You've just ordered two cocktails that you've never heard of. Why? Because your date insists that you'll just love a "Pink Meshiboo." What a Meshiboo is you have no idea, but you're even less happy that it's a pink one. "It probably comes with three umbrellas stuck in the thing," you grumble.
Whatever it is, you'll drink it because your date is HOT! As the bartender makes your drinks you notice him checking out your date, his eyes lingering far too long on her chest. He notices you glaring at him and nervously wipes his hand across his nose. Eww!
Finished with the drinks he picks up the two highball glasses allowing them to slide down in his hand so that his fingers are touching the rims of the glasses, right where your lips will soon be. You pay him in cash and reluctantly leave him two dollars for a tip. At least you'll get some privacy with your date now whom you turn your attention to, preparing to put the moves on her.
Unfortunately for you the idiot bartender doesn't move from the spot behind the bar which just happens to be right next to where you're sitting. Again checking out your date while he reaches for your tip, he adds your gratuity to a wad of bills which he dumps onto the counter right in front of you where he starts counting.
This is a fantastic way to not only get lousy tips, but to get your rear end kicked as well. Amazingly, the above story is based on a real event that I experienced at a local college bar. The bartender is lucky I didn't strangle him!
Unless you're at some hole in the wall garbage bar, 99% of bartenders would never act like the dolt above. If you're socially adept enough to land a bartending job in the first place, then you already know better. Most of bartending etiquette is just common sense. Treat your customer the way you'd want to be treated. There are however a few suggestions we'll discuss.
The customer need to be acknowledged. No you don't have to ask them how they're doing every five minutes, but at least inquire if they need a refill when their drink dwindles down near the 1/4 point. If new customers sit at the bar and you can't assist them immediately, at least smile and tell them you'll be with them as soon as possible.
Try to remember what your customers are drinking. Obviously this is impossible at a club on Saturday night, but when it's slow you should remember that your customer just drank a Guinness, not a Bud Light. Your patrons will be particularly impressed if you remember not only their preferred drink, but their name as well. Developing a sense of familiarity with your customers will lead to greater tips in the future.
This leads to a tip that should be common sense, but amazingly I've seen it occur. Never argue with your customers or take sides in an argument between them. This will only lead to smaller tips and possibly something much worse.
Always try to remain calm no matter what. People come to your bar to relax, not to hear about your problems or to hang out in a tense environment. It's your job to diffuse tense situations and help your clientele relax. Use that great sense of humor I'm sure you possess to put your customers at ease. It's your job to be the calming force in the middle of the maelstrom no matter how chaotic it may be. And on Saturday nights at a popular bar it can get crazy, believe me!
Part of helping people to relax and have a good time is keeping your bar clean. If you're not helping a customer you should be making the bar sparkle! And never ever touch a glass anywhere near the rim. It's very bad form as a bartender to place your hands where your patrons lips will go. Besides being unhygienic, it won't help your tips any if they see it happen.
Our final piece of advice is something that should absolutely be common sense. Count your tips in private, and keep your eyes above the chest when dealing with female customers!