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Getting a bartenders attention in a crowded bar is one of those do or die moments for most patrons. Think about it? You can either queue for twenty minutes or you can get in an extra twenty minutes of drinking time. It’s up to you. There are things you shouldn’t do and things you should never do. But luckily there are some simple steps to take to ensure that you will never being annoying.

Of course, when you have a ‘brilliant’ bartender they will know who is next in line. The chances are though, that these tips from us will help you in other situations where the bartender may not be the best you have ever seen. Which lets face it… Is most of the time.

I know at least one bartender who needs help from Be A Better Bartender! Click To Tweet

Of course this informational post should be looked at by bartenders as well as patrons. Knowing what your customer wants, as a bartender, is central to your job role.  We also have a handy infographic at the bottom of the post for you to take a look at.

So this guide is wrote from the bartenders perspective, naturally but is aimed at the customer.

Trying to get served in a crowded bar can be frustrating. So you will need a strong strategy in order to get served sooner rather than later.

The researchers, from Bielefeld University in Germany, analysed 105 customer attempts to order drinks in nightclubs in Germany and Scotland. They looked at what the customers were doing in the 35 seconds before being served. Their conclusion: The most effective strategy is to stand squarely to the bar and look directly at the bartender as he/she moved around. You need to do both to communicate you’re “bidding for attention.”

While that might not be mind-blowing news, it is interesting the tactics that they found didn’t work. That includes squeezing in between other customers (you might end up waiting even longer), leaning on the bar, looking at a menu or the drinks available, or looking at money as well as the biggest pet hate of all bartender’s, the waving of money. That really makes us mad.

Customers waving their money at me makes me really mad! Click To Tweet


Okay so with all this in mind this is our 5 step guide to make sure that you are not hated by the bartender and of course to make it quicker for you, as a customer, to be served.

bartenders attention

1. Be Prepared

Oh why oh why do people queue up for minutes at a time without knowing what they want to order or even have their money ready?

It makes your transaction more efficient and betters your relationship with the bartender. This goes as well for adding drinks on to your order after payment… A big  do not. Now i know what you are thinking. But this is after i am already served right..? Yes but this kind of moronic behaviour now means that you will not be served quicker next time. Think about it like you have taken your groceries to the front desk and tell the clerk that you are just going to go look at the nice pair of jeans and everyone will have to wait till you been and brought them back. You wouldn’t do it there or at a supermarket, so why in a bar?

So: Have your money ready, know what you want and don’t add to the order after payment


bartenders attention

2. Choose Your Spot Wisely

Don’t go too near the cash register. others are seeing the bartenders here and they are having the same idea as you. It is true that eventually the bartender will be in that position for large periods of the night but it is just out of nessecity. So be blind to the register and pick your spot another way.

When there is more than one bartender then the best place to stand is in between them. this means you are at the mercy of more than one bartender. As a general rule of thumb in high volume bars you will get served faster if you have a better bartender in front of you  which means that in essence you are doubling your chances being in between bartenders rather than focusing solely on one.

Keep in mind though that most of us as bartenders usually have a general sense of who’s been waiting the longest, and we’ll likely snag that patient soul at the other end before we get to the three people who just bellied up right in front of us. No matter how much you try and get our attention

So: make a bee line for straight in between two bartenders stations at the bar. stand square on and wait.


bartenders attention

3. Catch your bartenders eye as soon as possible

When you make eye contact (for what will probably be a very brief moment in time) be sure to smile and tilt your chin up. However, don’t do any of the following to hasten the process; it will only annoy the bartender and delay your drink, though you will get the bartenders attention but in the wrong way:

  • Don’t yell “bartender!”
  • Don’t wave your money. Have it ready in your hand, but don’t flash it to get the bartender’s attention. This is often considered condescending.
  • Don’t snap your fingers.
  • Don’t say “I’m next” or “I was here first.” The bartender decides who’s next.



So: Smile, be polite when you get the attention and don’t say any of the things that are in the video

4. Give your order to the bartender quickly, loudly and clearly while you are smiling.

This is a two way transaction here guys. If a bartender were to not smile and grunt one word answers at you while you are ordering how would you feel? A bartenders salary is really not great in most circumstances, a lot of bartenders take up the profession because they really love to do it. Believe it or not the customers make or break a bartenders night. After getting the bartenders attention please treat them as you would like to be treated yourself.


bartenders attention


5. Tip Generously

Now this is optional. On all accounts if you do not believe that a Tip is worthy then do not pay it. Tip’s stands for ‘To Insure Prompt Service’

Did you know that TIPS stands for 'To Insure Prompt Service' Click To Tweet

Times are hard for everyone and the service industry, though making a bounce back, as been hit just as hard. Bartenders work longer hours than ever and work harder than ever. As far as we are aware, bartending does not have a union in which they can fight for fair work hours and fair pay. Leaving some in desperate need for more cash which means putting in more hours and the cycle continues.

Tipping your bartender and thus getting the bartenders attention means that they will remember you the next time you come up to the bar. You can always expect to be served just a little faster and a little warmer than the guy that doesn’t tip.


bartenders attention



I hope you understand now that most of what it takes to get served faster at a bar is in your hands. It is how you approach the bartender, how you position yourself at the bar and how you interact that makes you a great customer.

If you have any other ways to get served faster at the bar that you’d like to share with other readers, please leave me a comment below.


Having worked within the hospitality trade for over 15 years I've done a lot. From scraping plates to the managing of 150+ staff and regularly creating thousands in revenue per week. My passion is creating a winning team that blows the competition away. There is no greater feeling than seeing the staff's achievements. So share away and let's all be better bartenders. | | The upkeep of this website can be thirsty work! Would you like to buy us a drink?

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