8 Things Your Bartender Wants You to Know

As with all professions, bartenders have insight into their workplaces that the rest of us can’t match. And since their workplace is our playground, we polled a group of bartenders in Los Angeles for their pet peeves and found 8 essential tips to becoming the favorite customer.

Stay away from the service well.
Picture this: you walk up to a crowded bar but see an open spot at the end that no one is standing next to. You see plenty of server traffic and think this is a genius spot to post up and wait to order. WRONG. You are not the first person to see this magic hole and you have a better chance getting served in the thick of the crowd than trying to shortcut and stop a waiter or waitress. They will all purposely avoid you.

Patience is key.
Insert the DJ Khaled key emoji here. Ever wonder what the trick to getting served quickly is? While it differs for every bartender, there are a few general rules: No waving money. No banging on the bar. The best way to get someone’s lasting attention is to make eye contact. Have your card in hand and look ready to order. Don’t even think about waving it. And above all? BE. PATIENT.

Order all at once.
Order all your drinks at the same time. Don’t ask for two drinks and then when they return, ask for two more.You just doubled your transaction time, which doubled the wait for the next person, and annoyed your bartender. Chances are they have a great memory and if they can’t handle your lengthy order, they will come back and ask you again.

It’s ok to not know what to order.
BUT you need to have a general direction.
BAD CUSTOMER: “I don’t really know what I want. Can you give me something sweet?”
GOOD CUSTOMER: “I don’t really know what I want. Can you give me something sweet with vodka?”
Know what you want or at least a few specifics to help them get the ball rolling before you get their attention.

Never say “make it strong”.
DO: Order a double. DO: Ask for an extra shot. The phrase “make it strong” implies you want more alcohol for free.

Don’t put trash in your glass.
Receipts? Napkins? Much easier to grab off a bar than to dig out of a tiny glass. It’s the little things.

Remember that bartending isn’t easy.
Believe it or not, drunk people leave behind some pretty gross messes, do some heinous things, and don’t always leave the best tips. Yes, bartending might seem more fun than sitting behind a desk all day, but that doesn’t make it any less work. Bartenders are on their feet for hours at a time and do a lot of dirty work apart from simply making cocktails. A little compassion for the industry goes a long way.

Bartenders are humans, not robot drink machines.
So don’t be annoyed if they ask you not to sit on the pool table. They aren’t deliberately trying to make you look like a dork while you fail to impress that girl in the crop top. They are trying to keep their manager from reaming them at 3 am. They may not like the rules, but they like their job. And they aren’t deliberately avoiding you in a crowd of people. Unless you waived money at them or didn’t leave a tip last time. If you did that, we can’t help you. Bartenders work on tips and get a big fat X through the tip line more often than waitresses. A general rule is 20% or $1, whichever is more. Tip generously for complicated shots since it took you and your friends a whopping 6 seconds to down their 5 minutes of work. If you plan on returning to a bar frequently, tip well and often.


Feel like staying in tonight? Order Saucey and have your drink of choice delivered to your door in 40 minutes or less.

  • Taylor Hansen

    My friends and I are trying to find a new sports bar since the old one we used to go to closed down yesterday. I liked that you said to order all of your drinks at once to not waste time for the bartender. We’ll keep this in mind as we go bar hopping and find a new place to hang out.

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