Guy walks into a bar. Hear that line, and usually a joke’s coming. But in real life, walking into a bar can feel a little disconcerting. Especially if it’s jam-packed, not your usual haunt and nobody knows your name. Lucky for you, we’re spilling a few secrets with the help of bartenders Ethan and James of Andys at Fairmont Pittsburgh. Read on to learn a few tips for getting noticed in a good way. And no, it doesn’t involve pushing, shoving or waving a dollar bill.
1. Make Eye Contact
“Step up square to the bar. If you can, snake your hand in to touch the bar, catch the bartender’s eye and simply nod,” says Ethan. No need to wave money, shout or tell them you’re next. “Once you’ve made eye contact, you’re absolutely on our radar.”
2. Go With the Flow
Most bars are set up to allow one or more barkeeps to work in a smooth rhythm. “If the flow appears to be headed away from where you’re positioned, don’t get frustrated. If the bartenders are in sync, it quickly comes back around,” says James.
3. Know Your Order
When you have the bartender’s full attention, that’s a good time to have your order ready and money in hand. “If the bar’s crowded, it keeps everything moving when you know what you or your party wants and are ready to pay,” explains Ethan.
4. Ask for a Recommendation
Despite tip #3, Ethan and James emphasize that they’re never too busy to recommend a drink if you’re stumped. “But it’s tough if you just say, ‘Surprise me!’ Are you a white wine gal? A bourbon kind of guy? Tell us a little about your tastes,” advises James. “That way, we can suggest a drink you’ll really like.”
5. Order Accordingly
Walk into most bars and it’s pretty easy to gauge whether it’s a shot-and-a-beer dive, a busy sports bar or a more upscale watering hole. Think about your drink. A round of beers at a sports bar is a smarter order than a round of complicated blender concoctions.
6. Think Outside the Bottle
“If the bar’s upscale, they probably offer their own signature craft cocktails,” says Ethan. “Check them out if you’re in the mood for a special or trendy drink experience.” Of course, the drink may call for blending or juicing, so think about how long you’re willing to wait and how crowded the bar is.
7. Make Sure You Get What You Want
“Whether it’s something you’re trying for the first time or an old standby, if we don’t make it right, send it back,” stresses Ethan. “Good bartenders want you to enjoy your experience and will always take back a drink that’s not exactly to your liking.”