Do your best drinking out: Tips from a bartender | On The Rocks | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Do your best drinking out: Tips from a bartender

There’s no prize for finishing the most drinks before Happy Hour is over

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When you’re a bartender, you notice things. Good service requires paying attention to people. But bars can be loud, busy places, and communication can suffer. To help ensure your visit is as pleasant as possible, here some things this bartender would like you to know.


  • Some bars only have draft beer. Some only have bottles and cans. It’s nothing personal. Ditto food specials and an absurdly massive selection of whiskey that somehow doesn’t include your favorite. Still nothing personal.

  • Reasonable bartenders won’t judge you based on your appearance, age or drink choice. However, we will definitely judge you based on your behavior.

  • If your bartender makes up a drink on the spot for you, there’s a possibility she’ll name it after you. But if you specifically ask her to do that, it pretty much guarantees she won’t.

  • We know the part of the bar where servers pick up drinks for the tables always looks like the most spacious, comfortable spot in the whole place. But resist the urge to sit or stand there — other people need booze too.

  • An occasional, restrained display of affection between you and your partner can be cute and endearing. Engaging in lengthy, vigorous foreplay is not.

  • Having a seat near the kitchen affords you a fascinating glimpse into the intricate and carefully choreographed process of commercial cooking. It’s also a great way to hear an f-bomb every 15 seconds. Choose where you sit accordingly.

  • If you’re unhappy with the music in the bar, it’s fine to mention it to your bartender. Just be aware he may have no control over it. In fact, there’s a good chance he’s as sick of it as you are.

  • We’re happy to charge your phone for you, but most bars don’t keep a diverse supply of chargers on hand. Providing your own is most helpful.

  • Speaking to a staffer about a problem during your visit is a much quicker (and practical) way of addressing it than going home and writing a multi-paragraph rant online.

  • Many people treat Happy Hour as a race. Just a tip: There’s no prize for finishing the most drinks before it’s over.

  • If you’re the kind of person who tells your bartender to put your drink in a “man’s glass,” just stay home.

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