Bar Etiquette: Tipping
Note: If you would like to know more about tipping, please read the Tipping Gratuity Guidelines.
No tips for drinks exchange
Don't ask the bartender for a free drink in exchange for a tip. Don't ask the bartender to steal from the bar so he can get a tip. You are suppose to pay for your drink and tip. There is no tip for drink exchange.
Every drink gets a tip
Don't assume that because you tipped on your first round, the second doesn't get a tip. Every time you go to the bar to get a drink, you have to tip. Every drink gets a tip. You should tip $1 per drink or 20% of your tab.
Remember: The first impression is very important. If you didn't tip the first time you got a drink, you already gave the bartender a bad impression about you. You might have to wait longer to get your next drink and it might not be as good as the first time you got it.
If you get something for free, tip the bartender
Whenever you get something for free, tip the bartender. Even if you get a glass of water, you should leave the bartender at least $1 tip. Bartenders work for tips.
If you ask the bartender to make you something special, tip more
If the bartender is making you special drinks or he is trying to please you by making you an exotic drink, the least thing that you can do for him is leave a bigger tip. The bartender is doing more for you, why don't you tip more for him.
If you get a strong drink, tip more
If you asked the bartender to give you a strong drink and he does, give him a bigger tip. If you don't leave a good tip, your next drink is not going to be as strong as the first one.
Note: Don't ask the bartender give you a strong drink. If you want a strong drink, order a double.
Don't use the bartender's tips to pay for your drinks
If a customer left a tip on top of the bar for the bartender, don't pick it up and try to buy drinks with the money. That money belongs to the bartender and it's not yours. Don't steal the bartender's tip. If the bartender sees you doing it, you might get in trouble.
If your partner leaves a tip, don't pick it up
If your partner (boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, etc.) buys drinks and leaves the change on the bar, don't pick it up. He/She is leaving the change as a tip.
Don't leave money on the bar if it's not a tip
Keep your money in your wallet, pocket or purse. Don't put it on top of the bar if it's not a tip. If you leave money on the bar unattended, it is consider a tip. You should never leave money laying around. Somebody (not necessarily the bartender) can take the money. Take care of your money.
If you forgot your change, it becomes a tip
When you pay for your drinks and you walk away, it means that the change is a tip for the bartender. Don't come back 10 minutes later asking the bartender for your change. If you want your change back when you pay for the drinks, don't walk away. Wait for your change, leave a tip and then you walk away.
Don't say, "I'll tip you good"
You don't need to tell the bartender that you will tip him good. You have to show him that you are a good tipper. Good tippers don't go around saying, "I'll tip you good." They just do it. The bartenders will know if you are a good tipper or not.
People that say, "I'll tip you good," they usually open a tab. They want to insure a good and fast service before leaving a tip. If you want to insure a good and fast service, tip well first. Then, you open your tab. You could also leave an initial tip when you open a tab, then another tip when closing your tab.
Don't say to the bartender, "remember me"
If you really want the bartender to remember you, you have to be a good tipper. Don't tip the bartender $1 and ask him to remember you. There are two kinds of people that the bartender will remember. They are the good tippers and the bad tippers. Good tippers will get great drinks and faster service while the bad tippers may have to wait longer to get a drink.
Don't hide the tip or place it on top of the garnishes
When you tip the bartender, make the tip visible to him. Don't place the tip out his sight. In addition, don't place the tip on top of the garnishes. It is unsanitary to have money on the fruit. You could place the tip on top of the bar (where it is visible to the bartender), in the tip jar (when it's near) or just hand it to the bartender.
Don't come with an excuse on why you are not going to tip
If you are not going to tip, don't come with an excuse. Bartenders don't want to here why you are not tipping. They know you are cheap.
Here are some excuses that I have heard:
- I'll get you next time. - Liar! I hear this a lot when the person doesn't want to tip.
- I'll be back with your tip. - Liar, again! They never come back.
- I'm a student. I don't have a lot of money. - Me too. That's why I'm bartending instead of parting. I need money for my tuition.
- I have kids. - Shouldn't you be at home taking care of your kids instead of being at the bar?
- The economy is bad. - If the economy is bad, stay home and drink there. It's cheaper at home.
- I'm on a budget - Make sure you include "leave a tip to the bartender" on your budget.
- If it was a beer, I would have tipped you. - Even if you get a water, you have to tip. You tip for the service.
- You make enough money. - Really? How much do I make? With cheap people like you, not much.
- Times are hard. - You just paid $50 for your tab. Now, when it comes to tipping, times are hard?
- I don't have any change. - I'll give you change.
- I don't tip. - You are just cheap.
Don't pretend that you are going to tip
If you are not going to tip, just walk away. Don't stand in front of the bartender pretending to look for some money in your pants. Then, when the bartender looks away, you disappear.
Don't take it on the bartender if the security pissed you off
If you get kicked out of a nightclub for doing something inappropriate and you still have a tab open, don't take it on the bartender when you close your tab. Don't leave a $0 tip just because the security kicked you out. If the bartender has nothing to do with you getting kicked out, you should tip him.
Don't tip with coins unless they are quarters and the come with at least a dollar bill
If you are going to tip with cash, give the bartender dollar bills. Don't tip with coins, specially not pennies, nickels or dimes. If you get quarters for your change, you could leave them as a tip as long as they come with a dollar bill.
Never leave a tip designated for a bartender to a manager
If you want to tip a bartender, don't give the money to anybody other than the designated bartender. Don't even leave the tip to a manager because the bartender might never get it.
You don't have to give an exact 20% for a tip. You could round it
If you are closing your tab and you want to leave a 20% tip to the bartender, you could calculate the 20% and round it to the nearest dollar. You don't have to leave an exact 20% as a tip.
Example: If the 20% of your bill is $11.83, you could round it and leave a $12 tip.
Always tip, tip and tip
You should tip $1 per drink or 20% of your bill. Bartenders work for tips. It's their income. If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to drink in a bar. Go to the liquor store.