Appreciate your bartender: Dos and don’ts

It’s Bartender Appreciation Day! In honor of the gods and goddesses behind the stick, here are some “dos” and “don’ts” to help you be the best drunkard you can be—provided by our dear friend Haley, who tends bar in Portland, OR.



Thanks for appreciating all the ass kickin’, kissin’ and holes we deal with. Here’s some pointers to show you give a shit. Because saying “you work in the industry” doesn’t mean jack. Frankly, it can be a little insulting.

Your lovely bartender—off-duty

1. Pound on the bar to get my attention. I see you. I see the 50 other people standing around you, and the 4 that are immediately in front of me. Your lack of patience and common courtesy makes me want to make you wait longer.

2. Strike up a lively conversation and try to tell me a story when it’s really busy. On the average slow day, I might want to hear about the crazy bus ride you had. On a busy, loud, Friday night, all I want is a smile, your drink order, and a thank you. Even if I know you. Really.

3. Order a drink for your friend who’s been cut off. We cut people off for a reason. Overly drunk people aren’t fun for anyone—they’re too loud, sloppy, sometimes mean, and often cause a scene. Occasionally they vomit. Not in the bathroom. You’re not doing anyone any favors by stepping around the bartender’s judgment. Karma only dictates that you get thrown out when you’re caught, because the universe isn’t a perfect enough place that allows me to make you clean up their puke.

4. Order a drink with a crazy name if you don’t know what’s in it. I’m totally down to ask you what’s in a drink you’d like if I don’t know how to make it, but if you’re drinking it, YOU SHOULD KNOW. If “(your) boyfriend always orders for (you),” then talk to him some more about the Screaming Orgasm you’re after.

5. Apologize for not having enough money to leave a tip. Be a man about it and stiff me. Or don’t get one more drink. Or get your friend to buy you a drink. Or don’t go out and drink in bars when you know you can’t afford to get as drunk as you want. Drink at home, alone, where you belong.


1. Smile. You don’t like it when someone glared at you or gives you the stink-eye for no apparent reason, especially when you’re really busy. I don’t either.

2. Take the time to have a tiny conversation if your bartender’s not crazy busy. We’ll remember you better, be more attentive to someone who shows some personality, and hey, maybe even give you a lil extra some time.

3. Bring the empty glasses up from your table when you come up to order another drink. It’s always a pleasant surprise to see someone help you out, and if its really busy, people who bus their own tables are absolute angels.

4. Take the subtle, and not so subtle, cues that the bar is closing and leave accordingly. Last call is a good indication that you should get one last drink if you want one, close your tab, and begin the process of wrangling your crew. “10 Minutes!” Means ten minutes. Lights up, music off. Yeah, you should go.

5. Understand we’re working hard. Sometimes REALLY HARD, to make sure everyone has a good drink, a good time, and is safe. Tip accordingly. Strippers have people there to make folks who don’t tip leave the rack. With bartenders? You’re just going to get a weak drink in a hot glass and the communal wrath of the employees for your $1.20 tip on a 4 drink, $12.00 tab.

Have fun, Enthusiasts! Just remember the people serving you who you’re getting drunk around have to deal with all the other people who are also getting drunk. And we have to do it sober.