HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Why don't servers bring me a glass for my bottled beer?

Maybe this is just an issue that bothers me more than it should. I am a middle aged woman who doesn't think that slugging beer out of a bottle in most restaurant settings is particularly ladylike. Just last night, while waiting for a table at a Mexican restaurant, DH and I ordered drinks. I ordered a bottled beer, and the server brought DH his mixed drink in a glass and then placed an open bottle of beer on the bar table in front of me. When I asked her for a glass, she seemed both surprised and annoyed, and took quite a while to return with it. I was able to see her talking at the end of the bar, so it wasn't as though she was busy. It irritated me considerably, and I ended up asking the guy who was walking around with the chips and salsa to ask her to bring me a glass. It was a full ten minutes before she returned with a frosted beer mug.

So -- I am just being picky? Or do other people out there find the sight of a grown woman knocking one back straight from the bottle a little classless in a decent restaurant? A pizza joint, maybe, but not a restaurant. I wish this was the only time it has happened, but it just seems to me that these young servers haven't been trained properly and have no sensitivity to the fact that some women just don't want to drink beer this way while in a restaurant setting. Perhaps the worst example I've ever seen of this was at a black tie dinner -- and the beautiful young woman in question just guzzled her beer right out of the bottle in her formal evening wear.

I'd love to know what CHers think about this.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Have you noticed other people in the same places being brought a glass with their bottled beers? It isn't just some women, some men don't want to drink from the bottle at times, either. Many restaurants don't automatically bring a glass with a bottle of beer...it saves time, reduces the chances of a glass being broken and so on. I don't think it has to do with being trained properly necessarily...many people are just fine drinking out a bottle no matter the setting and many times glasses that are provided with a bottle of beer go untouched. So, I expect that particular restaurant has set it's default to "no glass."

    All that said, sounds like you had a server who either wasn't on her game or whose game isn't so good. I'd say to just start ordering your beer with a glass.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ccbweb

      I have to say that in spite of this explanation, which is somewhat obvious if you think about it, I still regard drinking out of a bottle as something guys do when hanging out the local bar with their buds, versus what a lady might do at a restaurant. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the excuse that it "reduces the chance of breakage". They may be saving time and reducing their costs, but they should train their serverts to ASK if the restaurant policy is "no glass". It's sloppy, low-class service otherwise, no matter how you justify it.

      1. re: RGC1982

        I also feel uncomfortable drinking out of a bottle - of any kind. May go back to my mother exclaiming "I feel like a slut" when she had to drink her coke out of a bottle in the car, because there were no straws or cups to be had! My husband recently bought me a bottle of water at the U.S. Open and the person working at the concession stand refused to give him a cup, even after he implored "It's for my wife. How is she supposed to drink it?" (and this reflected his sentiments as much as mine). And no cup even though that bottle of water was the most expensive bottle he's ever bought!

    2. I prefer to drink from a glass as well and was recently a bit annoyed when a favorite restaurant neglected to even offer me a glass. I can understand that some people prefer to drink right out of the bottle, but any restaurant other than a taco stand or equally ultra-casual environment should offer a glass and bring it promptly if requested

      1. I'm torn on this one.

        On one hand, it's beer; it comes in a bottle. If you're drinking a bottle of beer, it's probably not the most "ladylike" drink to begin with.

        However, fine wine also comes in a bottle and you use a glass for that.

        In my opinion, the best way to ensure you get a glass is simply to ask for one when you order your beer.

        10 Replies
        1. re: invinotheresverde

          I'm a man and I prefer a glass too. I mostly like the microbrews and it really helps to have a glass to truly enjoy the beer. If it were a coors light I wouldn't care about a glass.

          1. re: Rick

            Agreed. A good beer goes in a glass. A Bud Lite goes in your mouth (or better yet, the trash).


          2. re: invinotheresverde

            Hold on -- are you trying to say that I should have ordered a fruit-flavored cocktail with an umbrella in it because I am female? Sorry, Mexican beer is the perfect compliment to Mexican food. In fact, I rarely drink beer and only do so when it goes well with the food I am about to eat. I don't buy the idea that beer isn't a drink for women. It's almost as though you are implying that I should expect this behavior from my servers for choosing beer to begin with. I hope that is not what you really mean :) You seem much more evolved than that!

            1. re: RGC1982

              RGC, I think you should drink whatever you prefer to drink. I definitely don't think beer isn't something a woman can enjoy; I love small-batch porters and stouts myself.

              I DO think it's comical when someone wants a glass to go with his/her American Lager du Jour. Really, is that glass going to enhance the (lack of) flavor? Will it make the drinker feel more sophisticated? If someone asked me for a bottled beer, I wouldn't assume he/she wanted a glass unless one was asked for.

              I guess that's not for me to understand, as I'd never drink that crap. :) Plenty of people do, though. And I suppose if they want to drink it out of a glass, they have every right to- they just need to ask for one.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                oh well you and jfood did have a run at agreement yesterday, but now back to differing opinions. Whether it's a male or female serving a bottle should always be accompanied by a glass. The choice of use is up to the custo. And really you're kidding on making that distinction.

                That's like, in your line of work, bringing a juice glass for certain bottles of wine and fine crystal for others. jfood assumes that you give the appropriate wine glasses for everyone who orders, irrespective of pricepoint or your opinion.

                BTW - be careful that the shoe laces don;t get snagged on the bi-cuspids on the way out. ouch.

                1. re: jfood

                  yowsa, jfood. you give bourdain a run for the money on certain snark factors. lol.
                  glasses forever! yes!

                  1. re: alkapal

                    not snarky at all, jfood and verde have a mutual respect in their disagreements.

                  2. re: jfood

                    Serving a glass without being asked for one is against many restaurants' policies, mine included.

                    I assure you, I'm not suffering from any foot-in-mouth right now.

                2. re: RGC1982

                  Hope you're not referring to me but if you are, your post seems to imply that men drink out of bottles and women should drink out of glasses. Was just stating that as a man, I prefer a glass to a bottle.

                  1. re: Rick

                    Agreed - my husband also prefers a glass.

              2. funny, I always wonder why on earth waiters bring me a glass. I'd rather drink from the bottle ;-) That said, the places I order bottled beed, it would be fine to see a grown woman drinking from a bottle (I refuse to call myself middle-aged though I am 39)

                1. I prefer to drink out of a glass in restaurants, but from the bottle at a bar. If you want a glass, ask for one, but the server shouldn't take 10 minutes to bring it to you! That's just bad service. Having said that, I don't find drinking out of a frosty mug any more ladylike than swigging from a bottle! Just a regular glass is fine.

                  1. I don't think it's necessarily the correct thing but it is rather typical for Mexican beers to be served in the bottle with no glass (at least here in Southern California). I don't think I've ever been served a Corona, Dos Equis, Pacifico or the like with a glass unless I asked for it or sometimes the server will ask if I want a glass (obviously the best thing to have happen). Beyond that it may also depend on the general 'aesthetic' of the specific restaurant. Out-of-the-bottle is a kindof lifestyle thing in some kinds of places. JMHO.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Midlife

                      I agree that it's kinda being left out that this was a Mexican Restaurant, usually in my experience they serve a cold bottle with no glass. The obvious exception being Negro Modelos.

                      1. re: luniz

                        I always drink Negro Modelo from the bottle.

                    2. I used to love a good dark beer like Guinness - always served in a pint glass. I would always prefer a nice glass like a Pilsner or pint glass when ordering a bottled beer. It just had less carbonation (burp) when in a glass and the taste and aroma were better.

                      Whenever I see a bunch of people standing at a bar drinking from the bottle, I figure it's for convenience. However, whenever I'm in a good pub, I order tap beer served in a glass. Also frat boys prefer to drink straight from the bottle - it looks more manly. Ha!

                      Here's a beer forum where the majority of beer drinkers say they never drink from the bottle or a can.

                      1. Drinking a good beer out of a bottle is like drinking wine out of a bottle! You miss out on so much; the hue of the beer, the aromas.

                        Refusing to drink water out of a bottle is a bit confusing. I don't see how that equates a woman to a slut at all.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Lixer

                          I'm not saying it makes sense - and my mother and I both burst out laughing after she made her comment. But I do still prefer to drink out of glass ... water or other beverages.

                          Edit - of course - I went to a school where, if we were seen eating on the street nearby, would be told by a teacher "Ladies do not eat on the street"! Some things just get ingrained in one, for whatever reason.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            i want a glass, too! beer tastes better. ladies (in which group i am) look nicer. i have the same pet peeve about not bringing a glass for beer. poor training. was not a mexican restaurant where last monday i asked the waiter, "what, you don't beleve in glasses for beer here?" "uh..oh, do you want a glass? i'll be right back." 8 minutes later......

                            and i don't care if it is cheap beer. it is a beverage. (i like microbrews, myself)

                        2. If it's cheap beer (Bud, Corona, etc.), I wouldn't expect a glass. Especially in a Mexican restaurant. If it's a nicer microbrew/import, the beer actually tastes better in a glass. Why not just ask for a glass when you order the beer? That's what I do. And I know a lot of women who like to drink from the bottle.

                          1. I am always offered a glass, or just brought a glass for my bottled beer which I politely decline. I prefer drinking out of bottle.

                            1. Most restaurants I've worked in suggest asking if the customer would like a glass with it. I've worked in restaurants where you automatically bring it and maybe 1 out of 50 beer orders the person actually wants it, and when they don't you have to walk back to the bar with the glass, which is just yet another trip on a busy evening service. I just got into the habit of asking if they'd like a glass when the beer was ordered.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: rockandroller1


                                I had to chime in here

                                a few points here:

                                I used to ONLY drink out of a bottle. Drinking out of a glass hurt my stomach. something about the amount of air i was swallowing with my beer.

                                Guiness has changed all of that and I almost always drink out of a glass.

                                HOWEVER, one thing I will say is :ASK. all you have to do is ask for a glass. She looked at you oddly because if you wanted a glass with your bottled beer you should have asked for one when you ordered your beer in a bottle! I get so tired of people who get all upset at a server because they are too concerned with how the server looked at them weird. grow some self asteem. Who the heck cares if they think it is odd.

                                next time order something on tap and it wont be an issue.

                              2. I find it more annoying to order a beer and be brought a mug so frosted that when you pour the beer in it becomes a beer slushy. Yes, it definitely keeps the beer cold, but if I want a slush, I can take a sip off my wife's strawberry margarita.
                                I would just recommend that in the future say, "I'd like a bottle of "x beer" and a beer glass." The waitress/waiter should be no more inconvenienced than if you ask for ketchup for your fries or an extra fork. You ARE the customer, after all.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: podunkboy

                                  I agree - frosty mug is not for me. Most servers ask me if I would like a glass - (I am a female). And, I usually say yes.

                                2. I have read all the replies so far, and I think a lot of you might be missing the point. This is a simple question of etiquette. The type of beer (American "swill" vs. "nice" beer) is irrelevant. The setting is the point - and the distinction is that the OP was in a restaurant, not at home. Nothing should be drunk out of the bottle in public. If you choose to do so, that is your business (and yes, I do too on occasion). However, the server should have provided a glass, regardless of the restaurant, and regardless of whether the patron was male or female. When she did not, the poster was well within her rights to request one. The fact that it took so long to receive one was deplorable service.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: evewitch

                                    "the distinction is that the OP was in a restaurant"

                                    A Mexican restaurant, a Mexican beer. As has been noted, this is standard service for this product.

                                    "Nothing should be drunk out of the bottle in public" Sez who?

                                    1. re: evewitch

                                      I agree, who made the rule: "nothing should be drunk out of the bottle in public"?

                                      I figure by drinking out of the bottle & not dirtying a glass, I am doing my part to keep the planet "green", One less glass to wash, and water wasted... ; )

                                      1. re: evewitch

                                        I completely agree with the last two sentences of your post. Any customer is always well within their rights to request a glass. Such a request should be met as quickly as a request for (to borrow form a post above) ketchup for fries or a fork. The wait is inexcusable.

                                        However, I don't think modern etiquette still holds a prohibition against drinking beer or soda out of a bottle. As I think about this more, though, it seems clear that restaurants should most often ask if a customer would like a glass when they order a bottle of beer. (I can think of exceptions, but they're usually fairly divey...or a lot divey.)

                                        One interesting note: Guiness has a whole marketing campaign based around getting people _not_ to poor their product from bottles into a glass but, rather, to drink straight from the bottle because their bottles are specially designed to replicate the draught beer experience.

                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                          SOME of the guinness is in cans that have a special fizzy factor gimmick. i think they have two different styles for their cans.

                                          the bottle gimmick is a follow-on to the fizzy can gimmick.

                                          who can imagine guinness better from a bottleneck?!?! i don't buy that sales pitch!
                                          (i also notice on the bottle on the website: "serve extra cold."!!!!!) (is the guinness grave rumbling?


                                          the beer needs to breathe, and you do too for full flavor.

                                      2. Avila's El Ranchito - San Clemente, CA: Negra Modelo, ice cold bottle, lime wedge inserted in top, no glass....... no problem!!!!!

                                        High-end white tablecloth establishment: totally different thing!!!!

                                        Middle-aged, well-dressed woman alone at above Mexican restaurant: should ask you if you'd like a glass.

                                        1. This board caught my attention because my drinking buddy (also a gurl, but not as Southern) always orders bottled beer and I generally order tap. When the server brings the drinks, 9 times out of 10 he or she pours my buddy's beer into a glass. This drives her crazy- she orders bottled beer because she prefers drinking from a bottle. Looks like the solution to both RGC's problem and ours has already been suggested. Either preference is easy enough to accomodate if the server would just ask.