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DBTH Poll: Proper Tips for Bartenders

A recent post by a Seattle bartender got our attention by proclaiming that the standard $1 per drink tip is no longer appropriate, saying that "If you have received adequate service, it's best to leave about eighteen percent of your total bill for a tip. If you have received excellent service, go for about twenty-five or thirty percent so the bartender knows how well they did." As in, thanks for pouring me that $14 shot of whiskey, here's another $3 for a job well done. Let's hear how you, our faithful readers, feel about this by participating in the latest DBTH Poll.

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Reader Comments (13)

You gotta be kidding me. Who gives these guys a right to complain when they get a dollar tip per drink, do you know how many drinks they pour a night. And really is it that hard to be a bartender. Go to school and get a real career and stop complaining about how you deserve more money for being the middle man in between me and my beer. For 50 cents id gladly grab it myself and cut you out middle man.

March 30, 2009 at 12:34PM | Unregistered CommenterBrett

i think it definitely depends on service. on something such as a beer, all it takes to serve is a pour or opening the bottle, and whether the bar charges me $8 or $2, i am going to leave $1 for a tip.. however, if there is a cocktail with multiple ingredients, shaking, etc. it will depend on service 100%. also, if you buy me a round, theres another $3-5 on top of what i was going to leave. you cant make a rule about this stuff.

March 30, 2009 at 12:36PM | Unregistered Commenteranon

Here in the UK it's not the standard practice to tip a barman for simply pouring a beer. We would tip a waiter or waitress after a meal but not a barman.

March 30, 2009 at 01:07PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

I'm moving to the UK!!!

March 30, 2009 at 03:37PM | Unregistered Commenter$ in my pocket

$1 for a beer, $2 for mixed drinks/ shots, more if service is fast in a crowded bar

Good luck get served again if your tip is weak

March 31, 2009 at 03:51AM | Unregistered Commenterdownsouth

$1 per drink... fuck that and fuck them, unless your at a nice coctail lounge where the dudes a "mixologist"

March 31, 2009 at 09:59AM | Unregistered CommenterKingAdRock

agreed i drink whiskey on the rocks, you want 20% for literally just pouring something into a glass? get the fuck outta here

March 31, 2009 at 10:01AM | Unregistered Commenterover it

Does anyone here realize that Bartenders make less than minimum wage? They're on their feet for up to 12 hours a day, often serving morons (some of you I'm sure) and dealing with management. I really don't think that $1 on a drink is too much to expect. Now...on the other hand if you're at a very high end cocktail lounge where you're paying $15+ for a drink, and you just bought a round for you and a friend totaling $30, I DON'T think that 20% is justified.

March 31, 2009 at 11:56AM | Unregistered CommenterOld Man

dood, c'mon now, the bartender gets a napkin, gets or pulls a beer, and places it in front of you, clears your empty, maybe wipes down your area. do i need to tip the bar back too? i was a bartender in a beer joint, a dollar a beer is fine, 20%? ridiculous. but remember, if you give me a 2 a beer a couple of times or 5 on three, i'll usually buy you one.

March 31, 2009 at 05:11PM | Unregistered Commenterdigglesworth

oh yeh, and at chris, i've had this argument with my british and ozzie mates all the time, i know you don't expect a tip in non-us countries, but if i have a five and a beer is five dollars, i don't go in the bar, call it inherent guilt, but i expect to give the barman a buck automatically, just how we are mate.

March 31, 2009 at 05:14PM | Unregistered Commenterdigglesworth

$1 a drink is fine. If you're running a tab and the service has been excellent, then maybe 20%. I've bartended and understand what it's like on both sides of the bar. I never expected more than $1 a drink and was pleasently surprised whenever I'd get more.

April 1, 2009 at 12:03PM | Unregistered CommenterEL

I always tip 50%. This is true whether the tab is $20 or $2000. Call it my personal stimulus package. I did at one time work for tips, and the people who work restaurants and bars deserve every penny.

April 7, 2009 at 07:56PM | Unregistered Commenternewyorker

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Thanks for nice post

August 26, 2010 at 04:48PM | Unregistered CommenterBroken Arrow Stone

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