The 21 Rules of Bar Etiquette

John LeFevre
3 min readAug 27, 2018

You can be dumb. You can be rude. You can be incompetent. I don’t really care, as long as it doesn’t impact me.

But if you are any of those things in a bar and it interferes with my ability to drink, we’re gonna have a problem.

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Read this, absorb it, and the next time you’re out in a bar, by all means, imbibe… but, abide by these simple rules for bar etiquette, and a few tips for your drinking pleasure:

  1. Be a regular at more than one bar. It’s a good hedge, if like me, you’ve been banned from a few.
  2. Be patient. There’s no line to get drinks in your refrigerator.
  3. Always tip more than you should. Tipping at a regular spot is also a good investment.
  4. Never ask for a ‘good pour.’ That’s asking for something for free, and bartenders can get fired for that. If they like you, they’ll hook you up.
  5. Don’t ask to transfer a tab to the dinner table. Settle up.
  6. If you’re having more than one drink, throw a card behind the bar. You can always settle the tab in cash at the end of the night.
  7. Don’t get drunk on beer when you’re trying to pick up girls. When you’re in the bathroom every fifteen minutes, she’s checking out your competition.
  8. Never take off your suit jacket. Nobody ever pictures a drunk in a suit and tie. Remove the jacket; destroy the illusion.
  9. Don’t treat a bartender like he’s just some guy waiting until he finds a real job. The bartender at the St. Regis has a Range Rover and a beach house.
  10. Drink where your wallet is comfortable. When it doesn’t matter how much the drinks cost, it’s always Happy Hour.
  11. Don’t whistle, snap, yell, or wave money, unless you want people to think you work at Morgan Stanley.
  12. If you want to buy a woman a drink, ask her permission. If the bartender has to say, “This is from the guy who didn’t have the balls to approach you,” you’ve got no chance.
  13. If you are having friends meet you out, clear your tab before they show up. It’s not cool if they end up paying, but more importantly, it’ll make you look like the drunk…



John LeFevre

Signed contracts with Goldman Sachs and Simon & Schuster, and paid lawyers more than I made. Author of STRAIGHT TO HELL (not about @gselevator or Goldman Sachs)