Bar Etiquette: Ordering Drinks
Don't ask the bartender to hook you up
If the bartenders had a nickel for every time they hear, "Hook me up!" they would be millionaires. Do you think you are the only person that likes strong drinks?
There are two ways to get a strong drink:
- You order a double and you pay for a double.
- You leave a FAT tip and you order a single.
If you want a strong drink, you don't have to tell the bartender. Just leave him a fat tip. Next time you come to get another drink, he will serve you a strong drink. Big tippers get the best drinks and faster service.
Things that people say and do thinking that they will get more alcohol
Many people try do anything to get more alcohol. Unfortunately, many things that they do, do not work.
Things that don't work when trying to get more alcohol in your drink:
- Ordering a drink with a little bit of ice - Your drink will have less ice and it will have more juice or soda. You don't get more alcohol when you order a drink with a little bit of ice.
- Ordering a drink to be served in a tall glass - Once again, your drink will have more juice or soda because it's in a bigger glass. You still get the same amount of alcohol as if it was made in a smaller glass.
- Saying, "hook me up! make it strong, make it good, more Jack than Coke, don't be shy, etc." - If you want more alcohol, order a double.
- If the bartender is pouring liquor in drink, don't say, "more, more, more! fill it up all the way" - Don't come up with any phrase asking the bartender to pour more alcohol. This also includes moving your hands up and down while the bartender is pouring liquor.
- If you already have a drink, don't ask the bartender to pour more alcohol in it - Order a shot of liquor and then pour it in your drink. Next time, order a double.
Note: If you want a strong drink, order a double or be a really good tipper.
Don't complain about your drinks been weak
Don't come to the bar and say to the bartender, "I don't taste the alcohol. Taste it!" Bartenders don't need to taste your drink. They know how much liquor they poured in your drink.
Reasons why you don't taste the alcohol:
- You've been drinking all night that you stop tasting the alcohol.
- You let your drink get watered down.
- There are some drinks that mask the taste of the alcohol.
- You are a liar that wants to get more alcohol. (most common reason)
- Your drink is weak. You got a weak drink because you are not tipping. (common reason)
Don't say, "the other bartender made it strong"
Don't tell the bartender that the other bartender made your drink strong. If the other bartender is making your drinks strong, you should keep going to that bartender.
If you tell one bartender that the other bartender is making strong drinks, this bartender might tell management about the other bartender's over pouring. You could get the other bartender in trouble. In addition, you might not get any more strong drinks for been a tattletale.
Be ready when you come to the bar. Know what you are going to order
If the bartender is busy and asks you what do you want to drink, don't reply, "I don't know what I want." In addition, when ordering, be more specific on what you want. Don't just say, "give me a shot or I want a beer."
If you come with a group of people, ask everybody what they want to drink before you go to the bar. If the bartender comes to you, don't turn around to your group to ask everybody what they want. If you are not ready, the bartender will go to other customers that are ready to order.
Be Aware: If the bar is busy, some bartenders will help other customers as soon as you turn around to ask your group what they want to drink. They don't have time to wait on you to finish asking your whole group.
Don't place your drink order and leave
If you are going to the bar to get a drink, order your drink, wait for it, pay and then leave. Don't place your drink order and then disappear to the bathroom or to a table. Don't keep the bartender waiting for you with your drink.
Don't order anything if you don't have any money
Don't place a drink order when you don't have any money or drink tickets to pay for it. If you order a drink, you are going to have to pay for it or you have to get somebody else to pay for it. There are no free drinks.
Don't order your drinks one at a time. The never ending drink order
If you want a few drinks, tell the bartender all the drinks that you want. He will remember all the drinks. If not, he will ask you. Don't order one drink, then when you get it, you order another one, then another, then another, etc. Don't waste the bartender's time by ordering one drink at a time.
Don't place the same drink order twice
If you placed a drink order with a bartender and you're waiting for it, don't place the same order again with another bartender. Both bartenders are going to come back to you with your drink order. Then, you will have to pay for both orders.
Don't yell your drink order
Don't start yelling your drink order until the bartender acknowledges and asks you. Wait until the bartender finishes making the drinks for other customers. When the bartender comes to you and asks you, then you tell him your order.
If you want a specific liquor, beer or wine, order it
If you don't specify what liquor you want, most likely you will get the cheapest liquor that the bar carries. If you prefer a better liquor, tell the bartender that you want a particular liquor.
Example: If you want a Vodka and Tonic and you want it with Grey Goose, order a Grey Goose and Tonic.
Common Mistake: Don't order a Grey Goose and vodka. Grey Goose is a vodka.
When ordering beer or wine, specify which kind of beer or wine you prefer. Don't say, "I'll have a beer or I want a glass of wine." Which beer do you want? Do you want a bottle beer or a draft beer? What kind of wine do you want? Do you want a red wine, white wine, white zinfandel, etc.?
If you want a bottle or draft beer, tell the bartender
If you want a bottle or draft beer, you have to tell the bartender. If you don't tell him, you are letting him choose for you. Sometimes the bartender will ask you, "do you want a draft or bottle?" Other times, he will serve you a bottle beer if you don't specify what kind.
When ordering, don't tell the bartender a partial name of the drink
There are some drinks that you could say a partial name or an abbreviation and the bartender will know what you want.
Example: Adios, AMF, Long Island, etc.
There are other times that you can not say a partial name.
Example 1: A customer orders a Malibu. This tells the bartender that the customer wants a shot of Malibu. It turns out that the customer wanted a Malibu and Pineapple.
Example 2: A lady orders a Jager. The bartender pours a Jager shot, then the lady asks, "where is the Red Bull?" The bartender replies, "do you want a Jager or a Jager Bomb?"
Know what a well, call and premium drinks are
If you go to a bar and there are well drink specials, don't assume that a well drink is any drink. Don't start asking premium drinks assuming that they are well drinks. If you don't know what a well drink is, ask the bartender.
If you have never been to a bar, I suggest you learn how to order drinks at the bar. You should know what a well, call and premium drinks are.
Know your drinks
If you like a particular drink, know the name of it. Don't go to a bartender and ask him, "I want the drink that is blue and comes in a big glass." Is it an Adios Mother Fucker, a Blue Hawaiian or an Electric Lemonade? Don't make the bartender guess what drink you are talking about. Do you know how many drinks are blue and come in big glasses?
Never say, "you are the bartender, you should know!"
Never, ever and ever say that to a bartender! For whatever reason, don't say it!
If order a drink that the bartender doesn't know, don't say, "you are the bartender, you should know!"
There are thousands and thousands of drink recipes available. There is no bartender in the world that knows all the drink recipes. So, if a bartender doesn't know the drink that you are requesting, tell him what's in it. He will make it for you.
Never ask the bartender to give you something good
Bartenders always try to give something good to their customers. Unfortunately, something good for you might not be something good for somebody else. Let your bartender know what do you like (fruity drinks, shots, vodka, sweet drinks, strong drinks, coffee drinks, beer, wine, etc), so he can think of a drink that is going to be to your satisfaction.
Don't ask, "what's good?"
You could ask that at the restaurant, but not at the bar. They didn't fly the tequila fresh from Mexico this morning.
If your partner is drunk, don't order two drinks
If you come to the bar with a person that is already intoxicated, don't order two drinks. If you try to order two drinks, you might not get any. Bartenders are not going to serve to intoxicated people. You should take your partner home instead of trying to get more drinks.
If you are cut-off, don't order any more drinks
If you already had enough to drink and the bartender said that you can not have any more drinks, don't come back to the bar to order more drinks. In addition, don't try to go to another bartender to order a drink. If you try to order more, you could get kicked out of the bar.
If you had enough to drink, you should go home. Don't try to convince that bartender that you are not driving and that it's OK for you to have more drinks. If you are intoxicated, you can not have any more drinks. Get a taxi and go home.
Remember: Don't drink and drive.
Don't order drinks at the cocktail waitress station
There is a section a the bar that is reserved for cocktail waitresses only. This section is where the cocktail waitresses get drinks from the bartender. No customers are allowed in that section, so don't try to order drinks from there.
How do you know where is the cocktail waitress station?
If you see beautiful ladies with trays going to a particular place at the bar to get drinks from the bartender, that is the station. If you see a lot of people around the bar except for small section of the bar, well that's another clue of where the station is.
Don't be shy, tell the bartender what you want
If the bartender asks you what would you like to drink, don't turn to your boyfriend to tell him. You could tell the bartender what drink you want without having to go trough your boyfriend. If both people are in front of the bartender, there is no need for a middle man. Both people can tell the bartender what they want.
Don't try to cut in
When the bartender is busy, don't try to cut in by yelling, "I just want a water!" Why should the bartender stop serving the paying customers to serve a person that only wants a free glass of water.
Don't tell the bartender who is next
When the bar is busy, don't say to the bartender, "I'm next!" If you do that, the bartender will should you who is next and it's not going to be you.
If you already got you drink, don't tell the bartender who is next. He will serve whoever he wants. There is no number system and there is no line either. The bartender chooses the next person to be served, not you.
Note: If you really want to be served next, give the bartender a $20 tip and I'll guarantee you that you will be served next.
Don't order for other people. Don't redirect
If the bar is busy and you already got your drinks, don't try to order for the people behind you. If you try to order for other people, you and the other people are going to have to wait longer.
Don't order while there is a person in front of you
Don't yell your drink order behind another person. If there is a person in front of you, wait until that person gets his/her drinks and leaves. Then, you approach to the bar to order your drink.
Don't talk to the bartender while you are on the phone
If you are on the phone, don't come to the bar to order drinks. Finish your call, then go to the bar. Don't try to order drinks while you are on the phone. It's rude!
If your friend ordered the wrong drink, don't ask for a replacement
If you sent your friend to get you a drink and your friend ordered the wrong drink, don't come to the bar complaining that you got the wrong drink. The bartender is not going to replace the drink because of your friend's stupidity. It's not the bartender's fault. If you want another drink, you are going to have to pay for it. Next time, don't send your friend to get your drink.
If you spill your drink, don't ask the bartender to replace it
Why should the bartender replace a drink that you spilled? The bartender is not responsible for your stupidity. If you want another drink, you are going to have to pay for it.
If somebody spilled your drink, don't ask the bartender to replace it
The bartender is not responsible for replacing your drink. If somebody spilled it, that person is responsible. That person should buy you a drink, not the bartender.
If somebody stole your drink, don't ask to replace it
Once you get your drink, you are responsible for it. If you leave your drink unattended and it gets stolen, it's your fault. Don't go to the bar asking the bartender to give you a free drink because somebody stole yours.
Don't leave your drink at the bar
If you leave your drink at the bar when you go dancing or to the bathroom, you run a risk of loosing your drink. Unattended drinks at the bar get thrown away. If you don't want to loose your drink, place a napkin on top of your drink. This tells the bartender that you still want your drink.
If you didn't like your drink, don't go to another bartender to replace it
If you ordered a drink and you didn't like it, don't go to a different bartender to ask him to replace it. Go back to the bartender that made your drink and tell him that you didn't like your drink. He might replace it, but it's not a guaranteed.
Don't order all the hard to make drinks when the bartender is busy
If the bar is busy, don't order the hard to make drinks (specially blended drinks). You waste the bartender's time and you keep all the customers waiting longer for drinks. Order simple drinks like a Cape Cod, Screwdriver, a beer, etc.
If the bar is busy, get your drink and leave
When the bar is busy, get your drink and leave. Don't stay at the bar. Let the other people order some drinks.
Don't order any more drinks after the bar closed
When you hear, "last call for alcohol," it's your time to get your final drink of the night. If you don't get it by that time, there will be no more drinks. If the lights are on and the music stopped playing, don't go to the bar to order any more drinks. You already lost your chance to order. The bar is now closed.
Note: Don't beg for a drink when the bar is closed. It doesn't work. Go to the liquor store instead.
If you have a coupon, please read the fine print
If your coupon or voucher says, "for food only," don't try to use it for drinks at the bar. If your voucher is not good for drinks, you are going to have to pay for the drinks that you ordered. Read the fine print!
If you want a Dos Equis, don't show two fingers
If you only want one Dos Equis, don't show two fingers to the bartender. When you show two fingers, it means that you want two beers and not one. Just say, "May I get a Dos Equis, please" without showing any fingers.
For those people that don't know what a Dos Equis is: Dos Equis is a Mexican beer. The name Dos Equis means Two Xs (XX). If you look at the label of the beer, you'll see the two Xs (XX).
Know the difference between a lime and a lemon
I shouldn't tell you this, but many people don't know the difference between a lime and a lemon. A lime is the green one and the lemon is the yellow one.
Speak loud and clear
Sometimes it could be hard for the bartender to hear the customers when there is load music playing at the bar. So when you order your drinks, always speak load and clear. Make sure the bartender can hear your drink order so he can make what you want.
If you want to order a drink and the bartender is busy, be patient. He will come to you as soon as possible. Bartenders are not machines. They are human beings.
Note: Bartenders appreciate it when customers are patient.
Say, "please" and "thank you"
Always say, "please" and "thank you" when ordering your drinks. Those words are very powerful. It shows that you are polite.