Everything You Need to Know to Master the Open Bar

This season it’s very likely that you’ll find yourself at a wedding, engagement party, retirement party or gala of some kind. And if it’s a half-decent sort of affair, you’ll find yourself in front of an open bar. Here are a few rules to observe.

1. Know What You’re Looking For Before You Order

Don’t make the bartender rattle off the whole contents of her bar for you—chances are they have everything you’d expect. Also, if you’re “into” wine, the open bar is generally not going to be a place to find anything worth drinking.

2. Keep it Simple

If there’s a rush on the bar, now is not the time to order that mojito. Stick to two-ingredient cocktails and keep the line moving.

3. Don’t order for everyone within shouting distance

Ordering a drink for your date or your friend behind you in line is a thoughtful gesture. Ordering 12 drinks just causes confusion. And you’re too old for shots anyway.

4. Yes, you’re meant to tip

Even if there’s no jar, slipping the bartender a twenty will ensure good service all night. It also makes you look like a hero compared to everyone who doesn’t tip.