If You're Out Drinking With A Group, Get Your Guinness Order In First

Building a round of drinks quickly, correctly, and in the right order is an essential skill for any bartender — but it's also a skill you should consider next time you head out to a bar or pub as a patron. There are many things you should never say to a bartender when drinking in a group, and a big one is adding on a pint of Guinness after you've reeled off your other beers, wines, or cocktails for your friends.

The Irish stout — and other beers like it, which use nitrogen gas as well as carbon dioxide to create a creamy head — needs time to settle and is poured in two stages, meaning that it takes longer to prepare than a typical draught beer. Ordering it last is bad for the bartender and bad for your group; you're waiting an unnecessarily long time for your drinks, and the bartender's practiced efficiency goes to pot. Order Guinness first instead, so the bartender can use the waiting time to make other drinks, take a payment, or just do anything other than waste their time.

Why Guinness takes so long to pour

A common and welcoming sight in a busy Irish pub is rows of almost-full pint glasses sitting on a bar, waiting to be topped off. There are plenty of things to know about Guinness, including that its unique blend of gases means that leaving it alone at least a little bit is the route to a perfect pint.

Guinness uses around a 3:1 ratio of nitrogen to carbon dioxide, whereas most draught beers from a keg — whether lager, IPA, or wheat beer — use a 1:1 ratio or, sometimes, just carbon dioxide. Nitrogen is less soluble than carbon dioxide, and its bubbles are much smaller, which gives a beer a creamy, rich consistency; carbon dioxide gives beers a sharper fizz.

When a Guinness is poured, all those bubbles nucleate on the glass, which causes the color change in a poured Guinness from cloudy brown to very dark ruby red. This process takes time, so the beer must be left alone before being topped up.

More bar etiquette tips for your next night out

Getting your Guinness order in first isn't the only bar etiquette you should follow when drinking in a group. The Guinness principle applies to other drinks too — that is to say, try to order the beverages that you know will take the longest to make first so the person behind the bar can work on something more complex before preparing something simpler, like pouring a glass of wine or a shot of straight liquor.

Try to keep your order together in a round, rather than ordering back-and-forth as the bartender goes to-and-fro making drinks individually. This also slows down service, not just for the bartender but for the other bar customers. And, if you get a perfectly delivered round of drinks that includes your highly anticipated Guinness and whatever else you ordered, always make sure to leave a tip!