Modern Etiquette: How Not to Order a Drink

It seems simple, right? But as this article of “Beer Pro Pet Peeves” shows, the way someone orders a drink at a bar is as good a personality indicator as the way they order a coffee at Starbucks. So here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

1. You do not “need” it. Just a simple word change, from “I’d like a rum and coke” to “I need a rum and coke,” majorly ups your douche quotient.

2. Do not complain about how long it took the bartender to get to you. If it’s a busy night or they’re shorthanded, the bartender will not appreciate you acting as if he or she is a slacker. If they spent half an hour texting before deigning to come over to you, feel free to complain, but you should come up with a Plan B if you need to leave the bar and drink elsewhere.

3. The opposite of Light is not Heavy. When the bartender asks if you’d like a Bud or a Bud Light, do not try to be funny by saying “Bud Heavy.” They have heard that joke already, I promise.

4. Don’t be super picky. It’s fine to ask if they make their martinis with gin or vodka, but if you have a drink order that’s so nitpicky it takes five minutes just to say, you might want to consider drinking at home.

5. Unless the bar is empty or you’re at a specialty event where you’re supposed to ask questions about the alcohol, do not pepper the bartender with dozens of questions about how old the alcohol is, where it’s made, whether it’s organic, etc, etc. There are ten people behind you who would like to order drinks, and they hate you more with every single showoffy question.

6. Don’t simply say the name of the drink without context. I knew a guy who always just walked up to a bar and said “whiskey.” You are not a character in a James Bond movie. You are a person. Try saying “Hey, could I get” before the words “whiskey.” Oh, and you might also want to clarify which whiskey you want.

7. Tip. You’d think this one would go without saying, but sadly, that isn’t the case.

Share This Post:
    • Lindsay Hartman

      Hehe! Bud Heavy… actually there is a Bud Heavy, it’s called Bud American Ale.

    • allwet

      “…if they make their martinis with gin or vodka…”

      Um, what? It’s a bar, right? They’ve got both gin and vodka. In fact, they almost assuredly have multiple brands of each. And the recipe’s the same for all of them. Just order the one you want.

    • jewdiful

      I live and attend university in a college town, and I’m always SHOCKED at how many people don’t tip. Ever. In fact, every time I go to the bar it seems like the servers are really surprised/appreciative when I tip, and always come back to check on me several times throughout the night to see if I need another drink. And I’m not an obscenely large tipper, maybe $1-2/drink. I’m sorry, I know college students are often broke, but if you have enough to go to the bar in the first place, you have enough to tip. Stay home if you don’t, damn.

    • kinaz

      People in my town call beer “heavy” but its not to be funny or ironic or anything. That’s just what they call it. I suspect its because they find it easier to say “bud heavy” than “budweiser original”. Don’t hold it against them. Maybe its a regional thing?

    • Juichi

      From time to time when I want to drink something new I will become nitpicky on my drink order. I will usually want recommendations or drinks that the bartender knows how to make (as opposed to drinks that they have to look up, which usually results in less than desirable results). I rarely do this when a bar is very busy. Sometimes I go out to bars to have a good drink, not to get wasted. I’m sure others do as well. I think the point should be that if a place is busy that you shouldn’t take up too much of a bartender’s time.