10 Tips for Effectively Hitting on a Bartender

Expert advice you'll want to brush up on before Friday night
10 Tips for Effectively Hitting on a Bartender


10 Tips for Effectively Hitting on a Bartender


Hitting on bartenders is both tempting (they're so hot!) and tricky (they're so busy!).

So how can you make yourself stand out in a sea of equally inebriated revelers, all of whom are vying for one person's attention? Bartender Alex Maier recently published a post on bar etiquette full of enlightening advice, straight from the mind of an exasperated bartender.

Whether you want your bartender to like like you, or to just like you, brush up on these tips before Friday night.

1) Order Efficiently
A big part of flirting with the bartender is simply not being irritating to the bartender. If you're at the bar during a busy night, you can gain major points by knowing your drink right away, ordering quickly, paying in cash, and making room for the next customer. It may seem counterintuitive not to prolong your interaction, but if you're an easy customer, he or she will remember you the next time.

2) Have a Signature Drink
Bartenders are pretty persnickety about alcohol, and tend to dislike customers who have complicated or ridiculous drink orders. But the right drink can score you major points.

"I remember this one time back in Chicago, a cute girl came up to the bar and asked for Knob Creek, neat," says Maier, "and I was immediately floored. Not only did this girl know what she wanted, she knew how to order it, and she knew we carried the brand. She paid with cash and hit the road."

3) Short Questions Are Better Than Long Ones
You probably have about two-minute intervals during which to have a short exchange with the bartender before he or she gets called away by another customer, so now is probably not the time for a long-winded discussion. Grab their attention by asking fun, short questions that can be answered quickly. Questions about the music playing, pop culture, and common places (a neighborhood or city) are safe bets.

4) Avoid Bartender Clichés
"Do not say, 'I come here all the time and I've never seen you,'" Maier warns. "I promise I do work here often. It's not a lie. Or maybe I hide from you. Or maybe you don’t come here often. Actually, you aren't here as much as you think."

5) It's Your Saturday Night, but Their Tuesday Afternoon
You may be in weekend mode and ready to flirt, but your bartender is at work. So even if he or she wants to stop everything and flirt with you, they can't. Be mindful of this.

"Do not say things about how I dress, or how serious I look when I am crazy busy. Even though you are having fun, I am working. This is my job. The more you annoy me, the less I will flirt with you."

Throwing straws or napkins in order to get attention will also not be appreciated.

6) Remember to Tip!
It may seem weird to give money to someone you're trying to hook up with, but bartenders can tell a lot about a person by how well they tip. A good tipper (which usually constitutes at least $2 per drink) is obviously used to going out and is respectful of a bartender's job. "It shows that you are able to pay for your own, go to bars on your own, and can take care of yourself," Maier says.

7) Show That You're Having a Good Time
Smiling makes you more attractive to everybody, but especially bartenders. The whole point of their job is to create a fun and positive experience in their bar, and they appreciate knowing it's working. "Just shoot a cute smile my way while you say, 'This tastes great,' or if you are sneaky, try to smile at me as I glance back at you to see if you need another drink," Maier suggests.

8) Don't Take Up a Barstool If You Aren't Drinking
You've been flirting and talking for a while, but the bar is still as busy as ever and it's time for you to switch to water. The best thing you can do at this point is to give up your bar seat to someone who will continue to buy drinks (and therefore make your bartender money). Quit while you're ahead!

9) Leave Your Number
"Leave your number on the credit card slip. And your name. Maybe write something cute like, 'Thanks for getting me drunk.' Maybe even a smiley face if you are feeling up to it."

But, if you leave your number, be cool about it. "Do not say, 'YOU BETTER CALL ME hahahahaha!'. It is embarrassing. For me and you. Just leave your number and that's that."

10) The Bonus Move That Bartenders Love
Maier swears by one trick that's bound to make any bartender remember you. "If you really want me to remember you, when you come by again on a busy night, bring me a Red Bull. I will swoon hard over this. You see I need energy for extended hours and you want to help. Boom. True love."

— Chiara Atik, How About We


Related Links

Waiting for Your Date at the Bar: The Pros and Cons

What to Order at the Bar to Impress Your Date

Guys, Girls! Can We Get Something Straight About Buying Someone a Drink?


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