Friday, May 19, 2006

Raising the Bar: A Guide to Proper Bar Etiquette

Q: Where is the only place you can go where 1 guy can be celebrating a big day, another can be drowning his sorrows? In the same place a crack of a bat results in roars that drowns out music blaring from speakers? A place where you'll have just as much of a chance to catch up with old friends as make new ones?
A: A Bar!

The Bar is an universal spot in which magic can happen at any moment. Im not talking about clubs or trendy wine spots where drinks take a backseat to trendiness. Im talking about the bar/pub that combines courtesy and good humor with a hard wood bar and cleanly steamed pint glasses.

There is of course an etiquette to bars that many people overlook. In an attempt to carlify any erroneous information that is lurking out there, i have listed below the offical rules of Bar Etiquette.

1) Always say hello to your bartender. No matter how bad a day you've had - they are offically your server for the duration of your stay and they should be respected and acknowledged in a proper manner.

2) Always tip. Sure you're paying for your drink - but that price goes to the management. You barkeep is the middle man between you and the owner - and he should be rewarded with some type of payout. If the wise men could travel through the dessert for 3 days and brings gifts, you can leave a dollar a round.

3) At the same time, the bartender should buy you a drink back every 3rd round. Its just tradition. In irish bars they will usally knock on the bar to let you know its on them or if you are mid drink, but an upside down shot glass in front of you for your next round. If a bartender does not buy back after 3 rounds, you can discontinue tipping for the rest of your stay.

4) If you are meeting someone at a bar and are there first - you MUST make it clear in a loud voice..."Im meeting my friend ___ here and im a little early" before you order your first drink. That will allow other patrons to know you are neither crazy nor a real bad drunk who drinks by himself for fun.

5) Do not eat the bar peanuts if you are only staying for one drink.

6) Do play a few songs on the jukebox if you are staying for awhile, but under no circumstances are you to play a bunch of crappy songs as you leave to annoy the other patrons.

7) Encourage either a kitty or the round system. A kitty in a collection of money from everyone in your group (usually $20 each) that sits on the bar and is never touched. When the kitty gets low you either tip out and leave or put in another round of kitty money. The round system is universally known and anyone who leaves or cheapskates his turn (meaning he has been drinking top shelf liquor for every other round and now orders a Pabst can since he's up) in the round is automatically labled a bad bar buddy.

8) When economically feasible - send a drink down to the old man in the corner of the bar. He will appreciate the gesture, thus restoring his faith in the youth of america. He also might come over and tell you some great stories.

9) Refrain from counting how many beers you've had - that's JV.

10) Always shake the bartenders hand or give a yell to say thank you on your way out. Its a nice tip of the cap to a job well done and it makes you have regular status.


alchemist said...

I've never had a bartender buy a drink back, and I'm a good tipper. Maybe that just doesn't happen in Atlanta.

Cool site.

Dirk Calloway said...

I agree that a bartender buying a drink back is very rare. It only happens to me in one bar in Indy, but that bar is in fact an Irish Bar, confirming Pat Healy's theory that the Irish are the nice enablers of alcoholism. Drink up!

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