You may think that it is easy to saunter into the local watering hole, sit down and order a drink, but in reality, there is proper bar etiquette to follow. This will benefit you, the bartender and everyone else in the bar.


proper bar etiquette

Never Say THIS to the Bartender


First, we will show you some things that you should do. Then, we will show you some things that you should not do, as these can result in getting you thrown out and banned from an establishment.




Be Polite


Be polite and always use “please” and “thank you”.  This is the base-line for being a decent human being, and it should be practiced every time you enter a bar or club.



Be Ready


Always have your money ready when your bartender returns with your drink.  This will keep things moving along very smoothly.


Keep it Simple


Order all your drinks at the same time, as this will save you time (as you can return to your company). This will also give the bartender the ability to take care of other waiting customers.

Wait your turn, even if you are just ordering a glass of water.




Make Assumptions


Don’t assume that soft drinks are free.  Everyone on the road appreciates the fact that you may have volunteered to be a designated driver for the evening. However, that does not mean that the establishment is required to provide you with soft drinks for free.


Argue with the Bartender


Do not question the bartender or argue about your tab.  Remember, the bartender is the sober one.  If your tab says that you have had 10 drinks, then it is more than likely that you had 10 drinks. Ask for a manager if you believe you are right.


Leave Drinks Unattended


Do not leave your drinks unattended on the bar.  First of all, someone, with not so honorable intentions, may put something dangerous in your drink.  In addition, if a drink is left unattended on the bar, it is assumed by the bartender, that you are finished and it will be thrown out.


Ask for a Drink Tray


Don’t ask for a tray to carry your drinks, because you probably will not get one.  Customers are not insured, and if there is an accident involving a tray then the bar will be liable.  Either bring a friend to the bar with you, or make two trips back and forth from your table. 


Complain about Prices


Don’t complain about the prices to the bartender, they don’t make them, and they do not have the authority to adjust.  If you are not happy with the prices, it is advised that you order something different or choose a different establishment.

Here are some additional DO NOT's:

As you can see, the “do not’s” outweigh the “do’s”. There are, however a couple of Nevers.





Touch the Bartender


Never touch the bartender, as you may get tossed out!  This is very poor bar etiquette.  If the bartender wants to interact with you on that level, they will initiate it.


Go Behind the Bar


This is similar to a customer walking in front of a cash register at a retail store.  If you attempt this, you will be “escorted” out, and worse possibly arrested!


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