15 Bar Etiquette Tips Every Patron Should Know

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Imagine you walk into your favorite bar, ready for a great night out. But wait—did you know there’s a secret code of conduct at the bar? It’s not just about what you order but how you order it and interact with the bartender and fellow bar-goers. Let’s find out 15 essential etiquette to improve your bar experience.

Don’t Reach Over the Bar

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It might seem like a quick way to grab attention, but it’s a major faux pas in bar etiquette. Bartenders need their space to work efficiently and safely. So, next time you’re waiting for a drink, show respect by waiting patiently or signaling politely. It’s a small gesture that keeps the bar running smoothly and ensures everyone enjoys their night out.

Always Tip Your Bartenders

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Tipping shows appreciation for the service and hard work of the bartenders. When they whip up a fancy cocktail or pour a quick beer, tossing them a tip shows you value their effort. Moreover, it keeps the atmosphere friendly.

Tailor Your Order to the Bar

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Mastering bar etiquette begins with reading the vibe of where you’re at. Imagine you’re in a bustling dive bar with neon signs and retro tunes—opt for a cold beer or a classic whiskey on the rocks. Now, picture yourself in a chic cocktail lounge with dim lighting and plush sofas—a craft cocktail like a Manhattan or a sophisticated gin martini fits the bill perfectly.

Stay Calm

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Maintaining courtesy at the bar means refraining from waving money, shouting drink orders, or interrupting. These actions break the flow and can frustrate both bartenders and other patrons. Simply wait for your turn to order.

Avoid Asking for Extra Favors

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Respect the professionalism of the bartender by refraining from asking for extra favors. Whether it’s an extra shot or a free drink, it’s essential to recognize that bartenders have rules to follow. Asking for special treatment can make them feel awkward.

Don’t Request Weird Concoctions

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Keep your orders straightforward, and stop requesting overly complex concoctions. Bartenders are skilled at crafting various drinks, but asking for elaborate or unusual mixes can slow down service. Opt for classic cocktails or trusted favorites that are easy for the bartender to prepare.

Show Respect

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Create a harmonious atmosphere by being respectful towards everyone. Avoid distracting actions, engage politely with others, and make sure everyone can enjoy their time at the bar. Your positive attitude contributes to a friendly and welcoming environment everyone can appreciate.

Avoid Criticizing the Drink Selection

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Do not criticize the bar’s beer, liquor, or wine selection. It is vital to keep in mind that it is not the bartender’s responsibility. Rather, focus on enjoying the available options or politely inquire about alternatives.

Don’t Return a Drink

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In bars, only return drinks if there’s a genuine issue, such as it being incorrect or containing a foreign object. Do not return drinks based on taste alone. Show appreciation for the bartender’s expertise and maintain a positive atmosphere.

Open A Tab

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To keep the drinks flowing smoothly for everyone, open a tab if you plan to have more than one drink. This simple step helps maintain efficient service, ensuring everyone can enjoy without unnecessary delays. Plus, it makes it easier for you to settle up at the end of the night.

Respect the Establishment

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When you visit a bar, treat it like you would a friend’s house—respectfully. Avoid tearing labels, napkins, coasters, or menus. Being a “gerbil,” as it’s known in the industry, not only creates extra work for staff but also disrupts the atmosphere for others.

Respect Pricing Policies

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While wanting value for your money is understandable, complaining to the bartender about drink prices won’t change anything. They don’t have control over pricing. Enjoy the experience and focus on what the bar offers—a great atmosphere, quality service, and perhaps even a stunning view to complement your drink.

Mind Your Phone Etiquette

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In today’s digital age, it’s easy to get lost in our phones, but remember, you’re at a bar to enjoy the company. Keep your phone on silent and avoid making or taking calls inside. Step outside if you must make a call—whether it’s your mom or a business matter, it’s courteous to keep the noise level down for others trying to relax.

Own Up to Accidents

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Accidents happen, but it’s essential to take responsibility. If you spill something, let the staff know promptly. They’re there to guarantee everyone’s safety and comfort, not to judge. Addressing spills prevents potential slips and falls, keeping the environment safe for all patrons.

Check Your Bill

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Always review your bill before leaving. Occasionally, a drink might not be included by mistake—perhaps it was comped without your knowledge or simply missed. If you notice discrepancies, inform the staff politely. It’s not just about honesty; it certifies fairness for you and the establishment.

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