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Feb 12, 2011 05:08 AM

What is the best way to order food/drinks that keeps the bartender happy?

When I eat out alone and eat at the bar what I've been doing is usually ordering a drink first then drinking while I look through the menu and then I order food. While I'm eating I might order a second drink. Then after dinner I might order dessert. Then after that coffee. Each time I will wait for the bartender to come by and then I'll ask him for the next item.

I was reading an article that said bartenders much prefer if you order everything you're going to have that evening all at once right when he first talks to you because that saves him trouble of constantly asking you if you would like anything else. It emphasised that the bartender will be able to remember everything with no problem.

I never thought of that valid? Is ordering everything all at once the preferred way to go when eating at the bar?

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  1. I prefer to order drink-by-drink as I am likely to change my mind mid-course. As long as a good tip is given to the bartender, I am sure happiness will be ensured. After all, the bartender is there to provide service as you need it.

    1. Please provide a link to the article, as I'd like to see who's responsible for this idiotic suggestion. I don't always walk into a bar knowing how long I'm going to stay or how many drinks I'm going to have, and I'm sure I'm not unusual in this regard. Nor have I ever been offered a (separate) dessert menu along with the main menu. Have you?

      5 Replies
      1. re: small h

        Most places I've been have a separate menu for dessert; except if some dessert need to be order at the same time as the rest of the meal (souflé, ... )


        1. re: Maximilien

          Yes, that was my point. If a separate dessert menu exists, I've never been given it while I'm deciding on an appetizer and an entree.

        2. re: small h

          I wouldn't be surprised if the article didn't suggest the customer order an entire round at once rather than ordering one drink at a time if you want multiple drinks for your group. That can be annoying to a bartender but idea that someone should order everything they will consume in an evening defies common sense.

          1. re: reatard

            Oh, sure. That makes perfect sense: If you want multiple items to arrive simultaneously, you order them all at once. Goes for food as well as drinks.

            But there's a reason that bars with two-for-one happy hours usually give out some sort of marker to remind the bartender that you've got a free drink coming - bartenders can't possibly be expected to remember who gets what and when.

            1. re: small h

              Having been a bartender I can tell you there are people that when asked what would you like they will say, "Guinness". You go and pour the pint and when you get back and say, "That'll be $6, please", they say, "Oh, I'd like a Stella Artois, too." Go back to the taps, pour the second beer, "Okay, that'll be $12" and get in reply, "And a Jack and Coke." If they had just ordered all at once it would save you a minute or two.

              If it's busy night this system of ordering can make you want to pull you hair out.

        3. Never done that, never will.

          As much as I like the bartenders, I don't trust them remembering my full order, especially when there is a rapid turn-over of people at the bar.

          1. Part of the bartender's job is to "sell" drinks. By eliminating the bartender's need to check up on you, he can't ask "Would you like another drink?" - which might be enough of a nudge for a customer to re-order. It may be easier on the bartender to take a complete order, but I would think it is not in the best interest of the bar itself.

            1. Frankly I could not care less (up to a point) if the bartender is "happy." I would like him to be friendly, efficient, responsive, and competent.

              - If i am thirsty when I sit i order my glass of water
              - If I want to finish the chapter of the book i am reading for 5 minutes i will do that before ordering
              - If I want to order and appetizer first and then return to the menu for the entree then i will do it
              - if i only want an appetizer and dessert i will do it
              - if i want only an appetizer i will do it
              - if i want dessert only i will do it
              - if i want to order all at once i will do it.

              i am totally flexible but:

              "max happiness of bartender" is not even a line in the linear program

              As i have said in other threads...this is my down time, my time to relax, while it is the bartender's time to work. I spend my work time making my clients happy, i am now on the other side of the coin.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jfood


                It's the bartender's JOB to check on the guest often, unless the guest has made it clear he doesn't want to be bothered. The "advice" given is ludicrous.

                I normally order exactly how the OP does, and, as someone who bartended for more years than I like to recall, so does almost everyone else. No one is expected to order everything at once.

                1. re: invinotheresverde

                  Thanks...I will continue ordering as I have been doing it. Sounds like I'm doing it right.