10 Ways To Become The Bartender’s Best Friend

The good graces of the local barkeep are a simple challenge, but it’s one that pays dividends throughout the night. Stick to these guidelines, and you’ll be set up as if you’ve been frequenting any establishment for a very long time.

1. Don’t wave.

Your hands. Your money. Anything. Little kids wave; adults make eye contact, smile, and speak up while making their order.

2. Introduce yourself.

Your bartender might not initially remember your name, but it’s just a nice gesture showing the respect is mutual. But don’t yell their name at them for your next round. And no nicknames.

3. Thank your bartender for each round, but don’t tell them to do anything.

Sentences bartenders love: “Thanks!” “Oh, perfect. Thank you so much.” “Great, thanks.”
Sentences to get your bartender to ignore you: “Bring my drinks faster next time, thanks.” “Great, but do me a favor and bring my drinks over with a smile. Thank you.” “That one was great but easy on the soda and heavy on the rum this time.”

4. Know your order.

No “what that guy’s having” drinks, no “something fun” drinks, no “surprise me” drinks. Just explain what you want so your bartender can get to work.

5. But don’t forget to consolidate if you’re also ordering for the rest of your group.

It’s easier to remember “three beers, two Cuba Libres, and five waters” than going around the group and listing each person’s preference.

6. Start a tab.


It signifies you’re in it for the long haul and that your bartender needs to remember your name and your face. It also increases the chance of a round on the house, which isn’t a bad way to be remembered at all.

7. Tip at least 20% if you didn’t start a tab.

Getting the perks you deserve requires more math than one dollar per drink.

8. Don’t ask for your perks.

If you’ve earned a buyback or two, your bartender will tell you. Patience earns more rewards than insisting you’ve earned one.

9. Try to keep the phone in your pocket.

Phone calls while ordering can be distracting for your barkeep, and there’s a strong chance you really don’t need to Instagram your drinks. Probably.

10. Buy your bartender a drink.

Usually better to buy when he or she isn’t too busy and when everyone in your party is obviously satisfied with the service and the surroundings. Don’t worry if you’re declined, though; the gesture didn’t go unnoticed.

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