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22 Things Your Bartender Won’t Tell You

Bartenders share their secrets, tips and best etiquette advice.

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Barman giving whiskey glass with booze - closeup.; Shutterstock ID 409465387; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHluckyraccoon/Shutterstock

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. Here are 7 essential tips for an awesome home bar.

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Drunk man paying via credit card, buying drinks in bar with bartender handing pos-terminal, copy space; Shutterstock ID 1129326635; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHProstock-studio/Shutterstock

Start a tab

If I swipe your card five times this evening, that’s five times as much paperwork that will have to be done at 4 a.m. Plus, keeping your tab open means you’ll get be able to get your drink even quicker.

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Barman pouring fresh alcoholic drink into the glasses with ice cubes on the bar counter; Shutterstock ID 785282029Maksim Fesenko/Shutterstock

You want a drink made “strong”

Then order a double to make sure you get the amount alcohol you really want. By the way, here’s your guide for effortless food and drink pairings.

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Diverse People Hang Out Pub Friendship; Shutterstock ID 570438019; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM):

Liquor sales in bars and restaurants were down 2.2 percent last year

Even beer sales are slow. But people scrimp on food first, drinks second. Here’s how to save money when you eat out.

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Tattooed bartender with beard working in pub; Shutterstock ID 662292103; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHOlena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

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, especially at new bars and restaurants. Take a look at these lightened-up beverages you should order that the bar.

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Barman pouring hard spirit into glasses in detail; Shutterstock ID 279766289; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHJag_cz/Shutterstock

 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.

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A Couple of Dollars Awaits The Bartender in a Rustic Bar; Shutterstock ID 3131544; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHBrent Reeves/Shutterstock

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 percent. Brush up with this handy guide for tipping before you go out.

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tasty alcoholic old fashioned cocktail with orange slice, cherry, and lemon peel garnish; Shutterstock ID 583137544; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHJoshua Resnick/Shutterstock

At some bars, the sliced fruit garnishes sit out until they’re gone

Sometimes for days. Munch accordingly. By the way, here are the items you shouldn’t order at a restaurant.

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Emergency and urgency, dialing 911 on smartphone screen.; Shutterstock ID 1167521353; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHreleon8211/Shutterstock

I have the police on speed dial

And I never hesitate to call when it comes to my or my patrons’ safety. Follow these 17 tips to help cut back on alcohol.

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Group of friends having drinks at the night club party. Young people enjoying at a bar toasting cocktails.; Shutterstock ID 580144114Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Don’t order a round of drinks after last call

Last call applies to everyone—even you. Here are 10 things your bartender really wishes you’d stop doing.

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Depressed drunk man sleeping with his head on the table in bar; Shutterstock ID 547877209; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHwavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

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. Here are the 8 reasons behind how you got tipsy so quickly in the first place.

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two young man talking at counter. friends standing in bar and drinking whisky; Shutterstock ID 542334136; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHNew Age Cinema/Shutterstock

 We see some petty drama on occasion

Last week, a couple had a little too much to drink and got into a dumb argument. They 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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We are closed! Waiter is trying to get awake drunk visitor in bar.; Shutterstock ID 658915978; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH4 PM production/Shutterstock

 If I cut you off, don’t argue

If anything, you should apologize if you’ve made a scene. If you’re eating out on a budget, take a look at these restaurants that have great deals.

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Elegant bartender is preparing pink cocktail holding orange chips at bar counter background.; Shutterstock ID 641031601; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHAndrei Mayatnik/Shutterstock

Think tending bar isn’t a real career

You’re wrong. The craft of bartending is coming back, and some of us are even called “mixologists” now.

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Cheerful male bearded bartender smiling giving his client a drink while working at the bar communication friendly positivity entertainment leisure occupation job luxury lifestyle club weekend service; Shutterstock ID 1010959540; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHZoriana Zaitseva/Shutterstock

I love sharing what I know

If it’s not busy, ask me about the history of drink or the latest cocktail I’ve invented.

Here are some secrets that fast food workers aren’t telling you.

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The bartender takes orders for beer. Three cheerful friend makes ordering a beer from the bartender at the bar; Shutterstock ID 229951054; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHMaksym Poriechkin/Shutterstock

I like a sophisticated palate

You’ll win points with me if you request gin in your martini. But if you prefer your bottle of beer, these are the best beer gardens in every state.

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tired handsome bartender leaning on bar counter and looking at dirty glasses and trash; Shutterstock ID 1034501887; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHLightField Studios/Shutterstock

 My knees hurt

Bar mats prevent slipping, but I really like them for the cushioning. I use sole inserts in my shoes, too.

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Smiling attractive young barman wiping glasses and talking to african american young man in bar; Shutterstock ID 521293036; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHDean Drobot/Shutterstock

Everyone should bartend a few nights in his life

You learn so much about people. Take a look at these things your pizza guy isn’t telling you.

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Smiling bar patron ordering drinks from a female bartender mixing cocktails behind the counter of a trendy bar ; Shutterstock ID 1131328592; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHmavo/Shutterstock

I’m not a piece of meat

Respect that I’m just doing my job and hitting on me all night won’t get you free drinks, it’ll just make me feel uncomfortable.

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London, England - December 27th 2017: Jukebox Vintage Retro Music Record Player Collection Exhibition; Shutterstock ID 783475357; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHrichardjohnson/Shutterstock

 The songs you pick on the jukebox usually play as you leave

I’ve seen it happen so many times. Every single time!

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Group of happy multiracial friends resting at bar and talking with the bartender.; Shutterstock ID 1195313740; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHFXQuadro/Shutterstock

 I do more than mix drinks

I love being your psychiatrist-matchmaker-entertainer-friend. Otherwise, I wouldn’t tend bar.

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Female friends hailing taxi on city street at night; Shutterstock ID 289805144; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Please take a cab

Be smart, know your limits, and don’t drink and drive. Next, learn about the common wine mistakes everyone makes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest