Table for Two: How To Get The Bartender’s Attention Without Being Too Aggressive

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CatchBartenderWhen you bring a date to a restaurant, you have an audience the whole time: the ever-watching staff. It’s time we learned something from them.

I reached out to a range of restauranteurs, servers and hosts, all of whom have seen the best and worst of our wining and dining behavior, to get their tips and etiquette insights on dining out with a date. We’ll be releasing the results over the course of the next two weeks.

Best ways to get a bar tender’s attention without coming off as overly aggressive?

Julian Brizzi (Co-owner, Rucola, Brooklyn)Basic rules of communication.  Be polite and direct, make eye contact. Read your server and try to connect with him or her as best you can personally.

Michael Terlecki (Manager, L’Orignal, Montreal)Let the girl order the drinks. You pay. Or pull a $20 out and make it visible.

Chloe Harrison (Server, La Superior, Brooklyn)Same as getting a table. Wait and be patient and don’t yell out at the bar tender.

TIP:Be polite to staff for better service and quicker seating.

Alexandria LaPorte (Manager, Cafe Mogador, Brooklyn)Never wave frantically to a bartender.  A subtle nod is fine.  I know bartenders who specifically ignore people who wave in their faces.

Taylor Phelps (Server, Sombre Mexican Kitchen, Ridgeland, MS)If you patiently wait and let him or her know what you need and tell them to take their time, they are more likely to help you out first instead of the impatient customers.

Eileen Curren (Server, Cooper’s Craft and Kitchen, Manhattan):  Usually all it takes is some subtle eye contact.

Daniel Notkin (restauranteur and oysterman, Old Port Oyster Co., Montreal): There’s no real answer. Tipping well on your first drink sometimes works, but sometimes out of consideration they don’t look or leave the money there for a bit.

Check back tomorrow for the next installment of Table for Two! Previously:

• How To Get a Good Table At a Busy Restaurant


Read more from Ben at BK + MTL Kitchens.