When it comes to tipping a bartender, there are a few factors to keep in mind.
• What you ordered
• How many drinks you had
• The service (or lack thereof) of the bartender
As someone who has extensive experience with all these situations, I am providing my tips for tipping a bartender and specifically why tipping bartenders for beers is different than tipping for cocktails.
The answer to the latter is all about the first above point: what you ordered. Let’s start with beer and then I’ll break down tipping a bartender on mixed drinks. Both start on the long-running standard of a $1 tip for beers and a $2 tip for cocktails but as I point out in this related article, that old adage may not be in step with today’s bar times.
How To Tip A Bartender On Beers
At one time, beers were basic. They either came in a bottle, can or poured from a tap and there were only five or six choices. Today, tho, it’s not uncommon to be met with 30 or more taps in a bar, plus several bottled beers (cans, not so much anymore unless it’s a real dive bar).
The rise of craft beers has made things more confusing not just from an ordering standpoint but also from a tipping one. And it’s here that a bartender earns that tip. Or doesn’t earn it.
Tipping is based on providing good service. And a bartender can do this even when serving a beer. When you’re presented with so many choices and don’t know what you want, a good bartender will offer recommendations and even offer samples for you to decide what you like the best. In this case, a bartender deserves more than a $1-a-beer tip.
On the other hand, if he or she just shoves a beer menu at your or points to a QR code, then a good service was not provided and you tip accordingly. If at all. In all bartending, attitude can count as much as anything when it comes to tipping.
How To Tip A Bartender On Mixed Drinks
The complexities of tipping on mixed drinks goes to another level from that of beers. This is because cocktails require extra work on the part of the bartender. Making a bourbon and Coke is easy enough but a Cosmopolitan, martini, Pina Colada and the time-consuming Bloody Mary – even a well-made margarita – take several steps to complete. Some bartenders hate making mojitos the most.
When it comes to tipping on mixed drinks, use this as a scale: the more complex the drink the more you tip.
Shots generally command a little more. Something like pouring a shot of tequila is simple enough. The Kamikaze, Sex On The Beach and Redheaded Slut are some that take multiple ingredients (and one you probably never heard of but have to have sometime is Surfers On Acid; most bartenders don’t even know what it is but tell them PubClub.com told you it’s 1/3 each of Jager, pineapple juice and Malibu rum).
The best thing to do on these drinks is to run a tab and tip at 25% or more on the total cost.
So go out, have fun and tip your bartender accordingly using this article as your ultimate guide to tipping bartenders.