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The rookie’s guide to bartender etiquette

Face it, jack: Missoula’s vaunted youth culture scene is firmly rooted in its service economy, and with so many young people working so many of the waitress and bartender jobs, word travels fast who’s a jackass, a skinflint, a leering cretin. Jerkish behavior, unwitting or otherwise, can and will cost you down the road. You don’t think bartenders remember who stiffed them last time? Who blew a gasket when his drink order didn’t come out quite right? Guess again. This New Year’s, why not make it your resolution to not be such a neanderthal at the public house? Here, popular local bartenders explain how. And if you think your mama raised you right and this just seems like common courtesy in the light of day, you should see what a pack of gibbering knaves some of you turn into anyway after you’ve hoisted a few too many.

I Got Yer Tip Right Here, Pal

An insider’s guide to drink etiquette for rookies and those who just haven’t gotten it yet

By the Ritz bar staff

1) Try not to wad your money up in tight little balls when paying for drinks. It takes the bartenders longer to unfold them and the drinks longer to make.

2) Please don’t knock your glass on the counter and wave money at the bartender—this isn’t the bidding floor of an auction house. The same goes for whistling and snapping fingers.

3)Asking for a “stiffy” may result in your getting stiffed, and if the bartender looks at you funny and you reply “C’mon!” then friends, it’s all over.

4)Please please please don’t spit chew or gum into a glass or ashtray, especially when you could just as easily find a napkin or plastic cup.

5)When ordering a drink, try not to turn your back on the bartender—next drink, she might turn her back on you.

6)Don’t order a drink from two different bartenders at the same time. You might get charged double and end up with a single.

7)If you don’t know what’s in a drink and neither does the bartender, you’re probably not going to get it. Move on.

8)Ordering a bloody Mary after 5 PM in a busy bar will result in a bloody mess for all parties involved. Unless, of course, it’s pre-made. Snowbowl, for example, makes a damned fine one.

9)Don’t stand in the cocktail area (usually distinguishable by the “salad bar” and straws) or come behind the bar. Big no-no.

10)Don’t ask for free drinks (birthdays are sometimes the exception) and don’t bitch, cry or moan—it makes you look pathetic.

Pop quiz: If a bartender buys you a drink, it’s because:
A) he/she likes you—but don’t assume—or
B) you’ve already had a fair amount of drinks, or
C) you’ve been a good patron.

If you answered A, B, or C, pay attention and tip!

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