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8 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your Bartender a Shot

Restaurants + Bars
by Lisa Millar-Jones Apr 1, 2015

1. Don’t assume that we are allowed to drink.

Although bars seem more relaxed than perhaps, working at a bank, we are still on the clock. Drinking is still against the rules. However, we are rule breakers by nature so pass that shot over.

2. A shot is not a substitute for a tip.

Well, there goes your buyback shot. We still have the obligation of splitting our tips with everyone from our security to the house to the bussers based on our sales that night. Therefore, shorting us on a tip is a huge pain! When anyone buys anyone a shot it is considered a gift. My suggestion is consider what you may have spent on your round and estimate what a 20-percent tip would be.

3. Don’t get offended if we attempt to disguise or hide the fact that we are drinking.

Don’t worry, we aren’t disposing the booze down the sink, that’s alcohol abuse. We just don’t want to get caught on camera and have to deal with the boss upstairs.

4. If your bartender declines to have a shot, respect it.

Please don’t keep pushing or nagging us to have a shot. We may already be past our limit, maybe we are hungover, maybe we have a day job to wake up early for, maybe we are driving home that night, or maybe we are secretly pregnant (it happens). It’s not because we don’t like you…or maybe it is. We always appreciate the offer.

5. Let your bartender choose the shot.

Bartenders interact with all kinds of different people. We learn how to profile people very easily. We have the ability to learn a lot about a guest during our first very interaction and know how to read your friends. Chances are we will be able to introduce you to something your crew has never tried before while making everyone happy. Also, considering your generosity, we will likely take your bar tab into consideration.

6. If you are lucky enough for a bartender to surprise you with a shot, accept it without complaint.

Don’t say that you want to drink something different. Don’t say that you don’t drink shots. Don’t give it to a friend. Please remember that if we are buying you a shot on the house, we’re actually buying it for you. Contrary to popular belief, most bars don’t function on the honor system of reporting or not reporting alcohol usage. Be grateful and drink up!

7. Buying us a shot is NOT an ‘investment’ on us — regardless of sex.

Give me a break. Buying a bartender a shot (or anyone else for that manner) is a great icebreaker. However, we don’t need to give you something in return if we don’t want to. Don’t think that this is your way of acknowledging that you are willing to pay for us to get drunk in exchange for us to give you our number or sleep with you. Sorry, a drink is just a drink.

8. Don’t buy random bartenders undeserving shots.

We really don’t like when your generosity is being taken advantage of by mooches. It’s perfectly cool to buy ‘your’ bartender or someone you connect with a shot. Us bartenders work hard to build up our regular clientele and love being rewarded for it. And we will love you back and respect you for doing so.

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