Southwest Brewing News

How to Meet Friends and Influence Bartenders
More Pompous Hypocrisy by Richard Vang
Southwest Brewing News. (Austin, TX) 1994, 3:1

Presented by the Upstate Chunk & Paradigm Company


Due to the rather unsavory downturn in taste which this newspaper has taken as of late (See Letters and E-mail in this issue), I find it incumbent upon myself to interject some quality and a touch of class to this rapidly deteriorating rag. Too often we take things for granted when it comes to what we drink, where we drink, who we drink with, when and how often we drink, how much we drink, and with what other substances we combine our drink. Therefore, I will begin a series of articles about beer drinking etiquette and ethics, with the hope that some of you hopheads might take a moment between swigs and use your brain for something besides a place to drain your suds on.  The addressed issues will cover the more cosmic and metaphysical questions of drinking which plague us all, and upon which the very Universe itself depends.  Feel free to send your concerns to this column at SWBN, and they will be addressed.  For those of you with more mundane concerns and questions, please, by all means, send them to the attention of the reigning monarchs of the brewing Universe, the Illustrious Queen of Quaff, and the Omniscient Beer Doctor.   Today’s issue concerns your relationship with your drinking establishment.   If you never drink in a bar or restaurant, please skip to the next article. If you do, please continue reading.

Finding a proper place for imbibing can be a difficult task in and of itself.  On occasion, however, you walk into a place and feel, like Brigham Young, that “this is the place.”   You know in your heart that you will be spending much time and money in this particular establishment.  So, how do you go about making the relationship a long and enjoyable one--for those on both sides of the barrier?  Perhaps these suggestions might give you a clue, and help you on the way to earning for yourself the eminent title of “Norm” in your favorite neighborhood  pub.

1.  Be nice to the wait staff.
This is the cardinal rule of establishing that good professional relationship.   More than that, it’s the Golden Rule for living, period.  Try saying ‘please’ when you ask for another drink, and say ‘thank you’ when you get it.  A little bit of politeness can go a long way when the bar is packed and you need another drink.  Besides, your parents would be proud of you.

2.  Meet your fellow drinkers.
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time in bars, for whatever reason.   Even though you might be looking for that special person to enjoy your new sex toy with, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be friendly with non-potential sex partners.  Try standing in a location that is not directly in front of the tap, where the lone wanderers come in and sit.  You’d be surprised how much you might have in common with strangers.  You might even meet a new business contact, or, if you’re feeling lucky, someone with a fetish for eggbeaters, just like yourself.

3.  Don’t be nervous when the cops come in.
People will begin to wonder about you.  And it’s a free country right?   You have the right to drink anywhere, anytime you want to.  Besides, you’re reformed, and those DWIs and Drunk and Disorderly charges are all behind you now.   There’s no need to be nervous, and nobody runs your life but yourself, not the cops, not the DOE, not nobody.

4.  Sample the food occasionally.
Chances are that if your favorite establishment is serving quality hand-crafted beers, then they are probably serving some fine eats too.  In these days of lawless lawyers, suing a bartender because you had too much to drink and didn’t eat anything before you got into your car and killed some nuns is not a smart move.  So have some food, and make it a special night.  Don’t, however, go there for every meal, and try to share it with a friend (if you have any).  Splitting a heaping bowl of pub fries or fish and chips with a fellow drinker just might seal that bond which you’ve been craving.  Just don't order the Tempura-battered Chicken Wings.

5.  Don’t drink alcohol every time you go in.
This is a sure-fire way to earn some respect.  Just because you’re in a place that serves alcohol doesn’t mean you have to drink it.  You don’t wash you clothes every time you’re hanging out in a laundromat do you?  OK then, give your liver a rest once in a while and order some coffee or tonic water.

6.  Tip the wait staff decently.
This is nearly as important as item #1, especially in a an area where ‘Buybacks’ are not common like they are on the east coast.  Arguments like “It’s their job” don’t cut it buddy, and like item #1,  a tip of 20-25% can go a long way in a crowded bar or when it’s just you and the bartender shooting the bull.   If quite often leads to Free Beer, which is the whole point, right?  If you’re short one time, follow up with extra on the next.  It’s time to quit worrying about that new Slim Whitman album you’ve been saving for.

7.  Don’t be a nuisance, be a regular.
Spend some time at home for Pete’s sake!  The bar won’t fall down or go out of business if you don’t show up at 8am on Saturday morning.  You’re not going to miss anything like that gorgeous bartender doing a flashdance.  I’m sure you have things to do, and the employees start to really wonder about you after you’ve been there 33 days in a row.  Don’t be there when the doors open, and try to leave before last call once in a while.  You look like you could use some sleep anyway.  But if you must be there, see item # 5.

8.  Don’t talk politics or religion.
There’ no better way to get a fellow drinker all riled up, and when you live in the Southwest, it’s likely to turn into a lynching if you’re not careful.   These are the two things which lead human beings into argument, and into arguments which cannot be won either way.  Well, sports too.  So make that three things.

9.  Make sure you can walk when you leave.
Falling off a bar stool is not a grand exit.  For those of you who use alcohol to become gravitationally-challenged during your drinking bouts, please do it at home.   Then all you have to do is fall into the toilet, and roll over to sleep in the tub.   And even though there are now services you can call which will tow your car home with you in it, it’s much more fun talking to God on the Big White Phone in your bathroom.  Just don’t make any more stupid promises like you did the last time you threw up.

10.  Don’t put other people’s drinks down.
My theory is that every time you see a fight in bar, the combatants are drinking Bud.   I think the good patriots at A-B put an aggressive chemical in the brew, causing American service men and Dallas Cowboy fans all around the world to go to knuckles at the drop of a hat.  So, just because you’re concerned that your fellow drinker, especially one you’ve just met, is being slowly poisoned by their favorite beverage, it doesn’t mean you have to say something.

11.  Don’t molest the wait staff.
Stop touching things!  You’re always touching things!  And that includes yourself!

12.  Buy a round once in awhile.
This is an old piece of wisdom.  Whenever you give, which it is better to do, you open yourself up to the powers of receiving.  The forces of the Universe are directed toward you for your generosity.  The more you give, the more you truly receive.   Try it sometime, and see if I’m right.

13.  Don’t ask the waitperson out when you’re in the bar.
This is the antithesis of item #1.  There are delicate ways to do this.  Many of us, like Jimmy Carter, have lusted in our hearts for a particular  bar employee.   Don’t stand there all night getting piss drunk, and then slobber all over yourself while you attempt to ask them out on a date.  Have some patience, use the steps above, bring them close and get them to trust you, and then Whammo!  You might find this approach takes a little more time than the typical one-night stand version, but it has a little more class.  Whatever you do, ask to see them away from the bar.   They see you in there often enough, and most owners don’t like their employees getting drunk at their place of work.  Take them somewhere nice, like shopping for kitchen utensils or something.


Back to the SWBN Menu

Article and SWBN logo 1993-2001, Southwest Brewing News.