2010 at 1:54 am

Ok if servers and bartenders were paid a decent wage $10-$15 per hour tips would truly be a tip, a thank you on a job well done but your $3.00 beer at that bar with all the hot ladies dancing would now cost you $7.00 to cover their wage. That $6.00 hamburger would cost you $15.00. I personally start at one end of the bar and work my way down to the other. If a regular walks in they get service faster for two reasons 1. I already know what they want 2. They are the ones sitting at the bar on the slow nights keeping the place in business and open on Mondays. If you tip bad you will get passed over for someone who tips good most likely unless your super nice. A dollar tip per drink is easier to figure out then 20% of $4.00. If your drinking super cheap beer throw a couple bucks for the first then a dollar every other.
The system is flawed and can be confusing. Just think about it if you were
making $2.66-$5.50 an hour who would you spend your time on the $20 guy or the $2 guy? What relationship would you cultivate? That’s business.

141 sg April 23, 2010 at 6:36 am

“Waiters come to YOUR table, but you have entered the bartender’s area.”

Wow, ego much? Hey chief, you are not the king of the bar. You are just a combination waiter & cook (who the management has seen fit not to allow near the fire). We are paying customers, and you and the rest of the waiters are there to serve us. The bar is no more yours than the tables are the waiters’.

That said, I agree with most of your points – that there is no reason to be discourteous to the wait staff (including bartenders) and that appropriate tipping is required.

142 dreday April 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm

OK first things first: DO.NOT.WAIVE.MONEY.AT.THE.BARTENDER. It’s disrespectful beyond belief. They are not cheap whores that can be lured with money. And if you call a bartender anything other than “sir”, “miss”, or “ma’am” you had better know them outside of work. If not, have some manners and decency. The quality of service you receive depends on your demeanor. If you seem like a dick, guess what? You’re gettin’ crappy service. That goes for the ladies too. RDG’s (really drunk girls) get crappy service, same as guys do. As for your height, its a non-issue. I, myself, stand at a modest 5’8 and I get served before basketball players on a regular basis. Like I said before, it’s all in your demeanor. Great posture, consistent but not creepy eye contact, and a little confidence and you’ll get your booze and a tad bit of respect in no time flat. In short, behave like a well-bred Man and you’ll have no problem.

Oh, and on the topic of tipping: If you have to even think about what caliber of tip to leave, then leave the bar. Tipping is a basic skill one should pick up early in one’s social drinking career. If you haven’t mastered it by your mid-20′s then go home.

And that’s that.

143 Joe Murphy April 26, 2010 at 9:10 am

A tip that works. At least in the UK.

When the bartender asks who’s next, point to someone beside you. They’ll serve you right after.

144 George April 26, 2010 at 11:27 am

In response to dreday’s post:

Just some food for thought for everyone…

If waving money at the bar is disrespectul because it invokes the “cheap whore being lured with money” situation, is excessive tipping also disrespectful along the same lines? If not, why?

145 dreday April 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

George,

First and foremost, tipping is how you show your gratitude for speedy and polite service. its how you, a perfect stranger, can say “thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I realize you could’ve done it slower and with less efficiency. But you didn’t. And i’m grateful for that.” its not like tipping a whore, where your only real incentive for tipping her (or him) is to ensure some sort of extra effort on their part the next time you hire them. Bartenders are not servants, slaves or prostitutes. They’re working-class folks who desire the same amount of respect as any other employee of any other business of any economic stratus.

Now when it comes to excessive tipping, that’s for guys with…less than impressive equipment. I think that’s a good way to put it. Take into account where you are and how long you’re going to be there, how much you have to spend, what kind of service you got and whatever you believe the standard tipping rate is.

146 Kevin Pecoraro April 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I think the best bet is to become a regular and get to know your bartender. During my college years a frequented to places most often, both sports bars. One was more of a restaurant, one was a dive. I used to go to the restaurant in between classes, just to get a cheap sandwich and a beer before my next class. I began to notice that my hours usually coincided with a certain bartender. One day, we starting talking and then we both knew each others name and what not. It also helped that said restaurant was catering a golf tourny that I participated and she was one of the beer maidens going around the course. Since I was a familiar face, she made sure to come by frequently just to have someone to talk to. She basically talked to me one on one from the time I was sober until I was drunk. You can reveal a lot during that stretch. That kind of set the standard for our “relationship” today and she always takes care of me busy or not. I return the favor monetarily.
My other dive is your standard story of, “if you go often enough, they’ll know you’re coming.” I no longer have to give my card as collateral and I’m pretty sure they have a button on their computer to open the tab for when I come in. That’s one of my better achievements through out school.

147 Men's t-shirts April 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Always tipping is a dead cert. Or simply just building a rapport with the barman.

148 Boro-Boxer April 27, 2010 at 11:43 am

I find this whole post incredibly annoying and agree with many of the posters following.

If a patron of the bar feels that he should tip you for good service, then he may feel free to do so.
It is not an obligation and I find it ridiculous that in the US you specify and amount that should be tipped.
If the bartender that wrote this article served me I’m sure he would ignore me for not tipping enough, and I would rightfully complain to the management who should sack him for not fulfilling his duties.

If bar-tending is so poorly paid that you need to supplement your income with tips, I guess it’s time to go back to school or college and try to study for a real job.

149 Sampson April 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm

OK, on the tipping matter, yes i tip for a job well done… but to expect gratuity before the job has been performed is just insanity… gratuity = to show gratitude.. i’m not grateful you just showed up and took my order.. i’m grateful you brought it to me in a timely manner… here is your tip. to say that bartenders have a hard job and don’t get paid enough is crap… you know your roll, you chose that job… teachers don’t get paid enough but you don’t tip them for teaching you kid to read… construction workers don’t get paid enough… and you only tip them if they do an EXCEPTIONAL job… sure the bartender is people too.. but so are the customers so treat them like they are people and not like they are lucky to be at your bar…

150 Normal Guy April 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

@dreday In response to “its not like tipping a whore, where your only real incentive for tipping her (or him) is to ensure some sort of extra effort on their part the next time you hire them.”

Umm…reread the comments. That’s EXACTLY what the pro-American pro-tipping model people are saying. The bartenders say (paraphrase), “I take better care of the people who provide me with more/bigger tips.” Sounds like I’m purchasing “some sort of effort on their part the next time [I] hire them” (i.e. approach the bar).

Thanks for a good summary — bartenders who dictate their level of service by the level of tips (or bribes, depending on the amount), are simply whores collecting their money. Brilliant way to put it, even though that was obviously not your intention.

151 Jay April 30, 2010 at 3:10 am

Great article. I have to laugh a little at all the negative comments. People can complain all they want about the high cost of tipping or how a bartender should somehow be above being ‘bribed’ in order to get better service. The title of the artice is “How to Get a Drink at a Busy Bar” and not, “Wouldn’t it be great if being in a bar was like being in a grocery store”. The article gives useful tactics for getting good service in a busy bar in a timely matter and explains why they work. If these principles are not agreeable to you, I suggest visiting the bar when it isn’t quite as crowded.

152 Jack May 1, 2010 at 6:34 am

Here’s another tip: if you’re in a hometown bar, visit it when it isn’t busy and get to know the owner and bartenders. You don’t need to drink, just test the waters and find out if that’s a place you want to patronize. Also, remember that a small neighborhood bar works differently than a crowded night club. The small bar is more personal and intimate. Get to know the people who work and patronize there, on a first name basis, and it’ll pay dividends.

As a bartender myself, I fully concur with the name issue and the politeness issue. Respect begets respect. If you treat me like a piece of crap, the best that can happen is poor service; the worse is that I will kick your sad ass out of the bar.

On tipping – the best tip I get is being treated with dignity and courtesy. That does wonders for the morale of any bartender. Remember: when papa isn’t happy – nobody’s happy. Otherwise, tip when you can afford to tip.

I could go on forever. Having been a bartender for twelve years, I’ve seen and/or heard it all…

Jack

153 Stevo May 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Tipping = the worst idea ever. I hate how bartenders expect to get tipped cause they opened a beer, its your job , get over it. The employer should decide what you get paid, not the customer.

154 Hannes saying thinks like OldSchoolBartender May 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm

“Having worked at a hospital for 2 years, the author is correct.

This article is about a BUSY ward or emergency room, which apparently a lot of people are not understanding. If this is your drug store on Wednesday night, it’s a different situation. Imagine a busy emergency room in Mexico City, Baghdad, or Wisconsin.

As a doctor, when I am out at a busy emergency room, I have always used the author’s method of getting my first treatment, and service thereafter. Hold a $20 in the hand, elbow on the operation table. Don’t wave, snap, or whistle. Order my shots, hand over the bill, say “Thank you, keep the change.” My service is superb for the rest of my evening.

If you cannot afford to tip, stay at home. People that don’t tip, or tip with coins, will wait an extraordinarily long amount of time for their second treatment. Where are you people trying to get your splints for your broken bones that you tip $1 a therapy? Hell, a vaccination will cost $7-$15 alone.”

As a med student I think I think I got your point. Thank you

155 Danny May 9, 2010 at 3:59 pm

This works if the bar staff is even attentive with those other than the ‘regular crowd’ that walks into the place. Just yesterday I had to literally shout at the bartender to acknolwedge that I was even in the place. It wasn’t like i was invisible and I’m not that short. I did notice he was hanging out with a group of patrons who appeared to be his buds or whatever. The place wasn’t that busy either. Not to mention the stereotypical ‘busy bartender/barback’ who won’t even look your way when you say ‘excuse me’ and/or wave in their direction-real fvcking irritating is what it is. That is unless you’re Joe Blow local celebrity of some sort………
It’s as if these establishments and employees think they have the best thing in town-think again my friend. And forget about a tip-you just blew your chance for that!

No wonder, I stay at home more often. A lot of these don’t know jack sh1t about customer service anymore and that’s sad……..

156 Adam May 9, 2010 at 7:56 pm

As an American living in the UK, I much prefer the bars over here, and not just because I don’t have to tip. Why on earth should I have to pay someone elses wages just so I can get a drink? I work at a shop that sells heavy antique furniture, and nobody tips me because I load a Georgian chest of drawers into their car, and they shouldn’t be expected to. That’s why my boss pays me. It’s part of the service of being a salesman.

I tip my barber because he does a good job. Its a skill to cut hair. I tip my waitress because she serves me my food. Its absurd to tip someone because they took the cap off my bottle of beer or dumped some orange juice in with a shot of vodka. Silliness.

But then again, I have bigger issues with the US. Vacation time (even at GAP you get 5 1/2 weeks PAID holiday time over here), sick pay, health insurance, doing your own taxes, public transport, cost of college education (and steep loan repayments)…. I wont go on as I’d be here all night!

157 Lenni June 10, 2010 at 1:48 am

Wow guys that was so cool.

158 Mavendetout June 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Crowded bar?
Don’t bother.
NO drink is worth the nonsense bartenders always put you through under those circumstances. And they do, their self-pronounced ‘professionalism’ notwithstanding, and I have a great respect for the profession, believe md. IF done correctly.
Would that barkeeps were as rational as the author posits.
‘twould be a wonderful world.

159 Myky D June 30, 2010 at 8:55 am

“Boss, Chief” etc.

Bollocks. That’s just being friendly and if you’re that up yourself about RESPECT that you find it offensive then it may go some way towards explaining why you’re doing the serving as opposed to being served.

However, I agree with the girl who was whistled at and called Toots, and would add that if ever anyone waved their money at me when I was serving behind the bar it would guarantee them not getting served all evening.

Tips such as “be a regular” and mentioning how one is taller than most is not really practical advice for being served at a busy bar, though.

160 Ed July 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

I don’t know what the problem is with getting served. I look for a space, make eye contact, (seems to be a consensus). Eye contact is a big deal, so is a firm handshake. I always assert myself and always tip well. Oh I’m 6’4″ 250 so that helps!

161 Ed July 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I noticed another thing on this board. It seems that our european friends have all kinds of qualifiers on tipping. I guess its viewed as an American thing because we don’t pay our help. Well I found that if you tip well you get good service, period. Even in Europe I tip. Sometimes the bartender will say they can’t accept it, but the service is better for trying.

162 Ben July 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Thanks for the advice, good stuff Chief! ;)

163 Harrison Bergeron October 27, 2012 at 10:40 am

LOL, excellent article. I’m a chef at a bar & grill, and I’m sharing this with every bartender I know…

164 Srinivas Kari March 31, 2013 at 11:31 am

All this seems fine in USA. In India, there is NO tipping culture. In fact, guests who look good and dress up are often the ones who get the most attention from the bartender. The people who look bad and are not dressed up are judged and treated “differently”.

165 Shane April 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

I’m amazed at the number of people on this site about being a gentleman who basically say they don’t think they should have to tip. You’re right, you don’t have to tip. You also don’t have to hold the door for a lady or treat her with respect, but a gentleman does those things without question because it’s the right thing to do.

To me, this same thing applies to tipping. That person makes below minimum wage because their employers know they get tips. Their performance of their job is essentially a “pay for performance” model – it’s up to their customers to determine what they should be making. If you don’t tip them, they’re making below minimum wage. I tend to think of it like this – I’m paying the menu price for the food or drink ordered. I’m paying the waiter/bartender for the service they’re providing, which is generally responsiveness and attentiveness. If they give me no service or terrible service, I have the right to not tip – I’ve done that once in my life. If they give me exceptional service, I may tip them 50%. I generally consider a tip for a positive dining/drinking experience to be 20%. I frequently go above that for service beyond what’s expected, and rarely do I drop below 15%.

If you don’t believe waiters and waitresses deserve a tip, that’s your option. I think you have no business being on this site, and you ought to hang your head in shame. There’s nothing wrong with being smart and conservative with your money, but nobody likes a tightwad.

166 Matthew Cole April 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Tipping is a qualifier, not a differentiator… If you plan to order more than one drink at a busy bar, tipping is a must. Unless the tip is huge, there is not guarantee of better service. Seriously, if you don’t want to tip, take the party to the house.

Being “a regular” is actually good advice. If you go out more than once in a blue moon, it would be helpful to only patronize a couple places that you enjoy. Even if you only stop in for one drink after work or before dinner – the rapport that you build will make you look like a hero if you can get the bartender to respond to you and your friends before anyone else.

167 Kevin April 10, 2013 at 3:11 am

The first step to getting a drink at a busy bar is getting to the busy bar in the first place. I can’t stand those who squeeze and jockey to get up to the bar rather than being patient and observant of others. Stepping respectfully out of the way of someone leaving the bar after ordering their drinks rather than squirming and circling like a vulture to get their spot is appropriate.

168 James April 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm

“Every customer is your #1 priority.”
Some people evidently do not understand how priority works…

It seems from the comments that people who work/ have worked in service agree with the article, and most of the rest don’t.

To the latter I say this; your bartender/waiter does not exist to serve you, and when you walk into a bar for the first time they don’t care about you.
Make them care, by showing you care about them.

169 J.J. Vicars April 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm

“the bartender is in charge of the bar. You are in his territory.” And the paying customer is there for the bartender’s convenience??? Give me that attitude and I take my business elsewhere.

170 B April 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

1st. I bet people that don’t tip wonder why they have to wait longer at a crowded bar.
2nd. Most of the time as a bartender and have 3 rules when its busy. 1 Have your money ready 2. Know your order 3. Tip. Any 1 person must follow 2 out of the 3 rules to get a cocktail when the bar is full. Your tip doesnt mean that much to me if I can get you and your order out of the way in less then 30 seconds.

171 The Man From Nantucket June 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

My favourite “scam” was to catch a server near the server station, and have her place my order.

I tipped big on the first one or two. Win-win for both of us – she gets extra money without investing hardly any more time. I get my drinks faster than the morons crowding around the bar.

Never had a problem loading my table up and keeping it full.

172 J. Doe July 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Many people state that tipping is an option. They are certainly right. But so is the staff putting you at the bottom of the list. When someone thinks that they shouldn’t have to tip, I secretly wonder how their outlook would change if they started working for a low wage plus tips at their job. Besides, tipping only helps you. General service improves, and charges may even disappear every now and then. If you cant afford to leave a good tip, you cannot afford to go out.

173 Jonny B. November 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I get to know the bartenders, and get known for liking a certain drink, a certain way. Then when they see me walk in, they always have my first drink waiting. And it’s generally not difficult catching their attention thereafter.

I also usually make three drinks my limit. And tip for the night on the second drink. That way if I decide to leave before the third drink, they still get tipped, and handsomely.

174 Pavel March 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm

I never leave a tip and never wait or ask for some sort of “special approach”. I just don’t like this culture, for me – familiar and unprofessional, so why should i follow it? I don’t blame those who leave a tip or those, who take it, they do whatever they want. But people who say “if you’re in a bar/cafe/restaurant, leaving a tip is a rule” trying to teach me just drive me crazy

175 Fran March 18, 2014 at 8:13 am

I’ve already worked in a bar and the shifts are long. We have to smile and entertain everyone. Its really boring repeating the same garbage every day to new faces.

Humour and being courteous works like a charm. What always works for me is crazy things like just holding my money up and screaming, “I’m super thirsty, HELP me”. We all get a laugh and they serve me first.

Or I just stand their smelling and kissing my money. When clowning around is done and I have my drink, I say thank you and tip well. The bartender/barmaid always remembers me and serves me fast.

176 Felipe April 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

If I’m allowed to share my ‘technique’, I always stare the nearest bartender in the eyes, even if he’s not. They often don’t take much time to stare back & when they did, I say “good night” to catch his attention. Most of the times I did that, I became the next in line.

177 Mihai April 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm

“Tipping is expected” – welcome to America.

178 Zach April 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm

@Zoe, that might be for bars that pay an actual wage but most bars probably don’t, so don’t judge your exception against the rule. It might even just be that the particular servers you had didn’t care, who knows. Better to respect them and their job first; if you then find the service to be poor afterwards, then try to find a different server.

179 Stig April 8, 2014 at 3:05 am

Ordering one thing at a time on the same transaction are high up on my list of annoying customer behavior. Bartenders are very good at remembering orders. It’s part of our job. And if we, on an extremely busy night with 4-5 simultaneous orders, happen to forget some of it we will ask when we deliver the part we did remember.

Also, don’t EVER physically grab hold of a bartender. This should be obvious to everyone, although it isn’t.

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