Most of us have been brought up with some concept of good behavior, whether it is at a social occasion, at a party, in a queue, on the bus or in a restaurant. Unfortunately though, a lot of us believe that a bar is one of those places where we can be relieved of our proprieties and the pressure of maintaining manners.
If you think that way, just try to imagine how life would be, if you were at the other end of the bar table and had to constantly smile at and conscientiously mix drinks for people who believed that your table was a license to ill-mannered behavior. You need no imagination to guess how that that would make you feel. So, reserve your wild side for your friends and remember these etiquettes the next time you visit a bar.
The cocktail menu is there to read, so read it, choose from it and make sure you know your friend’s choice, before you call the bartender over.
Use eye contact or a polite gesture of ‘I’m ready’ to call the bartender over. Whistling or snapping fingers at the bartender is dishonorable and insulting, and those who do it are guaranteed a free grudge and a curse with the drink they get.
Tipping with coins is not acceptable, at least in the US. And a generous tip on the first round is the decent thing to do.
If you want the bartender’s recommendation, ask them what they like making or tell them what your specific taste is. A “give me whatever’s good” is simply not good enough and a bartender’s typical answer (unspoken) is “a sock on your nose is good”. Also, if you have asked the bartender to recommend something, respect them enough to take their suggestion.
Run a tab rather than bringing out a VISA card for each round of drinks. Bartenders are not just busy; they also have to deal with relentless pressure and expectations.
Order wisely when the bar is busy. Ordering an obscure drink or one that takes too long to prepare is a bad idea during a rush hour.
Knowing every cocktail that’s ever existed is not part of a bartender’s job description, so if you want something special, do produce the name and the recipe.
Finally, a ‘please’ and a ‘thank you’ are always welcome. They are the simplest words in the language and the simplest ways to show respect. Surely the bartender who prepares the wonderful drinks you work all week for deserves that much courtesy.
As you can see, there is nothing unusual on this list. All one really has to remember at the bar table is basic courtesy. The right attitude will fetch you the best perk: a drink prepared with genuine care and respect.
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