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The How-To Lounge: Getting Served at a Crowded Bar

Have you ever wondered why some people have an easier time than others getting a drink at a crowded bar? A fun night out with your friends can turn frustrating if the bartender keeps passing you by. You really only need two things to get a drink: Good positioning and a good attitude.

For some helpful tips on how to get served at a crowded bar

  • The most important thing to remember at a crowded bar is to keep your cool and keep patient. Don't be pushy or snappy or snarly, and don't wave money around in hopes of getting the bartender's attention
  • If the line is a few people deep, wait your turn and shimmy your way up once you see an opening, and stand your ground. Never stand in front of the waitress station; that will not help your cause
  • As soon as you're positioned, make eye contact with the bartender and make an impression. Smile, wink, give any small, friendly gesture that might help you get reprioritized
  • When the bartender looks at you, be ready to tell him or her exactly what you want. In a crowded bar, try to keep your drink order simple. Complicated specialty drinks will just slow down the process, creating more frustration for other patrons
  • Don't mumble your order. Sometimes using your hands to help describe your order or the number of drinks is a good idea in a loud, crowded bar
  • Bartenders like it when you pay in cash, especially for small orders, Cardinal rule: don't forget to tip well. As a rule of thumb, tip $1 per drink, but if you want to make a good impression, an extra dollar or two isn't a bad idea and might expedite things next round
  • Bartenders typically serve familiar faces and regulars before anyone else, so get to know your bartender on slow nights
  • No matter how long the line, keep your cool and be polite. Bartenders don't tolerate impatient or rude customers. You'll be remembered for nice manners and a friendly demeanor

As the days get longer and the weather warmer, I'm sure your favorite restaurants and bars will get more and more crowded. Keep these tips in mind. And cheers!


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