How to get served at the bar, by a bartender

Without annoying everyone around you

alcohol bartender beer getting served guide how to ID national

We all know the soul-destroying pain of being asked to get “the next round“.

For the girls, it means teetering up to the bar and standing for what seems like hours in high heels while swatting off creeps left, right and centre. For the boys, it means trying to squeeze through the crowd only to have all the girls served before you.

Yes, it may be difficult to be noticed at the bar, but if you follow this guide  you can stop yourself from being ignored. The quicker you’re served, the quicker you can get back on the dance floor. What’s not to love?


Don’t try to get the bartenders attention by clicking, yelling, whistling, waving your money or any other pantomime act of idiocy

You are standing directly in front of them, they can see you. Just because the bartender doesn’t catch your eye doesn’t mean they haven’t noticed you are there, they’re concentrating on something and will get to you when they’re ready. Apart from that, you click at animals, not human beings, it’s the height of rudeness. It makes you look ignorant and you will be ignored for as long as possible. For a night out, it’s a death sentence.

Order your round together, not separately

If you can remember your order, you can be damn sure the bartender will remember it too. They are intelligent human beings just like you and know how to do their job. If you order each drink one at a time, they have to keep rushing backwards and forwards from the optic. Again, wasting everyone’s time. Just order your round all at once. I’m sure they can remember two vodka lemonades and a rum and coke.


Know what you want to order

You’re out on a busy night with people behind you trying to get served. When the bartender finally makes their way over for your order, they do not want to hear ‘what beers do you have?’, ‘here, John, what do you want? Quick, the guy is asking me’. Everyone hates you. Everyone in the bar. The bartenders hate you because you are wasting their time. Everyone else in the bar hates you because they now have to wait for you to decide before they get served.

In the long, sweaty wait you’ve had enough time. Oh, and don’t make it a coffee. They might be smiling, but if you order a coffee, you’ll never get served again.

Do not winch at the bar

Don’t do it. It’s disgusting. Nobody wants to see that. You will be ignored indefinitely. If the bartender can’t get your attention immediately, you can be damn sure they won’t try. If you’re too busy dribbling over your latest conquest, you can wait for your drink.

no service

Don’t ask for free stuff

You are not getting a free shot just because you and your friends have spent £100 that night. A cheeky wink is not going to make your vodka coke ‘extra strong. Bartenders are there to do their jobs and giving away free alcohol isn’t in their interest. The more you pester them for free stuff, the more you’re getting ignored.

sorry, this isn't Magaluf, no free stuff for being pretty

Sorry, this isn’t Magaluf, no free shit for taking your top off


Hey, here’s a crazy idea – tip! Definitely tip big on your first round. After that, no matter how busy it is, bartenders will be scrambling to serve you. Yeah we’re students and we have no money, but even a ‘keep the change’ here and there will take you far.

Fact is, if you’re slipping them a couple of quid whenever you can, they are going to remember your face.  A lot of bartenders are poor students too.

Have cash

Seriously guys, you know you’re going to a bar, just bring cash. Asking for a card machine on a busy Saturday night is the equivalent of stabbing the bartender in the heart. It takes way too long to set up and most bars and clubs will have a minimum spend on cards for that reason.

Besides, there’s a high chance by the end of the night you’ll be offering to buy everyone around you a shot because you’ve forgotten you’re not getting another SAAS payment for months. Bringing your card out at the bar never ends well for anyone.

this is what a good tip gets you

Use your manners

And finally, bartenders spend most of their time running around a hot, sweaty bar all night, dealing with drunk freshers, screaming girls and impatient pricks. Imagine their delight when they get to speak to a normal human being. A simple please and thank you goes a long way.

You’ll get served if you’re nice.