How To Get The Best Possible Service At The Bar, According To The Pros

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We’ve already established in previous posts that visiting bars and pubs is pretty much a given during the holiday season. They’re the best places catch up with friends, relatives, or co-workers (coffee is for suckers!). But, if you’re planning to visit your local watering hole during the holidays, you’re likely to be met with large crowds and long waits for your favorite cocktails.

Are you someone who doesn’t mind watching everyone around you get served while you stand there growing thirstier and thirstier for the Manhattan or Cosmopolitan that seems like it’s almost within arm’s reach? Or, do you want to get served right away and have the bartender keyed in on you the second you’re ready for round two?

We asked some of our favorite bartenders for tips to help us get the best possible service during the holidays.

Thank them

Ryan Andrews, lead bartender at Prohibition in San Diego

“As hospitality ambassadors, our goal is to ensure guests have a great time enjoying our establishments and the beverages and cocktails we create for them. Thanking your bartender goes further than you can possibly imagine, and we never forget the people who remind us why we do what we do.”

Keep your tab open

Joe Masse, beverage director at The Woodstock in New York City

“Keep your tab open. It’s just courtesy. Having your bartender swipe your credit card every round makes everyone else wait longer, makes the bartender pissy, and actually costs the bar more money which eventually may lead to pricier drinks at your favorite watering hole. Also, don’t treat your bartender/server like they’re beneath you. Long gone are the days of every bartender doing this as a way to get somewhere else.”

Be nice

Jason Rodriguez beverage director at HALL in New York City

“Just be a good person. The energy goes both ways. Any good bartender is here to make sure that you have the best experience possible. But sometimes we get in the weeds and we might get a little overwhelmed when 10 tickets just shot out at once from the floor. We’re human and also understand that we’re still at work — so just acknowledging that and having some patience during those moments is really appreciated. I will always go the extra mile further for guests who are like that.”

Tip well

Dave Bach, general manager at Sierra Gold in Las Vegas

“What are some things customers do to get the best possible service from bartenders? Eye contact and good manners – a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can go a long way. If you’re paying cash for your rounds, a decent tip to get started will always help, too.”

Use proper manners

Allison Villarreal beverage director at South House in Jersey City, New Jersey

“Customers who use their manners will most likely get the best service. Never forget to say “please” and “thank you” to your bartenders, it goes a long way.”

Show patience
Jonathan Pogash, Northeast Regional Vice President of the United States Bartenders Guild

“Be a kind and patient bar patron. Really – kindness and respect are key. Treat the bartender with dignity just as you would treat any of your friends or colleagues. Also, allowing the bartender and the venue to shine by ordering their specialty cocktail does help. Don’t be shy to order the drinks, whether they look complicated or not. They are on the menu for you to try.”

Don’t treat bartenders like robots

Gio Giorgobiani, Beverage Director at The VNYL in New York City

“What are some things customers do to get the best possible service from bartenders? For me, being friendly and actually acknowledging that we are human and not just robots at work will do just fine.

Introduce yourself

Kenneth McCoy, chief creative officer of Public House Collective in New York City

“We are all humans and we need to be more pleasant to one another. Treat your bartender as you would like to be treated. Smile, introduce yourself, compliment, these all work well and also use their name if you know it… Hello, Kenny great to see you!”

Become a regular

Tara Shadzi, bartender at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood

“Becoming a regular is a great way to get the best service. A smile, a decent tip, and a familiar face, and you will always be treated like a king. At BOA, we are blessed with so many regulars that we also call our friends. You can bet that they get the best service.”

Assess your surroundings

Matthias Hinrichs, bartender at Public Belt Bar and Lounge in New Orleans

“Just be aware of the environment. If the bar is full and you see the bartender making drinks, wait patiently. Please and thank you should be used as well. In the end, however, everyone should get great service.”