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5 Tips for Ordering a Drink at a Bar

We consulted 2 New York City bartenders for their best tips for ordering a drink at a bar. Make your next drinking experience flawless and fun by following our tips.

It sounds simple. Go to a bar. Order a drink. Be happy.

Well, it doesn’t always work that way when you’re out drinking and having a good time. Believe it or not there are several “tricks of the trade” when it comes to ordering a drink at a bar. We interviewed 2 New York City bartenders to get the inside scoop of what you should keep in mind the next time you order a drink at a bar.

5 Tips for Ordering a Drink at a Bar

Image via The Wren

1. Know What You Want

Especially if the bar is crowded and it is hard to compete for a drink, know what you want before fighting through the crowd. Our bartenders told us that more often than not they are stuck waiting on people who haven’t a clue to what they want to drink. As a result, this slows down the bartenders and angers other patrons. Make the experience easier for everyone by making up your mind ahead of time. You’ll make your fellow bar patrons happy as well as the bartenders and who knows, you might get a free shot for being so with it!

2. Don’t Buy a Mixed Shot

Not going to lie. We were a little disappointed hearing the “don’t buy a mixed shot” rule. Kamakazi’s and SoCo lime shots are so delicious! Our bartenders said it’s a waste of money if you’re looking for that “kick” that comes with taking a shot. They suggest sticking to whiskey or tequila. If you don’t care about getting that bang for your buck, then go ahead and splurge on that birthday cake shot you've been lusting after.

3. Know Your Bar

Be mindful of the type of bar or environment you are in. Our bartenders said it’s very simple. Don’t order wine in a pub and don’t order a bud at a cocktail lounge. Take advantage of the type of joint you’re visiting! For example, if you’re at a Spanish or Latin establishment, go ahead and order a mojito or a margarita. If you’re at a mixology bar, it is a good time to order a fancy cocktail or a classic old fashioned.

4. Don’t Be Cheap

Sounds like a no-brainer, but our bartenders say it’s unbelievable how many people act like old misers when they are out on the town. Our bartenders warn us to never ever say, “What’s your cheapest beer?”  If you’re trying to save a few bucks here and there you might as well skip the alcohol or just stay home all together. This rule seems harsh, but we’ll go with it! 

5. Be Nice

Treat your bartenders well! Obviously our bartenders say that this is key. If you’re nice and you smile at your bartenders, they are more likely to serve you first! Who wants to wait on a crabby-pants? Absolutely no waving money in the air and no yelling or snapping at your servers. 


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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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