The bartender. Where would any of us be without the single most important and coolest person in the bar? Not drinking, that’s where.
There are two very important things to remember about bartenders. First, they are people too and should be treated with respect and courtesy. Second, they are the only thing between your money, the booze and the cash register. Only they have the power to decide the fate of your funds.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have been hooked up by many a bartender in our day (Corey and Ryan’s note: We still love each and every one of you) so we decided to ask around and find out what rubs bartenders the right way. Sure, tipping big will always get you far, but there are other ways to keep a bartender happy if you are on a budget.
“Buy the bartender a shot,” said Sean Cassidy, who pours drinks at Paddy’s Pub on Second and Race streets. If you are already doing a round with some friends, get everyone to chip in an extra buck to include one for the guy who is making them anyway. He will likely pick up a round later on in the night.
Another way to get on the bartender’s good side is to become the center of attention.
“I hooked up this guy ’cause he was entertaining,” said Lorran Robinson, a bartender at Tonic on Main Street in Manayunk. “It’s usually my job to be entertaining.”
Acting a fool is taking it too far, but getting everyone (including random people) to laugh with you, instead of at you, will do you well. Some of the random people may also want to get you drinks too.
An even simpler way to get a freebie is to just be friendly. “If you know the bartender’s name,” Robinson said, “that’s a plus.”
However, you shouldn’t go screaming it from across the bar to get her attention. Soft mentions of it when requesting and thanking them is the way to go. Just don’t be condescending.
Believe it or not, that belligerent friend you usually avoid calling before you go out can actually be your new best friend.
Robinson says that in certain situations, the friend in a group who constantly apologizes for the jerk friend will be rewarded.
“I’ll hook them up for helping out,” she said. One of the most tried and true method of free drinks is to find a bartender who is totally crushing your friend. After a couple rounds of Guinness and some mixed drinks for the girls, the total bill for us at Fergie’s Pub at 12th and Samson streets came to only $10. Shame it never worked out. Better luck next time, buddy.
In the end though, the best way to get a bartender to hook you up is if you know them already or if you are really attractive. “They give free drinks to their friends and good looking people,” said Vince Gay, a bartender back at the Independence Brew Pub at 11th and Filbert streets who sees everything that goes down from the other side of the bar. Fortunately for us though, we’re really pretty, so everyone likes us. Or is it because of our handsome personalities?
Worth it for your money? Of course it is. Your bar tab will be cut in half, and, in some cases, you may just be paying for the tip instead of the booze. Plus, isn’t making a new friend worth all the beer in Ireland?
Our beef? Spending so much time working the bartender takes away all the time we could be working the fly honeys. With all that schmoozing, you at least deserve a number.
Ryan T. Barlow and Corey Fenwick can be reached at Over21andUnder20@GMail.com.