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Sitting at the bar when you don't drink?

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  • Sitting at the bar when you don't drink?

    So, I'm a non-drinker (family history, personal choice, etc...) but I like to sit at the bar of restaurants sometimes. Usually I do this so I can watch a game or beat a wait, but in general I just sort of enjoy sitting there. My question is, since I don't drink alcohol should I just avoid the bar area, or should I just be friendly and tip well on what I do order?

    I'm really just looking for some advice on this subject that always makes me feel a little uncomfortable because I feel like I'm imposing on some sort of members only area. Any help you guys can give would be appreciated.

  • #2

    Order a coke or a water... Nobody but the bartender needs to know what is or isn't in it


    • #3

      Agree with Jason. @jtrandall, if you're concerned about the amount to tip, I would also base that off how much time you're there and how much attention you get from the bartender. IE, if you're there a long time (a whole game) and go through a few refills, I would probably give the guy $5 on a $2.5 coke.

      My Measurements: 6' 1" height, 35" sleeves, 41-42" chest/jacket, 35" waist, 34" inseam, 11.5D/EEE shoes, 200 lbs


      • #4

        Order a Sprite and tell the bartender to throw a lime wedge in there oh yea, put a small black straw in it.

        Your all good with that! Looks can be deceiving or they can be comforting.


        • #5

          agreed with above, it doesn't really matter. if you order anything to eat or drink, you can sit there, and nobody can tell the difference between a coke or a jack and coke


          • #6

            I wouldn't worry about it. To be honest, if I'm at a bar, my last concern is what the guy next to me is drinking.


            • #7

              There are many reasons to be at a bar, and not all of them include alcohol, shall we say.

              Request club soda. Receive for free. Tip. Depending on the establishment $1-2 for each fill, or $5-10+ for a night.


              • #8

                You shouldn't worry about the people around you.

                You should be mindful that while you're sitting at the bar drinking your $2 coke, that your occupying a spot that could have been filled with a person buying a $6 or $7 alcoholic drink. And that person buying a $6 or $7 alcoholic drink will more than likely be consuming them at a greater rate than you.

                Just be aware of how crowded the bar is and tip the waiter accordingly.


                • #9

                  I agree with people above, there are plenty of people looking to drink something besides alcohol that are going to end up in a bar, and the bar still wants that business. No one else will know.


                  • #10

                    Nothing wrong with going to a bar/restaurant and not getting -OH (alcohol for all you non-science nerds). Just be sure you get SOMETHING. Owners and bartenders wouldn't appreciate it at all if you sat there for hours and didn't get anything. Wings, fries, chicken sandwich... with a water.

                    No one's going to care.


                    • #11

                      I don't think bartenders care if you don't buy anything, as long as you tip them. They don't care much for filling the owner's pockets - plenty of them steal beaucoup shots. After all, what if you aren't hungry and you don't drink?

                      If you don't tip them, they'll think you're a stingy bastard.


                      • #12

                        Not sure if this thread was prompted by this recent Serious Eats article and most of you have seen it, but here is one bartender's (polarizing) take on it:


                        • #13

                          The bartender in that story sounds like a straight up ass. If I were in the customer's position I would be calling over the manager. I've gotten only water at a bar before and tipped - the bartender there told me tipping for water is entirely unnecessary. It was a busy night and people were all around... Does the bartender in the story want everyone to get drunk and then drive home?

                          I guess this negates the whole thing about bartenders not caring what you get as long as you tip. Granted it doesn't say if the customer tipped in that story or not. It isn't brought up, so I'm assuming it didn't matter.

                          In either case, always tip your bartender.


                          • #14

                            Albert, I don't think bartenders truly care much if the house makes money.

                            My take is, I'm putting money on the counter, it's your choice what to do with it. If you take it all for yourself as a tip, don't complain about the house not getting money. You will probably need to tip much more as a teetoler than as a drinker, because your drink is free.


                            • #15

                              I read that article and all the comments. I sympathize with owners of bars, coffee shops, cafes, etc. People come to these places to unwind at their own pace, and the only way these businesses make money is on snacks and drinks. One guy can drink water at a bar. Some girl can use the wifi on her MacBook and only order one house coffee while she spreads out across an entire couch / table. Too many of these people and your place is packed yet generating less revenue.

                              Slightly different: I've been in restaurants that play club music and want to turn tables as fast as possible. The staff is literally watching you eat and the check comes before you can ask for dessert. I rarely go to these places; usually the food is overpriced and you're paying for ambiance. In my opinion, if the place is packed to the gills and the owners are forcing people out, then they're not charging enough. But, "turn & burn" is a different business model, like it or not.

                              What is the acceptable amount of time that you should stay with respect to the amount of money you spend there? I'm guessing owners and patrons use a different scale. If owners of these places made it public (IE 1 drink / hour minimum) would they get more or less business?

                              My Measurements: 6' 1" height, 35" sleeves, 41-42" chest/jacket, 35" waist, 34" inseam, 11.5D/EEE shoes, 200 lbs