Make Quick Friends With A Bartender By Using Cash Before Opening A Tab

Make Quick Friends With A Bartender By Using Cash Before Opening A Tab

Debit and credit cards make it easy to start a tab at your favourite bar, but for bartenders, cash is king. If you pay and tip for your first round using cash before switching to plastic, your bartender might thank you for it later when the bill comes.

Photo by Vratislav Darmek.

The relationship you establish with your bartender is important. They usually treat friendly people well and love to take care of the people they know will take care of them. Plus, considering that there isn’t much of a tipping culture in Australia, tipping is sure to get you attention. If you’re starting off a night at your favourite pub or tavern, the folks at Wired suggest you always use cash before cards:

If you only use plastic your bartender won’t appreciate your generosity til the end of the evening when you sign your bill. Kick off with cash, and lay down the tips upfront. Then switch to a tab, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that not all of your drinks show up on the bill.

This advice isn’t uncommon, but it’s helpful info for those who think there’s no reason to carry around cash anymore. Bartenders want you to have a good time, and if you scratch their back they will do what they can to scratch yours. Check out our post on how to get a bartender’s attention without being a jerk for more tips.

How to Order a Drink Without Looking Like a Noob [Wired]


  • What strange planet do you live on? Bar staff want you to have a great time?
    Barmen in country pubs reluctantly pour beers while staring through your lies.
    Club staff pour beers so mechanically, part of their souls are lost in each glass.
    Bar staff are too busy flirting with each other to notice patrons 4 deep at the counter.
    I think you’d get more of a reward running their tips through the pool room jukebox, playing Kasey Chambers ballads.
    Take me to your pub please.

  • This really isn’t relevant in Aus. I work in a bar and I can tell you that you almost never receive tips and if you do it’s usually coins of some kind. And you can’t just give away drinks there’s this thing called stocktake

    • Yeah, that only really works in places that free pour and play loose with serving sizes. Everything here seems to be measured and logged with German efficiency.

  • Nah, this doesn’t happen – I worked bars for many years (albeit many years ago) both as a server and manager.

    A lot of places have cameras watching staff as much as customers. And networked tills to audit all transactions. Mainly to stop people giving freebies to their mates.

    Even without the cameras or other tech, managers are often around checking stock and clearing notes from the tills. Giving away freebies without approval is an on-the-spot sackable offence in many places, so it’s simply not worth losing a job over.

    Even with no scrutiny, this type of thing just doesn’t enter the heads of bar staff. Sure, you might have tipped me and I’d have definitely said thanks. But in a busy place, I’d be highly unlikely to remember after you walked away. And even less so when you return to the bar later.

  • Works every time. Also, try tipping the checkout staff at the supermarket; and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that not all of your groceries show up on the bill.

    Yeah, right.

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