Now, this may seem very basic to many of you and after all ordering a drink should only require a little common sense right? Well, it would be that simple if everyone had common sense, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. Ordering a drink actually requires some technique. Of course, if you are a regular at the bar it will give you a huge advantage over those who aren’t. For those of you exploring a new bar or just a bar you don’t happen to be a regular at, these tips are for you!
I know it can be frustrating when you’re trying to order a drink and it seems like no matter what you do or where you stand, the bartender doesn’t acknowledge you. Believe it or not, most bartenders do keep a mental note of who is next and try to help customers in some kind of order. The system isn’t fool proof when dealing with a crowded bar when every customer thinks they were there first, so try to be patient.
Now, I’m well aware of the bartenders who think they’re god’s gift to alcohol and make you feel like they’re doing YOU a favor by taking your order. Let’s face it, I want your tip just as much as you want your drink so bottom line is that we both want something from each other so why play games?
In order to figure out how to get the bartender’s attention, you need to know what to avoid. Just because a bartender’s head is down does not mean they aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. We have our heads down most of the time to make drinks (after all that is our job), we need to watch our pour, get ice, locate the alcohol/ingredients to make your drinks, etc. The lack of eye contact serves a purpose at times, it is not intended to ignore you so don’t take it personal. Having said that, when you wave your hands in the air like a maniac from the other end of the bar it isn’t a trigger for us to rush over to you immediately and take your order. In fact, it does the opposite and you just got yourself a free pass to the back of the line, congratulations!
Being an asshole never gets you very far in life and the bar industry is no exception. If you start swearing at the bartender or lecturing them about how long you’ve been in line you’re just going to end up waiting even longer. We’re bartenders not morons (well I can’t speak for everyone). If you’re already pissed off before you’ve placed your order you’re probably going to stiff me on the tip and be an asshole once I get to you, so what’s the point of dealing with you? If I move to the next person who isn’t complaining I at least have a 50/50 chance of getting a tip and hopefully a 100% chance of not getting any attitude.
Telling a bartender you’re next and you’ve been waiting a long time is another topic to avoid. Like I said, we do our best to ensure everyone gets their drink as quickly as possible. Most of the people who say they’ve been waiting for 20 minutes are exaggerating and probably haven’t even waited 10 minutes. When you’re in a crowded bar and the bartenders appear to be moving quickly there isn’t much more that can be done. You just have to be patient and wait your turn, being polite helps too.
After all people, you’re in the bar/club to grab some drinks and have a good time. Why start the night being pissed off because you had to wait a few extra minutes to get your drink. All it will do is ruin your night and it definitely won’t make your drinks magically appear. So just chill out and relax. You’ll attract the bartender’s attention much quicker if you look like you’re having a good time than you will if you look pissed off. Keep this in mind, the more customers I help, the more potential there is for me to make money. Ultimately it doesn’t benefit me in anyway to ignore you or avoid serving drinks. So smile, be patient and know that I’m trying to get to you as quickly as I can. Hopefully we can both benefit from this mutual understanding- you can get your drink on and I can bring in that cash money!