Bar Etiquette: Do’s & Don’ts

Just turn 21? Never been out to a crowded bar on a Friday or Saturday night? Anyone’s first time in a bar may be intimidating, so we compiled these “Do’s and Don’ts” that will help you navigate the drunken world of bars without embarrassment.

Do: Tip well

Twenty percent is the bare minimum that you should be expecting to tip when going into a bar. If the service was good or you regularly drink there, 25% is more acceptable. Even if you just order a beer, expect to leave a few dollars. “If you don’t have enough money to tip, then you don’t have enough money to go out” is a good way of looking at it.

Don’t: Be afraid to ask for drink recommendations

Unless the bar you’re at is packed, the bartender will probably appreciate you asking their opinion. The key aspect here is to have an idea of what you already like. Nothing is worse than a customer who has absolutely no idea what they like and then ends up hating the recommendation.

Do: Be responsible

Knowing your limit is extremely important at a bar. You should play it safe and have a designated driver or plan to take a taxi every night. Don’t put your bartender in a bad position by putting yourself behind the wheel after a night of boozing. Keep in mind that everyone thinks they are more sober than they are when drinking. If your friends tell you that you’re looking sloppy, they’re most likely correct.

 Don’t: Go out when you’re feeling sad

Obviously, emotions run high when alcohol is involved. That being said, if you’re already emotional, alcohol is not going to solve the problem. Chances are, you’re going to be more upset once alcohol is added into the mix. This is how people get into fights and get themselves banned from bars.

Going along the same lines, if you’re going to cry, please don’t do it at the bar. That’s just humiliating for everyone involved. People go out to have a good time, not watch a fight or see a grown person sob like a child. Do yourself a favor and hop in a cab if you start feeling like crying.

Do: Bring cash and a card

Don’t start a tab for only one drink. Don’t pay cash if you’re buying round after round. You can always start a tab and pay for cash at the end, but making your bartender make change every time gets old. A lot of bars also have a card minimum, so make it easier on everyone and carry both. Also, make sure you close your tab at the end of the night. Waking up realizing you left your card at a bar that’s not open again until next Thursday is not a fun way to spend the next few days.

Don’t: Be oblivious

Everyone knows not to leave their drink unattended at the bar. It’s also important to keep an eye out and be aware of your surroundings. It’s a good idea to  hang on to your purse, wallet and phone at all times. If someone at the bar is making you uncomfortable, tell the bouncer or bartender.

Do: Be patient

If you’re going into a bar, you’re agreeing to be around other people. This may mean having to wait a few minutes for a drink. Don’t wave your hands or snap to get a bartender’s attention. Definitely don’t ever touch the bartender! More times than not, the bartender will seek out the people who politely make eye contact and seem the most sober. Loudly complaining about how slow the service is will only slow down the rate at which you get drinks.

There are many “Do’s and Don’t’s” when going out. These are a few of the big ones for first time bar-goers. As you go out with friends more and more often you will pick up more subtle rules of the bar.

Written by the staff at Willie’s Pub and Pool. Willie’s has great drink specials and is one of the most atmospheric sports bars Columbia Mo has to offer.

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