Photo: Lyudvig Aristarhovich/Shutterstock

How to Properly Compliment a Bartender

by Melissa Allen Aug 1, 2018

Flattery will get you everywhere, if you know how to do it effectively. When it comes to bartenders, we can be a tricky lot to read, but there are still many ways for you to make our shift as pleasant as possible. From trusting us to make a decent drink to accepting our suggestions, here are seven tips on how to properly compliment a bartender.

1. Admire our shake.

In other words, compliment us on our bartending technique. Bartending is part show, so if you admire how noiselessly we can stir a cocktail or how expertly we can build several drinks at once, let us know. We all like to be noticed for our skills.

2. Appreciate our attentiveness.

What often separates a great bartender from a good one isn’t the quality of their cocktails, it’s how they manage their bar. A great bartender makes their patrons feel seen and acknowledged even when they’re busy at the other end of the bar. Was your water glass always refilled? Were your plates cleared quickly? Did we offer you another round? Compliment us on those little things.

3. Acknowledge when we cater to specific needs.

Do you like your martini made with rigid specificity? Are you particular about the vermouth in your Negroni? Bartenders don’t mind picky guests. In fact, it’s better to be overly particular, than to have no idea what you want. But if we make your martini perfectly, let us know.

4. Approach us with respect.

Bars are often informal environments, but we’re still professionals and the bar is our office. If you want to compliment us, ask us out, or get to know us better, then do it respectfully. Think about how you would want to be treated at your workplace. Just because we’re getting you drunk, it isn’t grounds for inappropriate comments.

5. Accept our suggestions.

If you’re going to ask for our recommendations, you should try one of them. One of the fulfilling parts of bartending is introducing guests to new cocktails and discovering different wines, beers, and spirits with them. It’s a chance for the guest to expand their palate and for us to develop a relationship with our patrons. It’s a real compliment when a regular trusts you to create a drink for them.

6. Trust us to do our jobs.

Ultimately, bartenders thrive when we feel that our customers trust our abilities. Bars shouldn’t be stressful places. They should be a place where guests can relax and unwind. Give us the space to serve you.

7. Don’t be a jerk.

This is probably the single most important piece of wisdom you learn from working in service. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be assertive. If you have an issue with the service or a problem with your order, by all means, speak up so it can be addressed. But don’t be a jerk. Being nice to your bartender is the greatest compliment you can give us.

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