Bar 101, Lesson 2: How To Properly Order Drinks

Featured, Pubs and Grub — October 3, 2014 at 7:00 am by


Our Bar 101 rewind continues…..

It’s going to be a hell of a weekend with the O’s in the playoffs and the Ravens’ season in full swing.  Sounds like the perfect excuse for a three day bender.  Make sure you’re doing yourself proper in the bars by reading lesson two of Bar 101.

Back in the Wild West, when you rolled into a saloon, you just moseyed up to the bar,  threw down some cash, and ordered whiskey.  If you didn’t shoot the place up, you got to stay as long as you wanted.  Pretty cool, right?  Well things have changed and Wyatt Earp and Jesse James are down for the long dirt nap, things aren’t quite that easy anymore.  Bars are big places of business with unspoken rules and their own language.  Even ordering drinks can prove to be a challenge for some people. Don’t worry though, Billy the Kidd, we’re here to help your stupid ass.  Today we’ll go over how to order drinks.  Not what to order, that’s another blog, but how to effectively order drinks in a busy bar so you don’t look like a moron.  Enjoy.

So there you are.  It’s Friday night, you’ve got a buzz working, and you walk into your second bar of the night.  The place is packed, and there are hots everywhere.  This is perfect. You’ve got your GLS  (Get Laid Shirt) on, and you couldn’t feel any better. You and your boys approach the bar.  It’s crowded, so you stand three deep.  You work your way forward, waving your hand in the air, asking for service.  When the bartender gets to you, you hold out your credit card.  The bartender says something like “what ya havin’?”  You turn back to your friends and ask them what they want.  After a discussion, you figure out the round, then try to collect cash from everyone for what they ordered.  You blurt out what you want, hand your card to the bartender, and tell him to “close out”.

Example of an obvious GLS:


You are a disaster.  During this transaction  you have automatically denied yourself preferential treatment from the staff.  If you get what I am saying, then you don’t need to keep reading, though it may amuse you to do so.  If you are thinking to yourself’, “What’s wrong with that?”, you definitely need to stick around for the rest of this blog.

First we will discuss the approach.  When approaching a packed bar you need to be ready to order.  You can’t go fucking around and not know what you want.  Discuss what you, and your friends, want before approaching.  This is for everyone’s benefit, including yours.  Speed is of the essence for a high volume bartender.  He or she needs to take care of  a lot of people as fast as possible.  If you grab a bartender’s attention, and then hold him or her up with your stupid-ass indecisiveness, it has a domino effect on the other customers.  So come prepared, everybody else wants a drink too.  Also, when you approach the bar, don’t wave.  It’s rude and annoying.  Hold up your method of payment up and make eye contact.  A good bartender will know you’re there.

Next we will discuss the concept of buying rounds.  For the most part, this still is in practice.  If you are out with a group, everyone takes turns buying everyone else what they want to drink.  It’s simple, effective, and promotes drunkenness.  (That’s because everyone is supposed to keep up with the fastest drinker.)  So stick to at least a loose concept of this.  Don’t go collecting money from everyone before coming to the bar, it makes you look fucking cheap.  If you want to start a tab, figure out who owes what at the end.  It is always a good idea to just split the bar bill evenly.  You may owe more than you drank sometimes, but in the long run it all evens out.  If you want to repel women away from your group as fast as possible , argue about the bill.  Trust me when I tell you, those few bucks you saved by arguing with your boys over a beer bill  won’t make you rich later in life.  Who the hell want’s to be the richest guy lying in the graveyard anyway?  Arguing with your friends about a tab  just makes you look like a fucking  jerk.



The credit card situation was already discussed in Lesson 1.  If you are using one, start a tab.  If you want to pay as you go, use cash. This is also a speed issue, cash is quick.

Also, when ordering a drink, the liquor is always called first.  Example: When ordering say, “vodka, tonic please.”   Unless you are Puff Daddy or Lil’ Wayne, “cranberry and vodka”  is incorrect.   Calling drinks that way is just the way it is, and always has been.  It’s easier for the bartender remember what you’re ordering if you stick to this. Remember too, if you want brand name vodka, you have to call the name when you order.  If you order a vodka tonic, you are going to get rail (cheap) vodka. Call the brand when you order, not while the drink is being made. “Oh I wanted Grey Goose.”  If you want Grey Goose, order Grey Goose from the start, dumb ass.  Bartenders can’t read minds.   (Editor’s note:  Red Bull is the only mixer deemed acceptable to say first.  Example, “red bull and vodka please.)

So remember, when in a packed bar, speed is of the essence.  If a bartender knows you are a customer who has his shit together, they will probably get to you quicker.  Tipping well helps with that too, but the two  seem to go hand in hand.  If someone knows “the rules” in a bar, they are usually good tippers.


” I don’t believe in tipping, I believe in over-tipping.”


Also, say thanks and please, even if the bartenders’ an asshole, it just makes you look good.

Good luck and happy boozing babes.

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