Navigate The Bar Like a Pro

Don't be that bill-waving hussy at the end of the bar. Tips on how to sit and sip in style.

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Q: I need a drink, and I need it now, so how do I get the bartender to pay attention to me?

A:

Patience! Stand halfway down the bar and catch his eye. Then, wait for him to acknowledge you and make his way over. "The first mistake is that people don't make eye contact with the bartender and just start rattling off their drinks. I tend to ignore those people," says Jason Kosmas, coauthor of

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Q: But I need five drinks (I'm buying the round). Is it OK if I order them all at once?

A:

Only if you pay in one shot. It's not OK to order a round and then make the bartender wait while you split the bill. "Do that, and you're not going to get served again all night," says

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coauthor Dushan Zaric.

Q: If I accept a drink from a random guy, what do I have to do in return?

A:

Nothing-you're not a prostitute. But a nice guy should send it through the bartender so you can easily accept or decline the offer. Plus, that way, you know he didn't slip anything into it.

Q: Do I really have to tip the same amount for a bottle of beer as I do for a more elaborate cocktail?

A:

It's based on price. You should give at least $1 per drink, but at a swanky restaurant or lounge in a major city, that jumps to $2. If you run up a tab or order a round, 20 percent of the total is appropriate. And always tip on a free drink. "Trust me. Every bartender knows how much money the customer left," says Zaric.

Q: If I can't taste any rum in my Bacardi and Coke, can I ask for more?

A:

It's OK to ask the bartender, nicely, to add a little more liquor to your drink. "Be playful. Say you had a bad day or 'Mama's got to get her drink on!'" advises Kosmas. Smiling also helps.

Q: Ugh, this wine is too fruity. Can I send it back?

A:

No. The purpose of sniffing and sipping is to make sure the wine isn't skunked-not to see if you like it. If you don't, well, that's just too bad.

Q: I don't drink alcohol, but sometimes I want to look like I do. What should I order?

A:

Ask for club soda with cranberry juice in a tall, thin Collins glass. "I've had people ask for a shot of water instead of vodka," says Kosmas. No shame in it.

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