Bar Etiquette NO NOs #5: What’s Good

Bar Etiquette — Here’s the fifth in our Bar Etiquette NO NOs video series – this one’s called What’s Good?

Bar Etiquette NO NOs #5 – What’s Good? | How to Order Drinks at a Bar

[TRANSCRIPT] Bar Etiquette NO NOs Video #5 – What’s Good?

So, you’re thirsty. You go up to the bar… “Hey, bartender.  What’s good?” What’s good?

That question perplexes me.  What’s good? What’s good?  What do I like? ‘Cause I drink Sambuca, flaming… non-stop.  I chug them back, chug ’em back.  What do you like? Hmmmm I don’t know.

Therefore, you gotta tell me what you want. Ok? What’s good?  I like a fruit.. I like some sort of a fruity cocktail.  Ok! No problem. “What’s good, bartender? I’m looking for something really strong.” Ok! Narrows it down. “What’s good? I’m looking for some sort of imported beer.” All right! We’ve got three different brands.  Ok? Be a little specific when you get to the bar.

“What’s good” just doesn’t cut it with the bartender.

Watch Bar Etiquette Video #4 – I’ll Have a Beer

Watch Bar Etiquette Video #6 – Challenging the Bartender


Bar Etiquette Tips:  Answering the ever-annoying “What’s good?” question

This question is asked often, and is often irritating. The world of alcohol is so large, where does one start?

The customer is not trying to make the bartender’s life hard, s/he just doesn’t know what they want or they’re trying (lamely) to start a conversation with the bartender.

The best way for a bartender to handle this is to SMILE and help the customer get more specific so that you can recommend a drink. Try something like this:

“There are tons of great drinks I can serve you, but let’s narrow down what you’re looking for.”

First, find out if the customer wants beer, a cocktail, a spirit, a shot, a martini etc. This is also a great opportunity for the bartender to upsell by suggesting premium brands. Once you’ve helped the customer narrow down his search to a beer, cocktail etc, suggest the most popular or best-selling (or your personal favorite to create) in each area.

The best thing for a customer to do in this situation is…not ask the question in the first place. Asking this question is likely to get you off on the wrong foot with the bartender. Instead, try phrasing your question differently. You can ask, “What’s a popular beer here?” or “I like flavoured martinis, what’s a popular choice here?” This is an easy question for any bartender, new or experienced, to handle. And you are more likely to find what you want.

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the Barman

Reese Richards aka "the Barman" is a 20+ year veteran of the bar industry and founder of His goal is to bring the joy of bartending to as many people around the world as possible by producing high quality content in the form of articles, interviews, infographics, recipes, videos and training courses.