We've been over many of the finer points of bar etiquette in this column before, but it's a new year, and you want to start your year of drinking off on the right foot. So let's review some of the finer points of making your bartender love you – or at least just like you a whole lot more.
1) Be Patient
We see you standing at the bar, waiting for service. We see you even if we're not looking at you. Waving money around and calling for our attention won't work. Screaming or asking, "When you have second, can I get ..." isn't appropriate, either. Just sit back and have your money ready. We'll get you drunk before you know it. Promise.
2) Know What You Want
If we're slow, I'm happy to run through the 27 different beers we serve and even discuss which whiskey is best. But if we're busy, stick with what you know. If it's a specialty brew you want, ask us if we have it rather than ask which beers we have – especially if you're only going to order a Bud Light anyway. Ain't nobody got time for that. If you're ordering for friends, know what they want too – or let them order separately. Most bartenders don't want to wait for you to collect everyone's drink orders after you get their attention. There's no time for lollygagging when the bar is three deep and more than 100 people are patiently waiting their turn.
3) Be Clear
No need to get all flustered when the pretty bartender approaches. Order your drink confidently. Say it loud and say it proud. Bars are crowded, and it can be extremely hard to hear if you're mumbling. Also, if we're making your drink wrong, stop us. Don't be shy. No need to wait til we've already poured the liquor to tell us you wanted a can of Coke and not a Crown and Coke.
4) Don't Be a Creep
Flirting with your bartender is acceptable, and in some bars it's even encouraged, but know your limits. If your bartender is ignoring your advances, pay for your drink and move on. She's either too busy, or – gasp – she's just not that into you. Staring, drooling and begging for a date will only draw the biggest guy in the room – the bouncer – and not the cutest keeper of booze.
Bartenders are like servers in that we live off tips (and only make about $4 an hour). We work the late hours and night shifts because you don't want to. When you go out, you're paying for the service, atmosphere and a good drink. So, if you don't have money to tip, don't go out. Stop by the Sevie, pick up a 12-pack and call it a boring night. Oh, and tipping a quarter is worse than not tipping at all. Paper money. It goes a long way.
6) Expect to Pay
Singles, doubles and triples aren't free. Birthday shots aren't either. Even those "more Jack than Coke" requests that come special with a wink cost money. Unless we're bartering, repaying a favor or buying you a drink, someone has to pay for your alcohol. If it's not you, it's me and if it's not me, it's the bar. Happy Birthday. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Now, give me all your money. Wink!