The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide To Bar Etiquette

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I shouldn’t have to write this, but apparently I do.

Last week, a self-described “Godfather of Hipsterdom,” and sometimes author/TV personality released a list of tips on bar etiquette that were so terrible that I felt obligated to respond.

You can read his list and my entire response here. Filled with senseless, lowbrow, intentionally provocative drivel, it includes such gems as:

– Stop ordering water.
– A bar is a ‘man zone’ so women need to dial back their fun.
– Men should not order wine.
– Stop showing bartenders pictures of your kids.

As a result, I have decided to come up with my own – a simple and succinct, updated and definitive list of rules for bar etiquette:

1. Be a regular at more than one bar.

2. Be patient. There’s no line to get drinks in your refrigerator.

3. Always tip more than you should. Tipping at a regular bar is a good investment.

4. Never ask for a “good pour.” That’s asking them to give you something for free, and bartenders can and do get fired for that. If they like you, they’ll hook you up. 5. Never tip a bartender on a free round. Thank him or her and tip big on the next round or when you close out. 

6. If you’re having more than one drink, or are with a group of people, just throw your card behind the bar. You can always settle the tab in cash at the right time. 7. Don’t get drunk on beer when you’re trying to pick up girls. (Too many trips to the bathroom.)

8. Never take off your suit jacket. Nobody ever pictures a drunk in a suit and tie. Remove the jacket; destroy the illusion. 9. Always tip at least $5 ($10 in NYC) or 25%, whichever is larger. 10. Don’t treat a bartender like he’s just some guy waiting until he finds a real job.

11. Don’t whistle, snap, yell, or wave money. Unless you want people to think you work at Morgan Stanley.

12. If you want to buy a woman a drink, ask her permission.

13. If you are having friends, colleagues, or a partner meet you out, clear your tab before they show up. It’s not cool if they end up paying, but more importantly, it’ll make you look like the drunk that you are.

14. If you want to put ice in your Pinot Grigio, go for it. Do what you want to do, not what people expect you to do.

15. Don’t try ordering a drink from a bar back.

16. Don’t argue about a tab. If you’re arguing, it’s probably because it’s over a material amount of money. And that means you’re probably not sober enough to argue.

17. “When in Rome…” might be the Golden Rule, but it’s just another way of saying, “Have some goddamned common sense.”

18. Don’t preemptively mention the tip. There’s no need to ever say, “I’ll take care of you tonight, ______.” (Insert: Pal, Chief, Bubba, Hon)

19. Shots generally only serve one purpose: to speed up the effects of alcohol. There’s a time and a place. And that time and place comes around less frequently after the age of 30.

20. Always know what you are going to order ahead of time. Have a go-to drink in your repertoire. An old fashioned, vodka martini, a common beer, or even just a house chard. Sit down, take a sip, relax, and then figure out what you really want to drink.

21. When you’re out with friends, put your damn phone away.

22. As per “How To Be A Man,” you can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.

Follow @GSElevator on Twitter and read his blog here.

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  1. 14

    Coming from a bartender – never say “chief” or “boss” holy shit that is demeaning. And money talks, the only way to get hooked up with a heavy pour is if you give us a reason too. The bar is not the red cross we are trying to make money “chief”

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 2 years ago
  2. -3

    As a scotch drinker who tips well, sometimes the big pour is too much! I am glad that you appreciate the tips, but sometimes it is 4:30pm on a Tuesday and I don’t need a glass of scotch full to the brim. If you give it to me, I’m going to drink it, and that is the problem!

    I don’t understand #5. There is nothing wrong with tipping a free round. The rest is just common sense.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago