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The Right and Wrong Ways to Court the Bartender

The Right and Wrong Ways to Court the Bartender

Hell yes, it’s Wednesday. Wednesday’s half-off pizza night at your favorite bar. Round up the troops! Not Blake though–he never throws in for shots and always suggests some bullshit like cauliflower crust. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. You walk in and there’s the real reason you go to a shithole bar where your shoes stick to the floor like it’s a port-a-potty on day three of a music festival: the bartender.

Everyone has had that bartender who makes you feel amazing from the moment you walk in the door. This person knows your drink order, notices your haircut, and genuinely cannot wait to hear about the hot mess Tinder date you had.

It’s easy to develop a crush on someone you see on a regular basis, but what is it that makes bartending such an innately hot career? Is it that the bar acts as a barrier, like it’s an obstacle you have to overcome? Is it getting the attention of someone who is simultaneously paying attention to 30 other people? Is it the badassery of being able to down eight shots of Jameson during a shift without skipping a beat or missing a drink order? Whatever the reason, drinkers are drawn to bartenders like vegans are to homemade almond milk; they’re both smooth, delicious, and goddamn do you want them with your coffee in the morning.  

Be careful, though. Before you know it, booze is whispering in your ear. “She’s totally into you. That free shot was her way of flirting. Did you see the smile she just gave you from across the bar? Give her your number. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Getting a number is nothing new for someone in the restaurant business, but how it’s done can make all the difference in the world. Did you call her “toots” all night and ask her what her “real” job is? Did you follow him on Instagram and Twitter after sending an unresponded friend request on Facebook two weeks ago? Did you drunkenly sing “Pony” by Ginuwine at the top of your lungs while making unwavering eye contact and “dancing” with the rhythm of the blow-up guys at a used car lot? Like any area of dating, there are right and wrong ways to court a love interest. As a long-time service industry employee, I’ll walk you through the three major “don’ts” when leaving your number for a bartender.  

No. 1 – Don’t leave a shitty tip. We all have times when money is tight, but you should never skimp on tipping those doing you a service, especially if you’re simultaneously hitting on them.  There isn’t a person on this planet with a banging-enough personality to make leaving $3 on a $37 bill okay. Honestly, the arrogance of leaving your number along with pocket change is borderline presidential. It’s insulting and rude, and definitely not going to end with a date. You should be tipping 20 to 25 percent as is, but leaving a few extra bucks is only going to make you look even more kind and generous. Who doesn’t want those qualities in a potential partner?

No. 2 – Don’t get absolutely obliterated. Bartenders deal with drunk idiots all the time–you’ll stand out more if you aren’t one of them. You have a much better chance of getting a text or call with great conversation and casual flirting than if you fall off of your barstool or make out with the stranger sitting next to you. Just like you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, you get more dates with coherent sentences than passing out into your chicken wings.  

No. 3 – Don’t make it a big to-do. I understand that giving someone your number can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be addressed. The whole, “listen, I never do this, and honestly, I’m kind of embarrassed, but I felt like we really connected and I have always thought you were cute and wanted to do this last week but you were super busy and I didn’t want to bother you, and if you aren’t into it that’s cool too, I just wanted to give you this” is really awkward for all parties involved. Just write it down on the receipt with a cute compliment. A little confidence goes a long way. 

Keep these few simple rules in mind the next time you’re feeling yourself and decide to finally make a move on that hunk behind the bar. Although I can’t promise you a date by avoiding these dickhead moves, I bet you get a drink quickly the next time the bar is three deep simply because you weren’t a trainwreck of a human being hitting on them the week before. Cheers and good luck out there.

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