A Primer on Bar Etiquette

As a general matter, I prefer not to replicate large portions of articles published elsewhere.  Instead, where possible, I try to quote others’ words to make my own points.  Yet on certain occasions, an article will so inspire me that I must pass its information along verbatim.  This is one of those rare occasions.

This month’s Esquire (June/July 2011) included a two page graphic (pages 158-159), titled How to be a Man…Out in the World, by Chris Jones.  The graphic provided etiquette tips on how a modern man might best present himself in various situations and settings, such as In Public, In a Restaurant, and At the Bar, among others.  It was this last category – At the Bar – that I considered particularly insightful and applicable.  I hope you will as well.

How to Order a Drink: Get as close to the bar as possible in a position where you can make eye contact.  Then wait patiently, card or cash in hand.  No waving or shouting.  And don’t cut in front of anyone else.

How to Order a Drink for a Lady: Discreetly.  Ask the bartender to put her next drink on your tab.  When she receives it, politely wave.  Then wait – the next move (if there is one) is hers to make.

How to Get a Buyback: Do: Buy a few rounds and tip well.  Don’t: Ask for a buyback.

How to Deal with an Asshole at the Bar: Calmly.  Ask him to politely keep it down.  If he persists, not so calmly, but firmly.  Never lose your temper.  Unless punches fly.

Additionally, a piece of restaurant etiquette – How to Split the Bill – is just as applicable when drinking. 

How to Split the Bill: With friends: evenly.  Always.  On Business: the inviter pays.  With parents or in-laws: let them pay.  First date: man pays.  Fifth date: Man pays, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon.

One final observation: the word politely appears twice in the Esquire piece; a gentleman could go far in employing this characteristic as much as possible while enjoying a favorite beverage, especially when in the company of his woman.

Picture courtesy of Adam Simpson and Esquire

Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 7:34 am  Comments (2)  
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  1. Yo THF!

    Haven’t made it that far into the July issue. I had a feeling that this was gonna be a great issue when I saw that it had a Louis CK interview. That guy is a riot! Anyway… looking forward to working my way through the rest of the magazine.


  2. Interesting. I didn’t know a house comp’d drink happened with such regularity that it had the “buyback” as a universal term. Perhaps because most of my drinking in a pub hasn’t been belly up at the bar…

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