Monday, April 21, 2008
Leo's Short Guide to Good Bar Behavior
If you drive, don't drink alcohol. The bartender doesn't care what you order, have a soft drink.
When ordering, know what you want. Once your drink is made, don't change your mind. The bartender is not a magician.
Since most bars carry about twenty different beers, don't ask the bartender or waitperson what beers they carry. Rather name the beer you want and a second choice. Chances are they carry it and if they do not can then suggest something similiar right away.
Although you may be waiting for a table at a restaurant, unless you intend to buy a drink at the bar don't plop yourself onto a barstool just taking up space.
Always put your money on the bar when ordering drinks, especially when you drink to forget.
When leaving your seat, put a napkin or coaster on your drink, indicating that you will return.
Don't order fancy Mickey Mouse drinks in a neighborhood bar. Wait until you are in a tourist place, you'll know it when they put little plastic umbrellas in the drinks.
It is considered bad form to ask the bartender to fix you a strong drink. Ask for a double, and pay for it.
If the bar gets busy, don't put your things on a barstool next to you, someone may want to sit down.
Don't tempt the bartender to invoke the dreaded "86". When you feel you've had enough, cut yourself off before you get stupid.
Show good bar manners. Don't be loud and boisterous. Foul language and obnoxious macho behavior will not impress anyone; you will merely convince people that you are an idiot.
Old Chinese Proverb: He who make much bing-bang with dice cup have plenty short ding-dong.
The customer is always right; however, the bartender determines who is still a customer.
If you want to meet someone, don't come on like gangbusters. Be cool, be subtle, and try to be original.
Be kind to your bartender. Treat him/her like family. Bartenders will guide you to the best chow in town, listen to your jokes, even laugh when they are not funny, and listen to your woes.
It is customary to leave at least a buck. More will be gratefully accepted. To our European visitors, you may want to follow the American custom: when a group of people go barhopping they alternate paying the tab. Also, TIPPING is not a city in China. Your guidebooks inform you that gratuity is not included on your bill. So show some class and leave something for the help. But don't reward bad service. Sometimes you will come across a bartender or waitperson who is too busy chit-chatting with other employess or just not aware that someone needs service. If you feel the service is bad, get even by not tipping, or show your displeasure by just leaving a nickel or a dime.
Don't blame the messenger! The bar doesn't make the laws, but it must enforce them. The bar can get fined or lose its license for serving minors or having people on the premises after 2 a.m. So don't get your knickers in a twist when asked for an ID or when the bar closes and you are asked to leave.
Some people make an ass of themselves when they drink alcohol. They should only drink on New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day. Those are amateur nights. They will have lots of company.
If you use perfume or cologne, use it in moderation. Some people splash themselves with cheap stuff and smell like ten dollar hookers.
Everyone is not blessed with a pleasant sounding voice. Those with shrill voices, or who sound like screeching seagulls, always seem to talk louder than others. They would do everyone a favor by keeping it down.
Don't snap your fingers, hiss or whistle to get the bartender's attention. This may be O.K. in some countries. It's not done here. Simply calling "bartender" should suffice.
Some people like to push their weight around by telling the help that they know the boss or informing everyone how important they are to the embarrassment of their friends and the annoyance of everyone else. At the old time bars in North Beach such pompous, tacky behavior is frowned upon, and is not going to get preferential treatment.
Young people who have just reached the legal drinking age should watch the more experienced bar patrons and take mental notes. You will be spending many pleasant hours in bars, watch and learn. After a while you too will no longer be an amateur.
A few words about the No Smoking Law in California bars:
The law was created to protect the employees. At Vesuvio we observe the law. It is only fair to our employees and customers who are non-smokers. Most bars comply and customers are very understanding and go ouside and have a smoke (it's a new way of meeting people as you commiserate about the unfairness of the law).
Some of our former customers now frequent bars that do not comply with the law. These few bars are thriving at the expense of the ones that comply. This is an unfair business practice. The city doesn't seem to enforce the law.
It is only a matter of time before the shit hits the fan when non-smoking employees (a pregnant waitress or someone suffering from asthma or bronchitis) start suing bar owners and the City.
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