Lessons in Bar Etiquette #249: the Bartender’s Name

This post was written by long-time Sandbartender Danny and originally appeared on his blog, This Blog Will Waste Your Time. Danny graciously gave us permission to repost it here, in hopes that more people will read it and learn something about proper behavior in the bar.

Hi! Are you a bar customer on a busy night? Do you need a drink? Let's run through some scenarios involving knowledge of the bartender's name to demonstrate some key principles of bar etiquette. Come along and bring your mind's eye for this magical journey!

Situation: You do not know my name and would like a drink.
Appropriate action: Wait patiently. You may not realize it, but in the 2 seconds it took me to glance up, I did see you and I now know you want a drink. I will get to you.

Situation: You want to know my name (for whatever reason)
Appropriate action: When I get around to serving you, you may politely ask my name along with providing your drink order. I will likely make an on-the-spot judgement of you to determine whether or not you're a "yeller". If you seem on the level, I will tell you my name. If not, you'll get a fake name. Something that I can easily ignore. No offense, of course, but I'll still know you want a drink, and it won't make any difference to you.

Situation: You know my name.
Appropriate action: Use my name in situations like "Thanks for the drink, Danny!", or "Nice to meet you, Danny!" or "Congratulations on whatever thing you recently accomplished, Danny!" etc….

Keep in mind that I did not include the phrase "Danny, I would like a drink." Which leads us to…

Situation: You know my name and you want a drink.
Appropriate action: Wait patiently. As before, it won't take me long to see you waiting. Do not yell my name. Since I am already aware you want a drink, this serves only to demonstrate to me that you think you shouldn't have to wait your turn. This also makes me less inclined to want to serve you and may lead to a longer than normal wait for your drink.

Situation: Somebody asks you "What is the bartender's name?"
Appropriate action: Regardless of whether you know my name or not, you should simply say "I don't know." The reason for this is because the question "What is the bartender's name?" is almost without fail followed by "HEY DANNY! CAN I GET A BLAH BLAH BLAH AND COKE?" These people are referred to as "yellers". They are lumped in with the glass-tappers, the money/hand wavers, the bar pounders, and the whistlers. Of this group of very special people, the yellers are perhaps the most annoying, and usually get to wait the longest for service because of their brilliant contribution to my bar atmosphere.

Situation: You are my friend, you know my name, and you want a drink.
Appropriate action: Wait patiently. If you think you're my friend and are under the impression that yelling my name to get a drink faster is appropriate, you're probably not actually my friend. You're at best an acquaintance, and more than likely a random person who just asked the person next to you what my name is. You're also a "yeller". The difference between you and an actual friend of mine is that anybody who is actually friends with me knows not to yell to get my attention. And they probably tip better than you as well.

And you wonder why they always seem to get served before you.

So, there you have it. A veteran bartender's advice on how and when to use his name. Stay tuned for more bar etiquette posts; we've got lots of advice.