Drinking is a huge part of American culture. Just look at all the crazy 5 O’Clock Friday drinks Spoon offers to take the bartender out of the picture. If you’re looking to get out of the house, the bar is a place to celebrate the weekend and, well, you know to get your drink on.
Who’s going to make that happen? The bartender and bar-back are the people who try to make things run smoothly for you and your party animal friends. I talked to two bartenders who work in upstate New York about what not to do at any bar so that we can all drink in peace.
1. Ask For a Free Drink Because XYZ
They get it. Life is hard out there, because #studentloans. No matter what you’re celebrating, be prepared to pay for your drinks. Just because it’s your birthday it doesn’t mean the rules of business don’t apply.
#SpoonTip: When your next friend finally turns 21, pregame with this recipe for birthday cake shots to save some cash.
2. Not Tip
Always tip your bartender. Most of them are not paid minimum wage and rely on tips to make up the difference.
#SpoonTip: Tipping is just a decent thing to do when someone has been serving you, so don’t be a jerk. Plus, if you plan on coming back you don’t want to be remembered by Jorge as the guy who didn’t tip.
3. Complicate Your Order
While experimenting with a shaker and a Pinterest recipe can be fun, there’s a time and a place for super complex or creative orders. Don’t try this when it’s a Friday night and the bar is 9 people deep with orders. Keep it simple, get your drinks, and rotate out. Save the tricky stuff for a more relaxed night.
There comes a time when the party should be taken home. The bartender will happily help you navigate your Uber app if you’re having trouble. If you aren’t interested in taking off, just be aware that this is not your personal mating grounds.
5. Wave Money
Having your cash or card ready to go is awesome, but please don’t wave your money at the bartender. It won’t make them move faster and it distracts them from focusing on making your dank drinks. Also, it’s just rude.
6. Small Talk During Prime Time
Again, timing is everything. Hitting on the bartender can be flattering, but obvious boundaries need to be respected. The same goes for trying to make small talk. It’s all well and good when the bar is having a slow night or you’re there during off hours. Asking about the weather on a packed night is only going to irritate your bartender.
7. Order “a Beer”
On the opposite end of ordering a super-specific and complicated drink is ordering “a beer.” Beer is great. It’s not the drink itself that’s a bad move here, but rather not being specific about what you want. Placing a vague order slows down the whole process. There’s no time to play twenty questions to determine whether you want a Bud Light bottle or draft, so know what you want.
If you wanted to skim through this post and get the gist of how to be a good bargoer, the overarching theme here is to not be a jerk and be prepared to have a good time. With these 7 things in mind, you’re sure to be the bartender’s favorite customer.