This was written on by the site admin J Cloth. He has been around for a bit and understand the music industry. I grew up trying to play music for people, and this here is hilarious and informative all at the same time. Take a read. This is the guy who actually knows what he is talking about, not your buddy who knows another buddy who knows a guy who hung out with Hedley once.

Live music shows are completely different than club nights. Generally speaking, the average person spends less than $10 at a show at the bar, versus much more on club nights, which in turn means less tips for the bartenders (does not apply in live music venues). In some cases this causes bartenders to refuse to work live music events, especially when it’s an all ages event (this often occurs in live music venues).

Because of these facts above, we can assume the following:

The bartender is actually a fan of live music, be it the style being played or in general.

Because of this, you have an advantage to make a fan or a friend.

But before we get to that, let’s examine the art of tipping.

In our free world economy, it is generally accepted that you should tip between 10% and 15%. It should be noted that the quality of subsequent service will, in most cases, increase based on the amount and rate of tipping. When trying to win the affection (service) and regard (impression) of a bartender, it is always best to exceed this amount. (These hints can be used in non-band life as well).

When extremely lucky, bands are given drink tickets. In many of these cases, band members of bands who are likely to be unsuccessful will fail to tip entirely. Note: ALL BARTENDERS NOTICE THAT YOU ARE A CHEAPSKATE, and many will discuss the fact among friends, staff and anyone who will listen, at some point.

It should be noted that I am not being paid by a Bartender’s union on this, but:


You tip on the service of the drink, not on the cost of the drink to you.

That said, there a few a ways to do this, none of which can guarantee anything.

1) Tip a large amount at the beginning. This amount should be in the red or green bill variety (for Canadians of coruse). Should you try this tactic, it is always best to make it evident. It will definitely result in prompter service and in many cases, some free drinks.
2) Tip per drink. Unless you tip quite well, this is likely to go unnoticed, unless no one is drinking or no one is there.
3) Tip quite well at the end of the night before the bartender leaves. While this tactic often gains praise, it usually means less free drinks.

Beyond the monetary amount of tipping, you can use the bartender to your advantage to gain fans and shows.

While this tidbit of information should normally cost you, at the very least your first to third born, I offer it to you here, for free, because I want you to praise my posts (and me as you would Count Chocula).

Always try and give the bartender a shirt.

This should only happen if they seem likely to wear your shirt in such cases as they seemed to actually like you or your band. Never mistake “feigning interest” as the real thing as bartenders can be sultry vixens (and/or the male equivalent) and will do so by pretending they care that you exist.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you are absolutely certain the bartender is into you and/or your band, hook them up with a shirt. A shirt is best because everyone gets to see it. Of course if there’s more than one bartender be prepared to do it multiple times (you might have to do this for the bar back or runner too, but not security, they don’t like you remember). This may seem like it’s costing you a lot, but in the real world this is known as marketing. Besides the fact you’ve gained a powerful billboard to promoter you band (especially if the bartender is the sultry vixen or male equivalent spoken about earlier) you have also gained an ally in the club/venue who will herald your name to staff, friends, management, owners and promoters. This will likely increase your chances of getting another show. Also you might get some free drinks out of it.

It’s always best to ascertain this situation before the end of the night as you are most likely to be remembered, and the shirt not lost. Plus in some cases the sultry vixen might disrobe in front of you (yes it happens) and you might get a glimpse of side boob or even arriola (in some cases man boobs or just hair), which is always a plus. Of course there’s also the chance of free drinks.

Please note that the free shirt should never be used as a bartering tool, even if the bartender is drooling over you. Doing so would be tacky, tasteless and not garner you positive results.

Should the situation not present itself during bar service, any bartender who attempts to purchase a shirt (even if it’s because they spilt mustard on their staff shirt) should be given a free shirt. At this point it should be assumed they’ll wear it again. This offering should be given to any and all staff who attempt to purchase one of your shirts. If you are hurting for money or just want their money (since you’ll never be back because they didn’t have Clamato juice) make a deal where they get a CD (what are these again????) for free, or something of the sort.


In summation, always have money to give a bartender as tips.
Use them as a marketing tool should you gain their favour.
Be prepared to invest money in them with product.
Reap the rewards.


Of course the other solution is don’t tip, don’t care, and don’t be remembered tomorrow.


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