5 Ways to Win Over Your Bartender

It’s a packed Friday night at that spot and getting a drink is nearly impossible. It’s easier to make eye contact with a hummingbird on Adderall than it is with this bartender. If only you had an in, a way to make friends and ensure speedy service…

We talked to bartenders from some of New York City’s elite (and notoriously busy) drinking establishments and came up with some simple tips for how you can set yourself apart from what is most likely a boisterous, loud and drunken crowd. Use them wisely.


1) Tip early, tip cash

Even good tippers can go unnoticed by spreading their tips out drink by drink. Chances are, your bartender isn’t keeping track of those crumpled up ones during a rush.

Don’t dilute your dollars… start the night by tipping in one lump sum and make sure it’s cold hard cash. First impressions are everything, and redeeming yourself when the bar closes won’t help you get served when it’s open and packed.

A crispy five at the outset will do you more good than five dollar bills in separate, sweaty installments. And here you thought 5 equaled 5.


2) Put the phone away

If you’ve spent 7 minutes in line for a drink, that selfie you won’t remember taking can definitely wait. It holds up the line… and lines are a bartender’s worst enemy. Save your snapchats for the table and get served faster and friendlier.


3) Bring your empties back to the bar

Sure, you could leave all those empty pint glasses on the table, on the edges of unoccupied chairs or perched precariously on ledges not designed to hold glassware.

Or, since you’re already walking back to the bar (the place where the glasses get cleaned, filled and redistributed) you could just bring ‘em with you. Your bartender will (literally) thank you.


4) Provide moral support

It is an indisputable law of the universe that there must always be at least one obnoxious person in any drinking establishment. Most often, there are dozens. When it comes to prime ass-busting hours, a little empathy can go a long way.

If you notice somebody crossing the a-hole line (and violating these 5 rules) see if you can catch the bartender’s eye. Make a joke at the offender’s expense, or just give that nod of understanding. It can get lonely behind the bar, and even a drop of support can be therapeutic beyond reason.


5) If the time is right, ask for recommendations

Contrary to popular belief, people working behind bars have tastes, interests and lower halves of their bodies. So long as it’s not super busy, asking your bartender what they’ve been drinking and what they can recommend is a good way to make friends. Even if you don’t take them up on their rec, it’s a whole lot better than shouting “what beer do you have?!”



Leave a Reply