Taproom Etiquette: Do’s, Don’ts, and How Much To Tip

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We all behave ourselves like the classy, respectful individuals we are at all times, so we’re sure you need no guidance on etiquette at all. 

But, we’re here with answers just in case you were ever wondering things like, “How much should I tip if I’m just picking up a four pack?” and “Does the bartender actually hate me because I’m doing something that’s a total pet peeve of theirs without me knowing?”

You’re worried about that last question now, aren’t you? It’s ok. 

We called around to various taprooms and asked bartenders and managers alike these questions and more that way you can be the favorite customer at your local taproom, guaranteed.

Here are the big tips we learned:

  1. Tipping

Every bartender and manager we spoke to was incredibly kind. When we asked, “How much should someone tip if they’re just picking up a four pack?” They all answered something along the lines of, “tipping isn’t required or expected, but of course it’s appreciated.” 

We’re pretty sure they have to say that, so we changed the question. 

We asked, “In a perfect world, how much would people tip when they were picking up a four pack?”

The general answer here was, “As much as you would tip when paying your normal bar bill,” but there were some caveats.  For instance, if you ask for suggestions, recommendations, or guidance based on your current tastes and they spend their time helping you find a new great beer, then you should DEFINITELY tip well. 

These kind folks are using their expertise to get you something you love, and that’s worth a good tip even on a carry-out order. 

  1. Worst Behavior

We’re sure every bartender has horror stories of isolated incidents (one story involved a grown man throwing a pool cue like a javelin across the bar after a few too many on Saint Patrick’s Day).  But as for the day to day customer who didn’t decide to suddenly try out for a track and field team, there were a few behaviors that came up enough we felt they deserved to be mentioned.

First, don’t negatively comment on what someone else has in their glass.  Most bartenders said they tried to shut that behavior down immediately, but it still happens a lot.  It may be fun to joke around with your friends about who has better taste, but don’t bother a stranger to insult his beer. 

Second, don’t tap your credit card on the bar or wave money to try and get your bartender’s attention.  They’re busy folks, but they’re working hard and they’ll get to you as soon as they can. 

We’d like to blame this behavior on every bar scene in every movie ever produced where a rich hot shot type walks in and waves hundreds and instantly is the center of attention. 

Turns out, that’s super annoying. By far the best advice we received came from a bartender (who will be named here only as Katie) who said, “Just don’t be an a*%hole.”

  1. Best Behavior

Best practices for visiting your taphouse and instantly becoming the favorite range from the obvious (tip well) to the safe (“wash your hands” came up a lot), but other than that bartenders at taprooms want you to, “go for the experience,” as Katie, the same wise sage from before, put it. 

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Don’t go just to get drunk, or to drink the same beer you already know you love all night long. 

While obviously there’s nothing wrong with having a favorite beer and drinking lots of it, and we sure don’t need to tell you that getting drunk is great, a taproom can be a place for you to discover all kinds of great things, and the atmosphere is intended to be much more relaxed and centered around that discovery as opposed to a rowdy sports bar where getting drunk is the whole point.

Tip well, wash your hands, and engage with the craft part of craft beer. Good etiquette has never been easier.

Our research into the minds of taproom bartenders has yielded priceless pieces of advice that we personally thought would have been mostly common sense but apparently are not.

We’ve given you a lot to think about here, (it’s the pool cue javelin.  We want you to think long and hard  about a whole grown adult throwing a pool cue like a javelin.) but when in doubt in any situation let Katie’s words be your guide.

Don’t be an a$%hole.