The Bar Belle

Tip sheet
As familiar as I am with both sides of the bar, I find myself constantly surprised at people’s ignorance when it comes to tipping, and common bar etiquette in general. How do I get the bartender’s attention? Why is this drink so weak? Do I need to tip for a beer — all they did was twist a cap off?

It boils down to this — those who exhibit patience and generosity win in the end. Tip a buck after every drink you order. That’s all we ask. Well, maybe not all. While I’m thinking about it:

Don’t whistle at us. Learn our name. Don’t pound your empty glass on the bar. Don’t expect a decent pour if you failed to tip the first time. Don’t wink at us. Don’t flirt. It’s creepy. The way to a bartender’s heart is through her tip jar. Don’t ask for more than one lemon. Don’t come back from vacation and expect us to know how to make a Sloe Comfortable Screw Against the Wall. You’re in Kentucky. Know that Jack is not bourbon. And when you order “a beer,” try to narrow it down to one of the 20 or 30 we carry. Don’t ask for a “Gin and Juice.” That’s just ridiculous. Don’t order 15 Jagerbombs and be surprised that your tab is more than $100. Don’t skip out on your tab. We will remember. Don’t leave a pathetic tip on your tab. We will remember that, too. Don’t hit “Play Now” on the jukebox. We have the remote and it has a skip button. Don’t get belligerent. Don’t fight. Don’t cry. Don’t make out in the bathrooms. Don’t pay in change. Don’t tip in change. Don’t ask us to make it stronger. Especially when the owner is in the building. Great drinks come only after a relationship is formed.

That’s it. Simple, easy guidelines to make your time at the bar more fulfilling. We’re not asking for the moon. We’re asking for respect. A buck in a jar. We’ll scratch your back if you scratch ours.

Where’s a good place to get half-priced wine? Let me know at [email protected], or post a comment on my blog at