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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

26 Things Your Bartender Won’t Tell You

Bartenders share their secrets, tips, and best etiquette advice.

1 / 26

Yell, whistle, or wave money and I’m going to make you wait

Make eye contact and smile, and I’ll come over as soon as I can. Know what you want and have your money ready. Don’t create a traffic jam. Here are 15 witty bar jokes anyone can remember.

2 / 26

Start a tab

 If I swipe your card five times this evening, that’s five times as much paperwork I have to do at 4 a.m.

3 / 26
iStock/Julia Sudnitskaya

You want a drink made “strong”

Then order a double—for double the price. By the way, here’s what your choice of drink says about you.

4 / 26

Liquor sales in bars and restaurants were down 2.2 percent last year

Even beer sales are slow. But people scrimp on food first, drinks second. Here’s how to save money when you eat out.

5 / 26

A lot of bars have comp tabs, which allows me to give away drinks

 It’s smart business and helps build a base of regulars.

6 / 26
iStock/Laur_Kalevi Tamm

 Bars that don’t have regulars (in hotels, airports) have started using wireless gadgets

…that measure how much is poured and automatically ring up each shot. They’re meant to prevent overpouring and to cut losses, but I don’t like them—neither do customers.

7 / 26

If your tipping guideline is still ‘a buck a drink,’ listen closely

That doesn’t fly if you order a $12 cocktail. Tip at least 15 percent. Brush up with this handy guide for tipping before you go out.

8 / 26

 At some bars, the sliced fruit garnishes sit out until they’re gone

Sometimes for days. Munch accordingly.

9 / 26

The smoothest guys compliment a woman, then walk away

It’s very non-threatening. These punny food pickup lines will have anyone laughing.

10 / 26

I have the police on speed dial

And I never hesitate to call. Follow these 17 tips to help cut back on alcohol.

11 / 26

 Don’t order a round of drinks after last call

 Last call applies to everyone—even you.

12 / 26

Some of us get a cut from the cab company when we call a taxi for a tipsy patron

Not that I’ve ever done that, of course. Here are the 8 reasons behind how you got tipsy so quickly in the first place.

13 / 26

 We see some petty drama on occasion

Last week, a couple had a little too much to drink and got into a dumb argument. They then asked me to choose the “winner” of the fight. There isn’t a tip big enough to get me involved in that situation!

14 / 26

 If I cut you off, don’t argue

If anything, you should apologize if you’ve made a scene. Watch out for these signs you might be binge drinking without even realizing it!

15 / 26

 Get a room

The more you make out with your date, the closer you are to being cut off.

16 / 26

 I’ve heard it all

One guy told me I had the worst smile he‘d ever seen. I found out that he thinks a girl won’t remember him unless he puts her down. I guess it worked; I’m telling you this story three weeks later. Don’t miss these hilarious drinking quotes guaranteed to make you spit your drink out.

17 / 26

Think tending bar isn’t a real career

You’re wrong. The craft of bartending is coming back, and some of us are even called “mixologists” now.

18 / 26

I love sharing what I know

 If it’s not busy, ask me about the history of drink or the latest cocktail I’ve invented.

19 / 26

I like a sophisticated palate

You’ll win points with me if you request gin in your martini. But if you prefer your bottle of beer, here are the 6 surprising reasons why beer is actually good for you.

20 / 26
iStock/Pamela Moore

 My knees hurt

Bar mats prevent slipping, but I really like them for the cushioning. I use sole inserts in my shoes, too.

21 / 26

 I can tell if your date is going well or not

And I notice if you bring in a new date every week. Make sure you know the things that happen to your body when you quit drinking alcohol.

22 / 26

Everyone should bartend a few nights in his life

You learn so much about people.

23 / 26

I’m not a piece of meat

If you’re going to hit on me all night, at least leave a big tip.

24 / 26
iStock/David Sucsy

 The songs you pick on the jukebox usually play as you leave

I’ve seen it happen so many times. Every single time!

25 / 26
iStock/Rich Legg

 I do more than mix drinks

I love being your psychiatrist-matchmaker-entertainer-friend. Otherwise, I wouldn’t tend bar.

26 / 26

Please take a cab

Be smart, know your limits, and don’t drink and drive. Next, learn about the wine terms you should know how to use if you love wine!

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest