Always, always tip your bartender. If you don’t, you will find that next time you approach the bar to order, you will be ignored; permanently. Yes, if you are not ordering a fancy mixed drink, it may seem silly to give the person who popped off your beer bottle top some extra money, but, bartenders work very hard for minimum wage. Some bartenders even have to pay the bar for the privilege of working there – that’s how much money they pull in! Also, they usually have to split their tips with the busboys and dishwashers.
The norm tip for bartenders is $1 per drink ordered. If the drink was super complicated, or the bartender went out of their way to help you, then $2 per drink is great.
Don’t judge the bartender and dock their tip if the bar is super busy and you have to wait a little before being served. They are usually very good about paying attention to who got there first. If the bartender is being a jerk, though, and ignoring you (for example, you are a guy and the bartender is spending the night flirting with and serving the women only in the bar), give up and go to another bartender. If that’s the only bartender, unfortunately, you just have to suck it up and wait your turn and still tip. If you don’t tip, then that better be your last round of the night, because you are definitely not getting served again – instant invisible cloak!
If you are attending an event with an open bar, tip the bartender the same as if you were paying for the drink (again $1 per drink). Same thing for if the bartender gives you free food; tip as if you had paid for that (the normal 10-20% as discussed in the restaurant tips article).
Photo: Dreamstime/Mikhail Dudarev