Bartender’s Guide to Picking Up the Bartender

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  • April 30, 2021
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By Stacy Liberatore

It’s every bartender’s right of passage. Sooner or later, you will get hit on.

As a bartender, I’ve had every guy imaginable try picking me up – cute, preppy, nerdy, even the frat guy who hits on everyone. Some guys go the extra mile and pull out magic tricks with the napkin.

If you really want to hit on the bartender, you must do it with confidence. You also need to be different in your approach. Here are my top 10 tips on picking up your bartender.

Keep it Short and Simple

You have less time to talk to your bartender than you have to check-in to the bar on Facebook.  Long-winded questions won’t work; she will most likely even walk away when you’re mid conversation and completely forget about you. So ask questions that will take no more than a few words to answer. Treat this approach like you are at a speed-dating marathon. Quick and fast and then move on.

Order Efficiently

Be flirty, not irritating. Know your order, say it fast, and move over for the next person. You’d be surprised that we would remember the guy who didn’t waste our time, over the guy who lingered like bad perfume in front of the bar. Don’t use your order to try to make conversation with the bartender.

Tipping Tips

Just because we have been “hanging out” for a majority of the night, doesn’t mean you can be cheap when you leave. A bartender can tell a lot about a person by how they tip.  A good tipper leaves about $2 for every drink.  It shows me, from a dating perspective, that you are able to pay for your own, take care of yourself and take care of your woman. You don’t want me to think you’re scrounging up quarters from between the couch cushions to pay for a few rounds.

This isn’t a play date

I’m at work: Don’t argue with me.  Maybe when we were 12 it was cute to play fight, but it’s 1 am, I’ve been on my feet all night, and I stink of beer.  Yes I may have thick skin, but no I don’t have time to be annoyed; even if you are trying to play if off as flirtatious banter. It might be your Saturday but for bartenders, it’s more like our Monday.

Want something for free? Order water

DO NOT ASK ME FOR FREE DRINKS! 9 times out of 10 your bartender can’t buy or give away drinks.  Giving away free drinks usually results in a pink slip- are you going to pay my bills if that happens? If she can buy you a drink she will do it, end of story.  If you ask me for anything free, I will just think of you as a bum, not a good look.

Leave your number for me not the whole bar

If you want to talk after the night’s overwrite your number on the credit card slip or pass me a napkin with it on it, on your way out.  The most awkward thing is when you ask for a bartender’s number in front of the huge Saturday night crowd or offer to give me yours. Everyone is watching, listening, and they are probably laughing inside. Now is not the time to prove your confidence in front of your friends. Once a guy handed me his number on a napkin but he made sure the entire bar saw him doing it.  I willingly took it, smiled, and threw it directly into the trash. If you’re going to make a display, so will I. I’m not a prize that you need to let everyone know you’ve won.

It’s not always what it seems

The bartender flashed you a smile and laughed at all your jokes, she may even give you a free drink here and there, she has to be into you, right?  WRONG! As a bartender she HAS to be nice and flirtatious. There is that possibility that she is digging you, but usually she is just thinking about how she needs to make rent in a few days.  The everyday signals to show interest do not apply in the bartending world.

Is the bartender worth it?

Yes she’s pretty and has a great personality; she may even be the total package.  But there is one downfall- she is the bartender at your go-to bar. Let’s say you do go out on a date with her to only have the night end horribly. Now what? Every time you step foot in the bar it’s going to be awkward. The night may have been so awful that you have to eliminate your favorite watering hole all together. Think about it.

Too much of anything isn’t good

You have a thing for a bartender, showing up every night will only creep her out or make her think you’re an alcoholic- both will leave a bad taste in the mouth. So if you have a crush on the bartender or like the watering hole, choose which one you want.

We’re Bartenders, not Babysitters

Bartenders spend the whole night dealing with drunks. The last thing we want at the end of the night is for another drunk to come up to us and hit on us. It’s annoying. If you want to hit on the bartender, don’t get sloppy. Don’t ask for her number after downing 3 shots. Be a gentleman about it. Man up to it and ask her while you’re sober.

All right boys, here’s your complete cheat sheet on how to leave the bar as the winning contestant.  Follow each of these steps and I guarantee you’ll get a bite by the end of the night.

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