Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Nov 13, 2008 10:15 AM

Double tipping on a bar bill?

Recently, I ran up a few drinks at a restaurant bar before being seated. The tab was transferred to my dinner/table bill.

My companion said I needed to tip the bartender. I disagreed, as I said I would tip on the final bill.

If I tip the bartender, and then tip on the final bill, I'm tipping twice on the drinks - which on over $80 worth of drinks amounts to $16.

If I don't tip the bartender, is he shorted (table tips not shared?)

If I reduce my tip on the dining bill, the waiter will feel slighted and shorted.

Aside from the obvious choice of settling at the bar, what do people do here?


PS. I ended up tipping both, but it didn't seem right.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Happens all the time, the server will tipout the bartender. Only tip once

    2 Replies
    1. re: duck833

      The bartender gets between 1-3% of the server's liquor sales. I would tip the bartender as well. I understand how it feels like double tipping, but once that check was transferred from the bar to the restaurant, the bartender lost those sales.

      1. re: Ette1010

        I think the question is: Why is the waiter being tipped on these drinks?

    2. I do usually tip the bartender directly, regardless of whether or not the bar tab is transferred to the dinner check, and then don't tip on those drinks on the dinner check. Don't know if that is problematic or not - I suppose that in a place that pools tips, it might be, if I assume that the bartender pockets the cash tip.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        I disagree, tipping is good karma, just spread a little extra love around. If your dropping 80 bucks on drinks while your waiting on a table your not hurting for cash.

        1. re: heredia76

          I guess 40% is the new 20%.


          If you're worried about the bartender getting stiffed, either pay (and tip on) your bar tab separately or let the server and the barkeep know that $X of your tip is for the drinks. But you probably shouldn't be worried; any place that will carry your bar tab over to dinner has a system in place so that the tips get distributed properly. Otherwise they couldn't keep a bartender.

          That's not to say that it's improper to double-tip; overtipping bartenders gets you more than just good karma. But a double tip is clearly unnecessary.

          Whether the OP can afford to double-tip is completely irrelevant. The social convention is that the tip depends on the amount of the check, not the customer's socioeconomic status. Otherwise, Bill Gates would need to buy his server a new car every time he has a hamburger.

      2. thats why I always cash out at the bar, that way the bartender gets tipped on the drinks i had @ the bar. I never transfer the bar tab to the table.

        5 Replies
              1. re: Atahualpa

                True, true true!

                You're concerned about the bartender. Good on you! Please make the extra effort to cashout and tip at the bar.

              2. ask for separate bills and add tip to each one.

                1. We often have a few drinks in the bar before sitting at our table. My husband hands the bartender the appropriate tip in cash when he asks that the bill be transferred. I have no doubt that it is greatly appreciated as we have been told that on more than one occasion.