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Sep 12, 2010 06:16 PM

How much do you tip the bartender if you order dinner at the bar as well as a few beers?

The bartender presented me with a bill which included both the dinner and the beers. I tipped 20% on the entire bill and gave the total to the bartender. I guess that makes sense since the bartender was the one who took my order for the dinner as well as the beers and also placed the plate of food in front of me (although one of the waiters had to run the food up two flights of stairs to the bar). I guess it's up to the bartender to "tip out" the waiter. No other practical way of handling the tipping that I can see.

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  1. Tip them just like you would a waiter for table service. Our standard is 20% and up.

    1. I do the very same, and assume that at the end of the night, they will pool, or settle up. If not, that is their issue, but I have done my "duty." I cannot hold their hands, or force them to "look in the mirror."

      Only time that I break tips out will be when someone (sommelier, busser, ?) does something really over the top. An example would be a meal in Hawai`i, where our server was MIA most of the evening. Some things needed to be addressed, and our busser took great care of them. The tip on the meal was ~ 12% on the total with tax and wine, but the busser got a $20, with a handshake. He saved an otherwise bad experience.

      I've done similar with a few sommeliers too.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        +1 re the busser. Have done the same on gratefully few occasions. As you say, that person saved the evening. I have also sought out a manager to praise that person by name. That kind of talent should be utilized.

      2. I eat at bars a lot and it's never occurred to me to leave separate tips. I generally pay with a credit or debit card anyway and I just add it into the total. As for the amount: i start with around 16-20% and adjust up or down depending on the quality of the service. I've gone as high as 50% when the service was really good or I just wanted to be very nice to the bartender and establish a relationship at a place I knew I'd be going back to a lot, and as low as ... nothing when the service was horrible.

        2 Replies
        1. re: taos

          Normally, I am with you (few notable exceptions), until a recent reply from a bartender earlier here. The comment was made that the waitstaff shared with the bartender, but that was not reciprocal. Do not know how true that was, but it did catch my attention. Maybe I need to keep a few more singles in the bill-clip and cover that possibility.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Where I work, the bar staff tips out the food runners for bringing their food.

        2. jfood does not understand the commission standards of any retail establishment he buys from and the tip-out scenario of the restaurant is inside baseball from his POV. He eats at the bar, the table or at both he leaves a tip commenserate with the service received. This is jfood's down time and entertainment, not a review of the next draft of a business plan.

          Now to the question, jfood leaves his normal 15-20% tip on the entire bill, post tax.

          1. OP, I'm curious as to what prompted you to question how you're doing it currently.

            1 Reply
            1. re: c oliver

              Nothing really, I just thought about it last time I ate there.