Tipping Etiquette

Tipping Etiquette

What School and your Parents Didn’t Teach You About Tipping at a Bar

“Tipping is not a city in China”

Depending on the country you live in, tipping etiquette may not be that important to you. There are many countries where tipping is not the norm or the tip is worked into the bill so the guest doesn’t need to concern him / herself with figuring out how to tip or how much to tip. If you live in one of those countries, than the following points likely don’t refer to you. However, if you live in a country where tipping is customary – like Canada and the U.S – than heed this tipping etiquette advice.

~ Tipping Etiquette – DOs and DON’Ts ~

Tipping Etiquette – Tipping DOs

  • Tip Well in the Beginning – there’s no better way to start off your night, in the bartender’s eyes, than tipping well on your first drink. This ensures that the bartender will remember you and you will get faster and friendlier service. You don’t have to continue to tip large but keep it in the standard 15-20% range.
  • Every Drink Gets a Tip – just because you may have tipped well the night before or the drink before doesn’t mean that you don’t have to tip on the next drink. Bartenders work hard for their money (as you probably do) so treat them with respect, tip well and everyone’s night will go better.
  • Tip Well if you Want Special Service – if you’re expecting to get a stronger drink or faster service, make sure you tip well. The bartenders have an innate ability to remember who tips and who doesn’t and even how much each person tips. If they can remember 6 drink orders at a time, they can remember the face of the person that sticks them and leaves no tip each time they come to the bar.
  • Tip Very Well on Free Drinks – if you’re lucky enough to get free drinks or drinks ‘on the house’, make sure you tip appropriately. Since the drink was free, you should be tipping about 50% of the cost of the drinks as your way of saying thanks.

Tipping Etiquette – Tipping DON’Ts

Watch our Videos on Tipping Etiquette

  • Don’t Point Out Your Tip to the Bartender – we know that you want the bartender to know that you’ve left a tip and believe me, he / she will. Therefore, don’t make a point of pointing out how much you’ve left for a tip.
  • Don’t Gloat About Your Tip – If you’ve left a good tip, it will be rewarded with faster and likely friendlier service the next time you make your way to the bar or the next night you visit the bar. There’s no need to point out how much you left, the bartender will know and remember.
  • Don’t Ask the Bartender to Cover Your Shortage – if you don’t have enough money to get that last drink, don’t ask the bartender if what you have is enough. The bartender is not your pal that you can borrow money off. If you’re short on money, borrow it from one of your friends in the club or don’t order another drink.
  • Don’t Leave Your Change on the Bar – if you happen to leave money on the bar that is not meant to be a tip, it will be considered a tip and the bartender or bar back will take it as such. Any money left on the bar becomes the property of the bartender – keep your money in your purse or pockets and always pick up the change from the bar leaving only the money that you want to tip.
  • Don’t Steal the Bartender’s Tips – this probably goes without saying but we’ve seen it so many times that we have to mention it. In busy nightclubs, there may be a lot of spare change on the bar as the bartenders are too busy to pick it up right away. That obviously doesn’t mean that you can grab however much you need to pay for your next drink – its called STEALING and you’ll be kicked out or barred if you get caught doing it.
  • Don’t Make Excuses for Not Tipping – whatever excuse you’re going to use, the bartender has heard it before. Save yourself some embarrassment and, if for whatever reason, you’re not going to tip, then just walk away and keep your mouth shut – you’ve already embarrassed yourself enough by not tipping.
  • Some popular excuses:
    • I’ll get you next time (no you won’t)
    • I’ll be back with your tip (why do you need to come back, you’ve got money in your hand)
    • You make enough money, you don’t need my tip (bartenders get paid a lower hourly rate and rely on their tips)
    • I’m a student and can’t afford it, sorry (if you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to be out drinking at the club)
    • I have no change (if this is actually true, its the bartender’s fault for not giving you change to tip with)
    • I don’t tip (good luck getting your next drink)

  • Don’t Ask “Is it on the House?” – if a bartender wanted to give you a free drink, they would. Don’t ask for one – you just look like a cheap loser.We hope you find these tipping etiquette tips helpful and that, after reading them, you’ll be able to go to the club and tip like you know what you’re doing.

Facebook Comments

the Barman

Reese Richards aka "the Barman" is a 20-year veteran of the bar industry and founder of BarsandBartending.com. His goal is to bring the joy of bartending to as many people around the world as possible. He accomplishes this by producing high quality content in the form of articles, interviews, infographics, recipes, videos and training courses as well as through his bar consulting business. You can find him online here or connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram