The bartender's five-letter word
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You hear it often, in some bars more than others. Usually the word makes an appearance once a bar patron is a few drinks in. Sometimes it's uttered within minutes of bellying up to the bar. It elicits mixed reactions from bartenders everywhere, and I guarantee you've used it yourself.
What is this controversial word I'm talking about?
Ordering a water at a bar is a lot like playing Russian roulette. No matter how well-intentioned you are, there's always a chance you'll get "the look." I'm sure you've seen it: the dead-behind-the-eyes apathetic face that tells you you've already been written off with an unspoken "Well, why are you at a bar then?"
Bar patrons obviously have a right to ask for a glass of water, and there are multiple reasons to do so: You're the designated driver. You're already a few in. Your friends wanted to go out, but you're just not feeling it. All perfectly acceptable.
So, why hate on H2O? Simple. Bartenders know they're probably not going to get tipped. Bar-goers generally treat asking for water like a time-out round. If you don't have to pay, you don't have to tip, right?
Not quite. What you're paying for when you tip is a service. Think of it like a restaurant: If you get your meal at 50 percent off, it's still proper etiquette to tip your server on the full 100. The same principle applies here. Just because it's a bar doesn't mean you can get away with not being polite.
Obviously, if your bartender is terrible, it's your money and you can dole it out accordingly. I'm not your mother and I can't tell you how to behave. But, at the risk of sounding like her, at least try to say thank you. It won't cost you a dime.
While agree that most bartenders don't like it when people order water I would rather serve water to a person that says thanks then a person who I make $50 worth of drinks and leaves me a dollar. Tipping is not that hard and I'm amazed that people still don't know how to do it. I've been bar tending for 20 years and think I'm pretty good at it. I always tip at least Evey other round if not every round. So drink the water and say thanks, but if you drink a drink take care of your bartender.
Penny Lane | Feb. 29, 2012 at 3:08 p.m. (report)
Obviously that's it. Or an arm, or your first born, alba.
Whats a good tip for a glass of water, Renee? How about $3? Bah.
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