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Bar Etiquette

Top 10 Don'ts of Bar Behavior

Steer clear of these behaviors and you'll stay on the bartender's good side.  You may even end up with a free drink or two.

1. Clappers, Snappers, and Shouters

If you snap, clap, or shout at the bartender to get their attention; the bartender hates you. If it is too much for you to approach the bar and wait your turn like a normal human being then you shouldn’t be in the bar at all. Buy a six-pack and drink at home by yourself you louse. If you are able to display the restraint of waiting for your drink without belligerently beckoning the barkeep, let’s move on.

2. You Want To See My What?

You should not make a huge fuss over having to show proof of age. Some people really carry-on; rolling eyes, smacking lips, going through their vast array of facial contortions to find the one that best illustrates their disgust with the request. One knows immediately that this patron is 25 or younger, the annoyance will turn to flattery with time—an older patron is delighted by the notion that they still look younger than 21. If you are actually younger than 21, don't even bother, you'll get caught.

3. What Are You Good At Making?

Don’t ask this question. It lends the assumption that the bartender is bad at making other cocktails. Assume that the bartender is proficient in the making of all cocktails that the bar offers because that is after all, their job. If you feel the need to ask a pointless question before ordering you’re best off rephrasing to something like, “is there any drink that you love making?” Chances are that if the bartender loves making a drink they also love to drink it and hence, they are good at making it.

4. The Bargain Hunter

Some customers, apparently mistaking the bar for a booth at their local flea market or swap meet, take to bargaining when they place their order: “If I order five beers will you give me a couple of free shots?” No. Buybacks are reserved for good customers who tip well and act in accordance with these 10 rules, not time wasters like you. If you’re on a budget or just thrifty in general it is perfectly normal to ask if there are any specials, just don’t try to make up your own.

5. Let Me Think About It

The indecisive are an abhorrent bunch. Its best to have your order in mind before you approach the bar—having to listen to a customer mull over the decision between vodka and beer is a waste of time and should have been done before said customer presented themselves in front of the bar for service. An indecisive patron is truly a scourge on one’s patience.  

6. Ground Control to Jäger Bomb

There is a crude breed of drinkers, most prevalent on weekends, who are crass enough to order a drink based on its ability to quickly get them “fucked-up.” I have no personal quarrel with getting fucked-up, but it needn’t be done so sloppily. For, it is known to bartenders the world-over that the kind of drink that allows these barbarians to get fucked-up most quickly is also the kind of drink that causes these vile beasts to throw-up most quickly and, while one can’t be sure of it at the moment that someone orders a Long Island Iced Tea or Jäger Bomb, it is more than likely that one will be hosing this amateur’s throw-up off the sidewalk later that night. Shameful.

7. The Wall Street Wanker

Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have nice things, no matter how much money they have. These nincompoops ask the bartender what their best single-malt scotch is…then they proudly order said $40 scotch on the rocks with “a couple generous splashes of water.” Why don’t you just spit in it, you ingrate? A scotch that has been aging for 20 years, made by a company who has been perfecting the craft over hundreds of years, does not get ice cubes or generous splashes of water. A true gentleman would order it ‘neat.’ The request of a single ice cube is tolerable but anything beyond that is truly detestable.

8. Bathroom Break

We never suggest leaving your drink unattended but if you do leave it at the bar while using the lieu the proper way to let the bartender know you’re coming back is to set a napkin or coaster over the top of the drink. Also, when you’re in the bathroom, for god’s sake, have the decency to keep your piss off the seat. This goes for both sexes; men with bad aim and women who hover over the seat are equal offenders.

9. Ingrateful Bastards

Not tipping is considered the poorest of form. A generous tip can amend almost all offensive actions, but there is no counter-act that can compensate for the omission of gratuity. Ungrateful people are most despised by bartenders.

10. Drink & Dash

The only thing more hateful than the person who doesn’t tip is the person who skips out on the bill entirely and—if God were a bartender there would be a level of Hell beyond Dante’s wildest imaginations reserved for these scoundrels.


Follow these rules and you'll be on your way to the buyback club.  Have fun and don't forget to tip.