Thursday, November 17, 2011

late night bar etiquette - taking a pass

Imagine yourself lined up at a busy bar, you've been waiting a few minutes which has given you a chance to notice the bartenders working hard and fast behind the bar in hopes of serving everyone all the alcohol they could ever want.  You notice that the person to your right has been waiting just a few moments longer than you.

Now, you consider yourself to be polite, you don't butt in line, you hold doors open for old ladies.  That's nice.  But when the bartender turns to you, nearly frantic with the movement of multiple orders swirling in his/her brain, ready to take your order, DO NOT offer your turn to the person to your right.  Unless of course you aren't ready to order or intend to wait for your next turn, which could fall somewhere after everyone else already waiting at the bar.

You see, giving your turn to someone else is nice, but it DOES NOT mean that you will then in turn be served next.  The time it takes for you to pass your turn to someone else is the time it could have taken you to say "coorslight bottle" at which point the bartender would turn to the next person anyway for a multiple order.  You don't know if the next person is going to order a round of shooters for the whole bar along with a couple of pints for his friends and a cocktail for the pretty thing at the other end of the bar.  You have essentially made yourself wait quite a long time.

And don't go mentioning to the bartender that you were next.  We have a loose idea of who is next, it is at our discretion and though it may not be 100% accurate, we are the booze gods so what we decide is pretty much the law of the universe as far as alcohol consumption goes.


  1. but what if MY order is a round of shooters for the whole bar along with a couple of pints for my friends and I know the guy next to me who has been waiting longer just wants a coorslight bottle? same rule applies?

  2. You raise an interesting question... I would say to go ahead and order, the bartender has a rhythm, the point I'm trying to emphasize is that second guessing the bartender slows down the entire process ultimately making everyone wait longer. Like the butterfly effect.

  3. the Chew is a bar snob, eh?
    Geeze, Chew, I was a bartender in another life.
    Just serve the damned drinks and shuddupalready.

  4. Ah JC, so true, I am a bit of a bar snob, though I do also 'just serve the damned drinks'. Hoping to make things smoother and easier on everyone, through education, that's all. Thanks for all your comments, you keep me on my toes!

  5. When I was a 'mixologist', it was easy to keep the flow going...just ignore the finger snappers, droolers, and "hey, you, bartender"-ers. That easily weeds out about 40% of the people who are waiting to be served.
    Love your blog, by the way.
    I'm not in the restaurant biz anymore, but still in customer service, so many of your points carry over into that sector --
    I tell ya, I could write a blog.........