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May 2, 2012 01:38 PM

Tipping in Pubs: Yes or No?

Pub staff never expected tips for food served but I have heard rumblings to the opposite of late. What do you think: Do you tip for food served in a pub dining room (not the bar), such as Sunday lunch? I thought it was an American influence creeping over, like the menus that now list chips as "Fries" or "French Fries". What about a roadside caff?


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    1. I am not someone who likes American tipping habits in this country, but I will leave a tip if I am eating in a pub dining room. A for tips for eating in the bar, it depends a bit - if it's an old school pub where it is just a pie and a pint, no I wouldn't, but if it is a meal, then I would, but it does depend a bit on the type of pub/meal/experience. I will generally round up or leave the usual - about 10%. It doesn't really change in practice for a road side cafe - I will round up or leave 5-10% (for cheaper food, often "rounding up" is more than 10% ...), but because of the lower price of the food (and the lack of alcohol on the bill), the tip won't be very much at all.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Theresa

        Doesn't it depend if there is already a service charge included? Agree I don't tip inthe bar, nor do you see service charges, but in a pub restaurant or dining room the same rules as any restaurant apply. In a roadside cafe doesn't it depend on whether there is table side service?

        1. re: PhilD

          Yes to all the above! But there are places where even eating in the bar I may leave something - if it came to £28.00, I'd leave £30.

          1. re: Theresa

            Bloody hell Theresa how much does a pork pie or scotch egg cost in your pub?

            1. re: PhilD

              If i order and pay at the bar then no tip, if my order is taken and a bill presented i'll tip.

              1. re: PhilD

                But they are very good pork pies ... :o)

                But I was talking about a meal in the bar of a pub, not a pie or a scocth egg ... And I agree with Lipgloss too - how you order, pay for and are served the food are the deciders for me - subtle differences in the way a place runs.

                1. re: Theresa

                  The level of service is the most important - even if it is table service, but the service is poor I will not leave a tip. And I will (mostly!) ask for it to be taken off the bill if it has been included and not deserved.

        2. Depends if it's a pub or arestaurant pretending to be pub. If the latter,then I'll usually leave something - although not as much as in a proper restaurant.That's mainly because I'm a tight bastard but also because I'd like to see less tipping here, not more.

          1. As an New Yorker transplanted to London, I often wondered about this too. After eight months, I think I have finally come up with a system:

            1. Do not bother tipping a bartender in a pub. They don't expect it, don't understand your reason for doing it, and it will not change your service. It's not like New York. They will not remember you, care if you tipped well or not, or otherwise have an influence on your evening.

            2. If you are having a meal in a pub, ask yourself this question: Did I have to go to the bar to order, pay before I received my food, and carry my food back to my table? If the answer is yes, you do not need to tip. This is fairly typical pub service.

            3. If you are having a meal in a pub and you are brought a menu, do not have to get your own food, and need to ask for the check at the end of the meal, yes... you should tip. (The standard here is less than in the States, so 10% is fine and more than that would be appreciate for good service.)

            2 Replies
            1. re: chorosch

              4. If you're eating in a pub, and the menu is on the table, but you have to go to the bar to order and the food is then brought to your table, no-one is going to expect a tip. This is probably the most typical pub food arrangement

              1. re: chorosch

                Chorosch, I like your criteria, and agree with them. The only exception I make is if I've been at the bar for several drinks with friends, I'll give enough to the publican for 'one for himself' at the end of a night's drinking. I've even had the publican join me for that extra drink when his shift was over, as we'd been chatting all evening.

              2. I'm wondering about this also. I was just in London two weeks ago (2nd trip this year for work) and have found a pub about four blocks from Harrod's that I like visiting. The first time I was there back in January, my waiter was a really nice and wound up talking to him for quite a long time. He gave me a lot of recommendations and bits of info about all the neighborhoods. I rounded up my tab (£8 fish, chips and peas) to £10.

                I went back to the same pub this past visit and it was great to see and have my same waiter, it really was like seeing an old college friend. I ordered the same and rounded up the tab but I included an additional pound to £11 because he helped me read my crinkled up map, lol. Both these visits were during lunch hour.

                For service charges already added for dinner (I only noticed service charges tacked on my dinner bills), I just pay and leave it as such. But if my pub lunch buddy sprung up as my waiter for a glossy dinner service, I'd be happy to leave additional because this guy deserves it!