Favor with the Bartender
By Stacy Liberatore
Why do some guys get free drinks and shots at the bar while others can’t even buy their own drink? Don’t assume the VIP is a regular or even friends with the bartender. He might just have mastered the secrets to bar etiquette.
It doesn’t matter if you are at a local watering hole or the Gansevoort Park Hotel, every playground has rules and if you abide by them, you get to experience the perks, like faster and better service, free drinks and a smile that engages you.
Here is my list of do’s and dont’s on how to get more from your bartender, because let’s face it, when the bartender isn’t happy, ain’t nobody is happy.
Speak bartender: You’ve been going to the bar since you were 21, maybe earlier, so you have had to have picked up the lingo. Know how you want your drink- neat, rocks, double, tall, knowing these little words before you order will make both of our lives easier.
Know the difference between flattery and annoying?: As a bartender I get hit on all the time. It can be flattering and annoying. I’m not here just for looks. I’m here to work. Many guys like to impress their friends by hitting on the bartender, which is fine, but when you start to get vulgar is when you see the not so pretty side of us.
Actions speak louder than words: I’m not your babe, sweetheart, or darling. If you want a drink just make eye contact with me. We keep a mental note of the waiting list. A smile and a nod will get you in, an obnoxious gesture or outburst will kick you to the end of that list. Look at it as if you’re waiting in line at your favorite club, you put on your best smile and wait patiently.
This isn’t an “Ask and you will receive” kind of place: Never ask for a free drink. We almost are insulted by the statement. No one deserves a free drink, but play your cards right and you’ll get one without having to ask. Most bars do give by-backs, so just be patient and it will come your way.
Tipping is not just a city in China: We don’t have a salary, hourly wage, or benefits. All we have is knowledge of drinks, our charm, and you. If during your first round you tip big, it won’t go unnoticed. We will definitely take care you you the rest of the night.
Be specific: The two statements that are guaranteed to get an eye roll from us are, “surprise me” or “I’ll have a beer,” we aren’t magicians or psychics. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and tell the waitress to surprise you, do us the same courtesy, know what you want before you come to the bar.
Come prepared: If you’re ordering for a group, make sure you have everyone’s order. I have a great memory so lay it all on me. There’s nothing more annoying than you telling me to hold on while you run to the back of the bar to get more orders. We will just move on to the next person when you walk away.
Hands out of your pockets: You’re good looks and charm aren’t going to be paying for your drinks, so have your cash or credit card in your hand. Time is money, so the longer we wait the longer you will wait for your next round.
It’s ok to be a Chatty Katy sometimes: If the bar isn’t slammed be social with us. We spend countless hours a day being Dr. Phil to everyone else, sometimes it’s nice to hear someone ask us how our day is going. It makes us feel more than just a fly on the wall and you will usually get a free drink or shot just for acknowledging us.
Please and thank you go a long way: You were taught manners when you were a kid, now that you’re an adult doesn’t mean you throw them out the window. Shouting demands, snapping fingers, and yelling “Hey you” will only result in you waiting extra longer for your drink. Remember we are in charge, you’re in our home. We are servers, not servants.