Why You Should Always Carry Cash When You Go To A Bar

Why You Should Always Carry Cash When You Go To A Bar

For a fun night at a bar, all you really need any more is a smartphone with a ride sharing app and maybe a credit or debit card. But using cash can get the bartender on your side, and actually save you some money if you’re not planning to stay very long.

Photo by CityOfStPete.

Say you’re going to meet some friends at a bar. You order a drink, hand the bartender your credit or debit card, then they ask if you want to leave your tab open. When you tell them you’d like to close it, they tell you there’s a $10 minimum so you’ll have to order something else. Can they do that? As we previously reported, yes, enforcing a minimum spend is perfectly legal. Businesses can set minimum dollar amounts, generally around $10. So that $6 beer is going to cost you another $4 if you don’t have any cash on you.

In addition, paying with cash makes it easier to tip a specific bartender – which is very useful if you’re settling in for a night of drinking. Drop a generous tip of 30-40 per cent or so when you order your first round. The bartender will be more inclined to serve you first from then on, which means less time waiting at the bar and more time socialising and drinking.

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.

Read more

Is That $10 Credit Card Minimum at the Bar Legal? [VinePair]


  • I never put my card behind the bar because I may get pissed and forget it.

    In general though, Alcohol is something you should rarely pay with for anything but cash. You have to assume anything paid for on card leaves a record and do you really want a health insurer one day knowing how much booze you drink / used to drink?

  • Australians don’t tip in bars generally and even when they do i tell them to put it in the charity tin. Wins on pokies and betting (TAB) for example are different; Sometimes people will tip you if they win large amounts. Tips are generally split in most bars/bistros ,etc.

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