Bar Etiquette

Green hats, shirts, and beverages: this was the theme of the weekend-long event that was St. Patrick’s Day in America.  All weekend partygoers were quick to remind those without green attire of their lapse in memory with a pinch.  On debatably the rowdiest weekend of the year, one thing was clear: there was no reminder of proper bar etiquette.

Watching the drunk masses celebrate the exorcism of snakes from Ireland like a collective 21st birthday bash reminded me of the unwritten rules that make bars, taverns and clubs an enjoyable alternative to sticking around the house.

A pleasant bar environment can only be promoted when there is a symbiotic relationship between the patrons and the staff.  Unlike the events that transpired at School Girlz on Saturday, which ultimately ended in police involvement and the club closing early, a proper bar relies on the concerted efforts of patrons and staff to behave according to the golden rule.

Do unto others as you would have others treat you.

How one behaves in an establishment that fosters a social setting lubricated by alcohol is dictated by a few unwritten, but widely accepted, rules.  These rules act as a method behind the madness and help those providing service, bartenders, bouncers and waitresses, maintain a certain amount of sanity and control while providing an enjoyable environment for their patrons.

Bar etiquette can be summarized by one word, respect.  Respect for the staff, patrons and law is what proper bar etiquette dictates.  Using proper etiquette and respecting the employees not only makes their lives easier but your experience more enjoyable.

In this instance, respect goes beyond the traditional formalities of please and thank you.  Respecting the staff means adequate tips for those serving you and prompt ordering.  Under tipping and playing twenty questions with your servers are effective strategies to decrease the quality of your service and increase a server’s dislike for you.  The advantages of treating your server right cannot be understated.

In the same way, you have to respect the bouncers who have to deal with inebriation and the poor decisions that accompany someone who has had one too many.  Bouncers are there to make sure you are of age and acting appropriately.  The easiest way to remain in a bouncer’s good graces is to not talk back or get aggressive.  Whether you were dancing on the bar and opened all of the taps or you were getting too aggressive courting someone, their word is final unless you would like to get the police involved.

Finally, you have to respect your fellow patrons.  In a college town, you will come across people who are just like you and people who are the polar opposite of you.  Just because someone might not seem agreeable does not give you the right to incite a fight.  Fighting is not only uncivilized but is detrimental to everyone in the establishment.

When going out for an evening on the town, remember that it is not just you and your group.  There is an entire system that relies on proper behavior and real consequences for those who choose not to abide.  Whether it is a 21st birthday, bachelor party, holiday, or simply Wednesday, remember to abide by the code.