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Mastering the Art of Bar Etiquette: Essential Tips for a Polished Experience

Mastering the Art of Bar Etiquette: Essential Tips for a Polished Experience


If you want to truly understand a city and its people, head to the local bar. Bars offer a unique glimpse into the culture and social fabric of a place. However, navigating the bar scene requires more than just knowing how to order a drink; it involves a set of etiquettes that reflect your personality and sophistication.

From choosing the right bar to ordering with style, socialising effectively, and handling the bill and tips correctly, every gesture counts. Whether you’re toasting right or avoiding cultural faux pas while drinking abroad, mastering these bar etiquettes will ensure you have a polished and enjoyable experience.

1. Choosing the Right Bar: How to choose the right bar for the night?

Sometimes your choice of place can either make it or break it. The choice of place not only depends on the company you plan to be with, it also depends on the day of the week and the nature of the bar. Here are some important things you should keep in mind next time you choose the bar :


  • Make sure you go to a place which is tried and tested before, if you are planning something special.
  • Always call the bar ahead of time and ask them about their events ( if any ) before making the final call.
  • Be respectful of everyone’s pockets, when planning to step out with a bunch of friends.


  • Don’t go to a crowded bar over the weekend and complain about not getting any drinks.
  • Make sure you inform your friends before you plan your night - not everyone is fond of Jazz bars and themed clubs!
  • Try not being inconsiderate of the preferences of others while choosing a place, its always to fun to try something new .

2. Ordering Etiquettes: How to order your favourite drink with style?

There is more to ordering a drink at the bar than just being smooth with the bartender. Little do you know that people around you remember and notice the smallest of actions, while you are ordering your drink. Being hasty and inconsiderate at the bar is not a good call, rather being respectful of others around you will help you become a better social companion.


  • Be respectful of what everyone wants when in a group . Also, Its common courtesy to ask the ladies first.
  • Save yourself and the bartender some time by being sure of what you want, before he approaches your table.
  • Be ready with your list after asking your companions .  Since cocktails take maximum preparation time, place your order starting with cocktails  leading upto beer, wines and others.
  • Try putting forth all the details when you place the order like ice or no ice or any specifics of how you like your drink .  This will save time and effort.


  • Don’t approach the bartender by yelling, whistling, slapping or glass tapping. This way is not appreciated. The best way is to catch hold of the bartender when he/she is behind the bar.
  • Avoid the phrase “ Make me something." Its just another way to say “I'm unaware of what I like and might send the drink back!"
  • Don’t extend your hands over the other side of the counter for the “extras”. It could be a lime, an olive or even a straw. Its the bartender’s zone, which you should not enter.
  • Try not to keep others waiting, if you are in the line to order your drinks. Once you have gotten your order, move aside, as others are as eager to get a drink and start their night.

3. Socialising at the Bar: How can you become the perfect social buddy at a bar ?

Sitting in a bar with a bunch of friends is not the right time for you to be an introvert. Its good to contribute to the conversation and be the fun buddy to hang out with. Hanging out with your colleagues and friends at a bar is an integral part of your social life, so make sure you do it right the next time you go to a bar.


  • Be courteous and order a round of drinks, if your friends have offered to take the first few rounds.
  • Use a subtle approach,  if you are searching for a date. Use social icebreakers to start a healthy conversation.
  • Move your feet occasionally and try to have a conversation with everyone individually, so that no one feels left out or ignored.


  • Don’t touch sensitive issues about one’s personal or professional life, until they initiate it themselves . Emotional topics don't go well with alcohol.
  • Don't start a conversation with the bartender on a busy night., even if you are good friends with him.  He might not be able to tell you, but he would expect you to understand.
  • Try not being sloppy and mean to people around you. The last thing you would want is for people to remember you as the trouble maker.

4. Toasting It Right: How to make sure your toast right?

Toasting is an age old tradition and it takes some practice to perfect the art. When you raise a toast to someone, it symbolises your wishing them good health and wealth. Here’s how you can master it for the next time you need to raise a toast.

  • Hold the glass from the stem while the toast is being made, pointing it towards the person making the toast.  Take a sip from your glass, once the member has finished talking.
  • Also, if that member is making a toast to a special someone, you should point your glass towards him/her.
  • Always take a sip after the toast is done. It is considered disrespectful if you don’t.
  • Never toast with an empty glass as its considered bad luck to do so.

5. Tipping & Billing Etiquettes: What is the right way to close the bill?

Your eventful night doesn’t end with your last drink. Rather, it ends with leaving the bar after  paying your dues with respect. To make sure you end your night well, here are some do’s and don’ts which you should keep in mind while dealing with your money at the bar.


  • Having your credit card on hold at the bar means that you are ‘running a tab’. Remember where you opened your tab and which bartender was responsible for taking care of your drinks.
  • Ask your bartender to wait till you pay with cash, if you don’t intend to use your card.
  • Do say a thank you while closing your tab for the service provided, before you leave.  You can then leave after you sign and tip.


  • Don’t make the bartender wait for you to find your cash or card. Be ready with it when you order your drink.
  • Try not using your credit card multiple times or if its only for one drink. Its a waste of time for the bartender.
  • Try not to argue with the bartender about your tab and the amount, unless you are quite sure about it.

What do you think are some must do's and don'ts when out at a bar? Drop your answers below! 👇🏼

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