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Former bar staff share etiquette for drinking on a holiday to get served faster

As another public holiday approaches this weekend (thank goodness for May), the fear of bar staff across the country is growing in anticipation of crowded pubs and clubs. Anyone who’s ever worked behind a bar will know the stress of managing a six-drink order while glancing anxiously at the growing queue.

Likewise, nothing is worse than being in that queue, timing the minutes until you are served while your friends enjoy themselves at the table. On busier days it can take over half an hour.

Neither are great, and queuing for drinks is objectively the worst thing about going out, and it doesn’t help when customers are irritated by the wait and staff at the bar responds to this irritation with stress. The good news is that we’ve compiled a list of 10 holiday drinking tips from three former bar workers.

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Between us we have worked in stadiums, pubs, clubs and a bar-restaurant. These tips will help you get served faster, keep your bar staff happy and relaxed, and make your bank holiday fun.

1. Have your cash or card handy

When a bar staff member is faced with a long bar of people, rather than a strict queue, they will always go for the order they think is fastest. One way to ensure this is to have your money ready.

If you are paying cash and can do so, calculate the amount of your order to avoid having to scramble for change. Five other people could have been served during this period.

2. Know in advance what you want to order

This joins the first point. If you procrastinate, chances are the bartender will tell you to make a decision and get back to you.

There’s no time to talk to each person through the individual pints, order the gin and tonic and be done with it.

3. If you order several drinks, do not leave Guinness until the end

Pouring Guinness is a bit trickier than your standard lager, you have to let it sit before filling. This remaining sitting time can be refilled by pouring other drinks.

It’s common sense, really.



A freshly poured pint of Guinness

4. If you order cocktails and want to be quick, order the same

Cocktails are an absolute pain of an order when it’s busy, but the bar staff won’t hate you because they know they taste the best. But it will save you a lot of time if you only prepare two or three identical drinks.

5. Clicking, waving and craning your neck won’t make you serve faster

The bar staff can be petty, I know I was, and I would deliberately let annoying customers serve until the end. Watching them get angrier and angrier after being rude is one of life’s great pleasures.

6. Forget fumbling for that extra £2 to round up the change

The bar staff know it’s just you trying to be helpful, and they genuinely appreciate the gesture. But don’t.

In a stressful environment like this, any concept of mental arithmetic disappears and the prospect of trying to figure out the new amount of change is too great.

7. Do not report that you have been shorted by one percent of a pint head

Even if you think you’re funny, don’t. We get it, you’ve already pulled a pint.

8. Don’t yell “HOW MUCH?” after the bartender tells you the price

If the bar staff were the ones who decided the drink prices, they would certainly have enough money without having to work on bank holiday weekends. Don’t hit the messenger.

9. Stick to the menu

Come on a quieter evening and the bar stuff will whip you up an off-menu cocktail with ease, no questions asked. A bank holiday weekend is neither the time nor the place.

10. Tip

In the end the bar staff gave up their bank holiday weekends to serve you. Even if it means rounding up your payment to the nearest pound, the bar staff will appreciate it.

They will probably remember your face and serve you faster next time.

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