scorecardBartenders share the 9 things that will make you their favorite customer
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Bartenders share the 9 things that will make you their favorite customer

Sophia Mitrokostas   

Bartenders share the 9 things that will make you their favorite customer
LifeThelife3 min read
Bartenders reveal their pet peeves.     Arina P Habich/ Shutterstock
  • Insider asked bartenders what customers do that they love and what annoys them.
  • Making eye contact and saying thank you is appreciated.
  • Keep your order short during busy times and don't hold your glass as the bartender pours.

Long hours and cranky customers can take their toll, so getting on your bartender's good side can help make both your nights better.

Insider asked bartenders what makes someone their favorite customer. Here's what they said:

Make eye contact with your bartender

Isabella Marriott, head bartender at Bar Beau in Brooklyn, New York, told Insider that she appreciates when customers make eye contact while ordering.

"It makes me feel less like a robotic drink-slinger and more like a human being," said Marriott.

Making small talk isn't a requirement, but exchanging pleasantries can help set you apart from the crowd.

When it's busy, decide what to order before approaching the bar

Barman pouring fresh alcoholic drink into the glasses with ice cubes on the bar counter
Plan your order ahead of time.      Maksym Fesenko/ Shutterstock

On a busy night, it's helpful to know what you want.

"I really appreciate when guests decide what they want to order before I get to them, particularly if it is a large group," said Marriott. "Nothing is more time-consuming than waiting for someone to decide while 10 people are still waiting to order."

Use as few words as possible when ordering

Bartender Nathan Gurr told Insider that brevity goes a long way.

"It makes our lives easier if you use as few words as possible and move through the order at a good clip. Ordering quickly and in a steady rhythm actually really helps move things along," said Gurr.

It's especially important to speak clearly and concisely when ordering multiple drinks. If it's loud, hold up fingers to indicate when you're ordering multiples of the same drink.

Don't hold your glass as the bartender pours

A Bartender pours a cocktail for one of the guests
Keep your hands off of a glass.      Jamie Thistlethwaite/Getty

"I dislike when people hold their glasses while their drink is being poured, even if they think they are being helpful. It throws us off and makes it harder to make the drink," said Marriott.

When ordering a cocktail, say 'balanced' rather than 'not too sweet'

Andrew Uriarte, bartender at Dot Dot Dot in Charlotte, North Carolina, told Insider that vague or subjective language can be frustrating for drink orders.

"I hate when a guest asks for a cocktail that's 'not too sweet.' Tons of people do it. Using the word 'balanced' is a much better way to explain what you are looking for than 'not too sweet,'" said Uriarte.

When it's done right, sweetness is used to balance a cocktail rather than dominate its flavors.

Never lean over the bar or wave

A guest reaches for a beer mug in the beer garden at the "Gasthof zur Brücke"
Never hover over the bar.      Tobias Hase/ Getty Images

Bartenders typically have a good idea of who is waiting for a drink and will serve customers as soon as possible. Trying to get their attention can sometimes come off as rude.

"I love guests who realize I am busy and don't lean way over the bar to get my attention," said Marriott. "You leaning over just makes it look like you can't wait your turn like everybody else."

Order your next round of drinks ahead of time

If the bar is bustling, don't be shy about ordering more than one round of drinks at a time.

"Feel free to order ahead of finishing the drink you're working on. When the bar is cooking a ton of cocktails, someone who orders ahead of time gives me a bit of a mental break," said Gurr.

Ordering ahead is best for drinks that don't have a lot of ice, which can dilute the flavor as it melts.

Know what you like before asking for a custom drink

women raising a glasses of aperol spritz at the dinner table.
Know what you like.      Vershinin89/ Shutterstock

When ordering a custom cocktail, Uriarte said, share what you like to make your bartender's job easier.

"It's ultimately up to us to make you a drink you like, so it's always helpful when you are familiar with flavor profiles like savory, tart, refreshing, bitter, and balanced," said Uriarte.

Rather than telling the bartender to surprise you, politely list flavors you like and dislike. It can also help to give examples of well-known drinks that you know you like so that the bartender can use those as a guide.

Remember your bartender's name and say thank you

"I always appreciate when a customer remembers my name and says thank you before they leave. It makes me feel like I've fully completed my duties," said Uriarte.

But don't ask for the bartender's name just so you can use it to get their attention.

"Every bartender's worst nightmare is the guest who asks for your name, just so they can shout it across the bar whenever they need anything," said Marriott.