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13 Secrets Your Bartender Would Love to Tell You

Find out how being polite plays to your advantage—and why you should always skip snacking on the fruit garnishes—with these pieces of advice.

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Bartender creating cocktailPhoto: Shutterstock

1. Politeness Leads to Service

Yell, whistle, or wave money and I’m going to make you wait. Make eye contact and smile, and I’ll come over as soon as I can. Know what you want and have your money ready. Don’t create a traffic jam.

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Bartender with credit cardPhoto: Shutterstock

2. Start a Tab

If I swipe your card five times this evening, that’s five times as much paperwork I have to do at 4 a.m.

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Two MartinisPhoto: Shutterstock

3. Don’t Be Stingy

You want a drink made “strong”? Then order a double—for double the price.

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Friends having beers on patioPhoto: Shutterstock

4. Alcohol Trumps Food

Liquor sales in bars and restaurants were down in recent years. Even beer sales are slow. But people scrimp on food first, drinks second.

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Bartender serving an ice cold beerPhoto: Shutterstock

5. Loyalty Can Be Worth Free Drinks

A lot of bars have comp tabs, which allows me to give away drinks. It’s smart business and helps build a base of regulars.

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Pour beer on tapPhoto: Shutterstock

6. Bar Booze May Be Tracked

Bars that don’t have regulars (in hotels, airports) have started using wireless gadgets that measure how much is poured and automatically ring up each shot. They’re meant to prevent overpouring and to cut losses, but I don’t like them—neither do customers.

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Bartender making cocktailPhoto: Shutterstock

7. Tips Work on a Sliding Scale

If your tipping guideline is still “a buck a drink,” listen closely: That doesn’t fly if you order a $12 cocktail. Tip at least 15 per cent.

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Fruit-based cocktailsPhoto: Shutterstock

8. That Fruit Probably Isn’t Fresh

At some bars, the sliced fruit garnishes sit out until they’re gone, sometimes for days. Munch accordingly.

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Man and woman flirting at barPhoto: Shutterstock

9. Avoid Coming on Too Strong

The smoothest guys compliment a woman, then walk away—it’s very non-threatening.

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Toronto police officersPhoto: arindambanerjee/Shutterstock

10. Don’t Push Your Luck

I have the police on speed dial, and I never hesitate to call.

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Empty European barPhoto: Shutterstock

11. Staying Late Doesn’t Make You Special

Don’t order a round of drinks after last call. Last call applies to everyone—even you.

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Toronto taxiPhoto: Shutterstock

12. Don’t Hesitate to Request a Cab

Some of us get a cut from the cab company when we call a taxi for a tipsy patron. Not that I’ve ever done that, of course.

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Couple fighting over wine at restaurantPhoto: Shutterstock

13. I’m Staying Neutral

Last week, a couple had a little too much and got into a dumb argument, then asked me to choose the “winner” of the fight. There isn’t a tip big enough to get me involved in that situation!

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada