The Important Etiquette Tip To Remember When Ordering Drinks At A Bar

There's an unwritten lexicon of dos and don'ts for ordering drinks at a bar, and today we're zeroing in on one rule in particular: Don't wave money to get a bartender's attention.

The right way to get your bartender's attention is as follows: Lean forward against the bar and try to make eye contact with them. Do not shout, do not wave your hands, and do not point or snap your fingers. The best thing you can do is wait patiently for them to finish making whatever they're actively working on and notice you standing there purposefully. Don't be too intense about the eye contact, either. Your bartender doesn't want to feel like they're neglecting you. Just keep your cool, try to catch their eye, and be ready to order.

Here's the thing: A large part of the bartending job falls under the umbrella of "party liaison," and a good bartender wants to help you have a nice night. The thing is, they also want that fabulous destiny for every other patron in the bar, meaning you'll have to hop in line and wait for them to reach your turn. A helpful move can be to visibly grip some cash in your hand, so the bartender can see that you're trying to place an order. But, under no circumstances should that bill be hoisted into the air and waved like a "pick me" flag. That's a bad look, and you've just bumped yourself to the back of the line.

A little patience goes a long way

If it's a weekend and the joint is packed to the gills, there's a way to save yourself multiple trips to the bar and subsequent spars with the thirsty throng. Expedite the process for future orders by sticking to the same drink order all night, and keeping it simple and memorable. By the time you go up for your third round of High Life and well whiskey, a pro will see your face and associate it with your order. Just a brief moment of eye contact will be all it takes for them to produce a beer and a shot and put it on your tab. Baddabing baddaboom. 

This ordering tip also works with straightforward cocktails like a G&T, but if your "usual" is a Sloe Gin Fizz, prepare to wait. Be aware that your order requires extra attention to assemble, whereas your bartender can quickly slam out a highball and move on to the next patron. If you don't see a physical line forming at the bar, rest assured — a professional bartender is always mentally keeping track of who's next, and even if you're certain that person is you, trust your bartender to do their job. From behind the bar, they have a better vantage point of the spread of patrons than you do — and if you tip 'em the full $10 on the first round rather than waving that bill in the air, chances are you're getting your second drink faster.