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If a bartender serves you a second beer without asking, do you assume it's on the house?

This has warranted some discussion on the Not About Food board. What say some more committed Beer drinkers?


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    1. Absent an indication its free, the answer is no.

        1. I followed that thread and I still can't understand that incident. I would consider it egregiously rude and not the hallmark of a good bartender. Don't they ever have patrons who switch brands or even to liquor on the next round? Or order a glass of water or soda pop every other round? Maybe I'm not going to the upscale bars, but I've always had a bartender ask if they can get me another and never just assume I will have another, regardless of how I position an empty glass on the bar, etc.

          And as far as committed beer drinker, yes I've definitely been that, and in various types of bars. But I've also done all of the above I've listed, I.e. switch type/brand of beer, ordered water every other round, had a cocktail between rounds, etc. I've also had plenty of bottled beer served to me and there's never been any magical second bottle appear if I push the empty away from me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: charlesbois

            The glaring weird thing to me is having it be the second beer. Where on god's green earth do bars do every-other-round buybacks?
            To me buybacks are the fourth round. Apparently they are the third (!) in some places.
            I moved this over here to get some input from folks who are by definition BEER people.
            What are your thoughts about rounds? My experience is that craft bars don't do rounds. Am I wrong? What do you think?

            1. re: charlesbois

              My first guess would be that the bartender misinterpreted a gesture or comment from the customer to mean "I'll have one more of the same."
              My second guess would be that the bartender simply made a mistake; perhaps the beer was intended for another guest and was mistakenly delivered to the wrong guest.
              In either case, if the customer did not want the beer, he might have simply told the bartender so.
              If the customer said nothing and drank the beer, I think he would reasonably be expected to pay for it.
              Just my 2 cents, of course.

            2. At a bar I assume I am paying for every drink poured for me, if they decide not to charge me for one, I consider it a bonus - especially in MA where a "free" drink is against the law.

              In some bars in southern NY/northern NJ buy backs every 3rd or 4th beer might be common, but never every other beer.

              Hate when servers just assume that I am going to have another of the same beer though. Stemming from years of conditioning pre-craft beer revolution I guess.

              2 Replies
              1. re: LStaff

                Exactly my response in the original post. In this day and age, I only drink the same beer twice in a row if there's only one good beer offered.

                1. re: LStaff

                  "Stemming from years of conditioning pre-craft beer revolution"

                  Thats a good point. Back in the day most of us stayed with the same beer to the point where the local bartender was pouring your beer as soon as they saw you walking in the door.

                2. If I don't ask for a other drink and the bartender ours me one, yes, I assume its on the house.

                  1. Is it possible that the bartender was confused?

                    1. I absolutely don't assume it's on the house... especially a 2nd beer... now maybe the 5th or 6th ? 2nd drink, no way I would assume that.

                      Back in the stone age when I was a bartender I worked for this guy who's policy was "keep 'em set up"... "these people are drinkers"... not sure if that mentality still prevails today, but at that place as soon as a customer finished one drink, I had another in front of them til they waved off any more.

                      That said I think it's bad policy not to at least nod to the customer and get an acknowledgement before serving them another...