Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to tip a bartender

How will you be spending New Year's Eve?

I'll be in Manhattan, Ks., the Little Apple. I'll watch the Little Apple drop  and exploring Aggieville for the second year in a row with my friends Layne and Abigail, and this year my roommate Katie will be there too!

As you celebrate the new year, whether you're going out, setting off fireworks, or just watching the ball drop at home in your PJs, I wish you a safe and merry start to 2012.

And if you are going out, I hope you'll remember your bartender!

Think back through those hazy nights at busy bars with the bass pounding: pushing through crowds, struggling to reach the bar, then leaning over it and trying to make eye contact. 

Your thoughts were probably about how long it was taking; you were sure she just looked at you but chose to help the cute guy next to you instead. What a bitch, right?

In your current state of sobriety, think a little harder. Was there a glass vase or plastic pitcher full of cash money anywhere between you and your next drank?

That, my friends, is the bartenders tip jar, and you should be helping to fill it.

I know, I know. The bartender is only filling a drink for you then moving on. But through the course of the night, he or she may get you three or four drinks (or five or six...) and each one is taking time. Like waitresses, your bartender probably isn’t getting paid full wages--the bulk of his income is coming from those tips. 

My sister Emily has been a bartender for more than five years. She’s bartended a country bar, a mmtss mmtss dance bar, at a restaurant and at private parties. She even mixes drinks for our extended family when we all get together. Here’s what she had to say about tipping your bartender:

“If they’re just getting beers all night, I don't mind if they don't tip as much. All I'm doing is taking the cap off and handing you the bottle--so maybe a dollar every three beers is good. 

But if you’re getting mixed drinks or shots, that’s taking my time. You should tip a dollar every time for those.” 
Some other pointers for being a good bar patron?

Don’t just start ordering when I'm close to you but not looking at you for your order,” Emily said. “So annoying.”

Emily is also annoyed by patrons who wave their money in her face (when is that ever acceptable?) and people who snap, whistle or yell to get her attention.

To get your drinks faster, you can also get a group order together--if you’re in a group getting the same drink, order all at once. Three whiskey cokes in one trip is easier for you and your bartender.

If you’re at a busy bar, keep your drink simple--one or two ingredients: rum and coke, vodka cranberry, whiskey sour. Your bartender doesn’t have time to measure out six ingredients for your one drink, and might not even know the name or make-up of your drink. 

Images from herehere and here.

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