1. Get served more quickly in a crowded bar by flashing your cash. Maybe.
“Have your card or cash in hand and visible so I know that you’re ready to order. If you’re looking over your shoulder and still trying to get your friend’s drink order then I move along to the next customer.”
“Do not try to get our attention. At all. We know you’re there, and we know the order in which people got to the bar. We know you want something. That’s why you’re at the bar. Do not wave. Do not yell.”
“Honestly, the best method is to be obviously ready to order without asking a ton of annoying questions. Don’t worry, if they make eye contact, they’ll get to you. If you wanted to not wait for a drink, go to 7-11.”
2. Don’t send a drink back — just don’t.
“Unless it is entirely the wrong drink, do not send it back. if your martini needs a ‘smidgen more olive juice,’ then shut up. Make it yourself next time.”
“Have your friend drink it.”
“If you complain so much that the bartender takes it back to shut you up, but then don’t expect anything resembling good service for the rest of the night and/or any other time you come back. Bartenders remember that crap.“
3. Eek — the glasses aren’t always as clean as you’d hope.
“If you see the bartender cleaning glasses in a sink, or, yuck, using a bar towel to dry them, drink something that comes in a bottle or can. Frankly, if you see a bartender use a towel for anything except the drying of clean hands, run away.”
“Wineglasses and champagne flutes are harder to clean. It’s easy to miss lipstick or chapstick on the edges, because you have to wash them more gently than you do with a pint glass.
“The best way to tell if your glasses are clean is to look at the lacing as you drink your glass of beer — basically, does the head kind of stick to the side as you drink it, making little rings around the glass as you drink it? If it does, you’ve got a really clean glass.”
5. But if you’re buying just one drink, try to pay in cash.
“Paying with a credit card is annoying if you are buying one drink. If you’re buying a round or keeping a tab open, it’s completely reasonable. Customers often don’t realize how much money bars lose on credit card fees.”
7. There are some drinks that bartenders hate making.
“Mojitos. Sometimes I’ll lie and say we’re out of mint, just so I don’t have to bother making one.”
“I personally hate making Long Islands, because I know that people are drinking them just to get fucked up.”
“I worked in a Boston pub, so anything that required more than three ingredients was annoying. It was the type of place where you ordered a beer or a gin and tonic. Simple stuff. Not a cosmopolitan-type place.”
“It was annoying when we were busy and someone wanted tons of samples before making up their mind.”
8. Here’s how much to REALLY tip.
“I would tip at least 20% (on base and tax) or $1 per drink, whichever is more. Remember, your bartender is only making around $5 an hour base pay, AND they’re going to be cleaning your pee off the toilet when they close the bar down.”
“Industry standard is a dollar a drink, but a tip should be a reflection of one’s appreciation for effort extended, right? So if someone stands there making you a perfect Manhattan or an old-fashioned, then yes, tip more!”
“Twenty percent. At least. But please don’t tip $1 on a $25 glass of wine.”
9. It’s possible to get free drinks, as long as you’re not a d-bag about it.
“The best way to get free drinks is not to ask, ever. We always gave people free stuff for being nice, for being understanding of delays, sometimes just for happening to be standing there when we were taking shots. But if you ask, then no, I will not give you a free drink. Basically, good things happen to nice people.”
“Make friends with the bartender and ask questions. As long as it was slower, I loved talking to people who were genuinely interested in all of the beers we had. A lot of times, I’d get excited to have them try new things and would give them free ones.
Being a regular will also help — I would obviously give you a free drink if I knew I was going to see you four times a week and you always spent a decent amount and tipped really well.”
10. Don’t be one of these most annoying customers.
“Anyone who EVER called me ‘boss’ or ‘bro.’ As in, ‘Hey, boss, can I get some service?’ No. No, you cannot. You can get the hell out of my bar.”
(From a female bartender): “Older men, because they want a lot of attention and they get a kick out of being able to chat up a younger woman when she can’t get away.”
“People who treat bars like their living rooms.”
“If you’re a dick, the bartenders will talk about you.”