Us bar patrons have a special relationship with our favorite bartenders, and that’s why they get those big tips at the end of the evening. Hubby and I go out every Saturday night for our “date night”, and having drinks at the bar is a favorite part of the ritual. I just thought I’d pass along some of the things we personally like and/or dislike about bartenders and their practices and perhaps help bartenders get a bigger tip count at the end of the evening.
This is an obvious one, but some bartenders don’t make the effort and that faux pas can be reflected in their tip. Remember the theme song from that TV sitcom called Cheers, and one of the verses mentions something about how we all like to go where everybody knows our name? Well that’s what I’m talking about.
Remember favorite drinks
Another must-do in order to be a good bartender and warrant those many extra dollars come tip time is to remember what people like. A customer loves to hear the words “the usual?” It makes us feel loved. Kind of like they were expecting us and happy that we’ve arrived, or something like that. Oh and don’t forget the cherry. I love a cherry or two in my Crown Royal on the rocks, and I get all warm and fuzzy when a bartender remembers that little tidbit of info about me.
Don’t talk too much.
Bartenders need to be instinctive about when to hover and when to just move along around the bar. Some evenings, hubby and I like to talk in private. At those times, it’s nice to say hello to our bartender, but right after that, we’re hoping he or she will move along to the next patron and let us converse with each other. It’s good for bartenders to realize that we didn’t invite them along on our date.
Another thing that bartenders shouldn’t do is eavesdrop. Even though I’m sure they can hear most everybody’s conversation, they should pretend that they don’t. On more than one occasion, I can remember hubby and I discussing something, and the bartender just chimed right in with his or her opinion. We didn’t ask for their opinion. And again, they were not invited along on our date night.
I know I just said to not eavesdrop and don’t talk too much, but there are some nights when we might be more in a social mood, and then it’s fun to participate in some witty banter with the bartender. It’s a matter of bartenders being able to read people. I think it’s especially important for the bartender to be talkative when the patron is there alone. That’s most likely when attention from the bartender is the most wanted. Couples are usually more into each other, but not always.
A little flirting is fun for everyone. One bartender where we frequent likes to call all the ladies “darlin”. I kind of like that. I know I’m old enough to be his mom, but it’s nice to be called some term of endearment when I’m out for the night, even if hubby is sitting next to me. It’s innocent enough. When people are out for the night and sitting at a bar, they’re there to relax and unwind. So a little harmless flirting just makes it that much more enjoyable.
Now I’m going to be accused of having a double standard here, but let me explain the difference. There was a woman bartender a couple years ago where we use to hang out, (note I said USE to hang out) and she had the most annoying habit of gushing just a little too much over the men who came in. Greeting us with a smile and saying hello would have been nice. Fawning all over my hubby and trying to give him a hug over the bar is inappropriate. So guess what? We stopped going to that bar, and as a result, that woman bartender lost out on our tips. Most men ask their partner where they would like to go for the evening. And we’re certainly not going to pick a place where another woman is pawing at our man.
Be neutral when it comes to “hot topics”.
We all understand how passionate we become at times when we’re discussing politics or religion or some other hot topic. Having a friendly discussion is one thing, but when it starts to get heated, all parties should back off. We’re not going to change each other’s minds, so why get into it on a night when you’re out trying to relax. In these situations, the bartender should NEVER get in the middle of those conversations. Remaining neutral is the best course of action when bartending. That way everyone will think you’re on their side, and how we feel about you is always reflected in the tip.
Don’t bring the menu too soon.
Lots of times we like to eat our dinner at the bar. After all, we’re already perched on our bar stools, drinks in hand, and feel all comfy, so why not. But the one thing that annoys us is when we just get settled and the bartender whips out the menus and puts them in front of us, almost knocking down our drinks. We feel like we’re being rushed, like he or she just wants us to get on with our evening so other patrons could sit their behinds on our same bar stools. That probably really is what the bartenders are thinking, but they shouldn’t make it that obvious. If we’re ready for the menu, we’ll ask. Otherwise, bartenders should be savvy enough to know that we’re unwinding first.
Don’t leave an empty glass in front of a patron.
This means mainly to be attentive. If our beer bottle or our glass is empty, we’re hoping our bartender notices and bring us a new one or refills our glass. We don’t want to have to hunt him or her down or feel like we’re annoying them by dragging them away while they’re socializing with other patrons. A good bartender will make sure they are sharp and on the lookout to take care of us while we’re a guest in their bar. That way we’ll be sure to want to take care of them when getting out our wallets to pay the bill and leave a nice big tip at the end of the evening.
If you have control over the atmosphere…..
This one may not apply to all bartenders, but the ambiance of a bar is important to us. We like the bar to be dark first of all. If we wanted sunshine, we’d be outside. But we’re in a bar, let’s have a little atmosphere. If a bartender has control over the lighting in the establishment, dimming the lights is always a good idea. It sets the mood. Another pointer is to make sure the bar gets cleaned up when patrons leave. It’s kind of gross to sit down at a bar and see the half empty glasses and bent straws sitting there in front of us from the prior customers. It’s also gross to prop our elbows on the bar and have them land in some sticky residue left there by a spilled daiquiri. While at the bar, we want to be comfortable and we want the atmosphere to be non-threatening and friendly. And if a bartender can help provide us with that kind of evening, then we like nothing better than to give them a big fat tip at the end of the night in appreciation.