Cocktail bar etiquette: 8 elegant tips and tricks you ought to know

There’s nothing more relaxing than dropping by the best bar in Hongkong after work or on weekends. You probably want to unwind and hang out with friends for a few drinks in a cocktail bar.

When it comes to this, a cocktail bar is your best bet. Visit a bar, a hotel, or any establishment that serves cocktails. Then, ask for your favourites like Margaritas, Bloody Marys, and Manhattans.

From there, savour the combination of fruit juices, spices, and garnish. The cocktail has a base liquor, such as vodka or gin. You’ll love the variety of flavours, from sour to sweet and peppery to smooth.

But did you know that there’s cocktail bar etiquette? To avoid embarrassing yourself, here are eight elegant tips and tricks for you:

Eight cocktail bar tips and tricks for you

Image Credit: QUI NGUYEN/Unsplash

Cocktail bar etiquette is there for good reasons. It consists of rules for visiting a cocktail bar. It includes:

  • When to visit
  • How to order
  • What to eat and drink
  • What behaviour to exhibit

Sure, you’ll have the best drinks while you unwind in a cocktail bar. Remember, however, that you share the place with others. Therefore, you should show some love and respect.

Here are eight cocktail bar tips and tricks for you:

1. Visit a cocktail bar after dinner

The first thing you do is decide what cocktail bar to visit. You probably check customer reviews for choosing a bar or restaurant. But do you know what comes next? It’s deciding on the appropriate time to drop by the bar.

Most bartenders agree that the ideal time to visit a cocktail bar is after 7:00 PM. It’s usually after dinner—after a decent meal. However, there are cocktail hours, the time between lunch and dinner as well.

2. Wear a smart casual attire

The dress code depends on the venue. If it’s a high-end cocktail bar, you should dress up well. But if it’s a local bar on the next street, you can be a little informal.

However, cocktail bars are generally refined places. So, the rule of thumb is: Opt for a small casual attire. Don’t go too formal or informal. Still, the name of the game is dress to kill.

3. Know what to order and drink

It won’t be a problem if you’ll have the best cocktails from chain restaurants. You most likely know what to order and drink. But if you’re clueless, heed our advice:

Before dinner, order lighter cocktails with wine, vodka, or gin as the base liquor. But after dinner, opt for something stronger, sweeter, and richer with whisky, rum, or bourbon. Note: It isn’t classy to order big meals. Go for appetisers and finger foods instead.

4. Observe the drinking glass etiquette

cocktail bar
Image Credit: Elevate/Unsplash

It’s one thing to order a cocktail; it’s another to drink them. That said, there’s a proper way to consume it. Know that bartenders follow the golden ratio and know what they’re producing. So complaining is a big no-no!

Generally, you should drink a cocktail within 20 to 40 minutes in small sips. Note: There’s no need to rush. As you have complimentary water, drink water from time to time. Also, hold the glass by the stem if you’ve got one.

5. Follow the seating and standing rules

There’s such a thing as seating and standing etiquette in a cocktail bar. Of course, it isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. But it’s worth observing for you to look classy and elegant.

If you’re standing at the bar, limit your movements. Stand in line while waiting for your tomatoey cocktails to get served. When sitting, don’t spread or stretch your legs. Keep them under control.

6. Manage your stuff and belongings

First, you don’t bring a lot of stuff to a cocktail bar. For girls, a small shoulder bag or a purse will do. For guys, have a wallet well-kept in your pocket.

But if you need some things with you, manage them well. Leave any bag or luggage in the cocktail bar’s wardrobe. Ensure you don’t impede other guests with your belongings.

7. Respect the staff and other guests

Cocktail bars are public places. You’ll be sharing the spaces with others. The general rule of thumb: Respect the staff and other guests. Take note:

  • Don’t rush the bartender preparing your iconic pink drink.
  • Ask the staff if it’s allowed to smoke.
  • Lower the volume of your phone.
  • Don’t text or call if you’re with others.
  • Don’t bring food and drinks from outside.
  • Limit your number of drinks to two long ones.

8. Don’t forget to tip

Finally—and most importantly, be generous enough to tip. Tip your bartender if you’re happy with how he makes your martini. Do the same with the doorman and other staff. They’ll remember you. They’ll provide you with the best service the next time you visit the bar.

Gracing the Cocktail Bar

It’s time to visit a cocktail bar after the day’s work. Hang out with your friends for fun and meet new faces for socialisation. Have a few cocktail drinks, chitchat, relax, and enjoy!

However, enter the place with poise and grace. Consider the cocktail bar etiquette discussed above. Follow the eight tips and tricks we’ve shared with you.

With these in mind, you won’t mess up and embarrass yourself. Ultimately, you’ll make the most of the cocktail bar experience you deserve!

(Credit for the hero and featured image: Gustavo Fring/Pexels)

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