Slow service can be really frustrating in bars, we all want our beer as soon as possible. Or our Mojito, or Old Fashioned (but we’ll come to that). Here’s a list of ways you can make sure you’re not making the wait worse for yourself by making the bartender make you wait.
1: We are not dogs, and we don’t answer to whistles.
Seriously, I think this has happened to every bartender at some point, and seriously, I don’t think anyone has ever been served faster as a result. I would put money on the fact that the bartenders were not just standing around ignoring you, but quite possibly busy making someone else a drink, or making sure their bar is ready for a night of doing so. If the bartender truly looks like they’ve not noticed you and they’re not in the middle of serving someone else’s drink, just say hi.
2: If you look friendly, we’ll serve you faster than if you look angry.
Bartenders aren’t out to have an argument. They don’t tend to lead to particularly good tips, and bartenders do like particularly good tips. Happy, friendly people are more likely to provide these, so guess what? They can have their drink before the moody guy next to them.
3: Don’t wave money in our faces.
When you stand at the bar looking at us, which you follow up by ordering a beverage (or even perhaps a whole round), we will assume that you have the money to pay for it, EVEN IF you have forgotten to wave it at us as some form of proof before placing your order. You see, it sounds really silly when you read it written like that, doesn’t it – imagine how silly you look waving your wages at us. If you do feel the need, you can hold some cash in your hand, we don’t mind, just, don’t feel the need to flap it about.
4: Know what you want to order.
There is little more frustrating for a busy bartender than asking what you’d like, and having you turn around to ask your friends what they want. Please have your order ready if you’re standing at the bar waiting for my attention. I’m happy to advise you on the menu and find the perfect beer wine or cocktail for you and your date, but you should really have asked your buddy if he wants a beer before you waved that money at me (see 3).
5. Know EVERYTHING you want to order.
Bartenders that work in busy bars can usually remember your order more than one drink at a time, and may well be able to hold your 5 drink order in their head while making three other orders and taking a payment from someone else, so when we ask what you’d like, we’ll take your whole order, and then we won’t have to go to the fridge three times to get your three bottles of Budweiser. If we weren’t expecting such a big round, we’ll let you know and come back for the second half, but let us decide when we need to.
6. If you want a Guinness, order that first.
Yes, this one’s a little specific, and as long as you order your whole round in one go (see 5) it probably won’t be a problem, but when we bring you all your drinks and THEN you ask for a Guinness, its your own time you’re wasting. Same goes for other beers that need time to settle, but Guinness is the most regular culprit.
7. If the bar is 4 deep, please avoid cocktails that take forever.
Now, this is a slightly tricky ones. Professional bartenders (especially those who take the time to read this website I would guess) love to make quality drinks, and we know how much people enjoy Mojitos, an Old Fashioned etc, however – these do take some time to make. Same goes for big rounds of layered shooters. What we hate, is having to make drinks that should be great, just… okay because we’re pushed for time. Also you’re likely to get some hate from the other customers around the bar when you make the bartender spend 5 mins stiring your Old Fashioned. So if you don’t mind, try to avoid the drinks that take a while to make right. Try shaken shots if you’re not too fussy, and you’ll keep the barkeep on your side!
8. Bottled Beers are Faster Than Tap.
Your bartender will be infinitely happy if you order 10 bottled beers for you and your buddies over ordering 10 pints of beer. This is because while you pour a beer, you’re basically stuck standing just holding a glass, while 10 beers can easily be grabbed and popped open in the time it takes to pour one. I even know of bars in London where the chain installed tap beers, and the beer pipes would mysteriously keep getting cut in the cellar area. Nobody knows how this happened, but the bartenders continued to sell bottled beers quickly serve everyone faster. Just saying…
9. As Busy As We Are, We’re Probably Happy to Chat.
We’re humans too and love a bit of banter with our guests, and if we’re chatting with you, guess what, you’ve already got our attention when you want your next drink, and we’ll probably offer it before you realise you need it. We’re good like that.
If your bartender is working hard, tip them well. While this won’t help you get your first drink more quickly (and I’ve given you nine tips above for how to do that anyway), it will certainly get you served faster for the rest of the night if you tip fairly and consistently. Bartenders generally work for pretty crappy wages, so we work our asses off in order that you enjoy your night and reward us. If we do a great job serving you, it makes sense, and we’ll thank you with quick service in future. On this point though, try to go back to the same bartender all night, go to the same part of the bar, and you’ll have ‘your’ bartender for the night.
Image Credit Kul Bhamra