Warning: You May Be Stiffing Your Bartender

“Two-buck tip on four drinks — thanks guy!”Photo:
Introducing Eatiquette, your restaurant-focused guide to common decency and arbitrary custom.

It’s always a happy moment: You’ve been chatting at the bar, guzzling it up, when the host shimmers into place to tell you that your table is ready. So smooth is the transition that you don’t even have to pay! Your tab is added to your dinner bill, and some soigné functionary puts the drinks on a tray and whisks them to your table.

Does this mean your tip on the meal covers the drinks as well?

Bartenders have to eat, too, and it’s always bad form to stiff one. Michael Lawrence, co-operations director at Daniel, has this to say: “Consensus here is that, yes, one should leave a tip for the bartender or lounge server before proceeding into the dining room. At a fine-dining restaurant, an appropriate bar tip for two guests would be $3 to $4.”

This being the 21st century and all, we always leave $5 (per round, of course).

The Exceptions
The bartender insults your date.
The bar’s got a self-serve tap.

Address Eatiquette inquiries to

Warning: You May Be Stiffing Your Bartender