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Taking one for the tab
Angela De Claro | Photo: Toby Burditt | February 2, 2012
Local bartender (and San Francisco intern) Angela De Claro weighs in on the Bay Area dating scene, from her vantage point as the fly-on-the-wall watching it all unfold.
After working the bar for the past three years, I can attest that people’s spending and tipping habits are a reflection of their character—stingy or generous, disciplined or careless, elitist or charitable. But you’d be surprised by what some people think is appropriate bar behavior. Here are my rules for handling your money (and yourself) in good taste.
DO be mindful of your budget.
Case in point: One of my regulars comes in with a set amount of money that he’s willing to spend, including the tip. While this careful approach may not have women flocking around his bar stool, shouldn’t everyone be looking for a fiscally responsible partner these days?
DON’T go out if you don’t have any money.
Case in point: I’ve watched plenty of couples struggle through the first date. Everything seems to be going well, and then the bill comes—and the awkward dance over who should pay. One couple was particularly vocal on the issue: When I brought the tab, the girl stuck a $100 bill in the book, threw it down on the table, and told her date to keep the change because he obviously needed it, then stormed out, leaving a trail of expletives. Pretty obvious she expected him to pay.
DON’T show off your money, even if you really have it.
Case in point: Scott Disick—being an ostentatious jerk is not a good look, even on reality TV.
DO be careful with those margaritas.
Case in point: When I first started working, there was a woman so overflowing with love (and cocktails) that she felt she had to share it with all the men at the bar. So she went around kissing every guy (did I mention this was during the lunch hour?). She was promptly removed from the premises.
DON’T get too frisky if you’ve had too many $3 whiskeys.
Case in point: Two middle-aged singles who had just met at the bar hit it off very well—so well that things got, shall we say, intimate on the patio later in the evening. When discovered, they were asked to leave, but not until they’d endured the Walk of Shame across the restaurant to close their tab.
DO be polite to your bartender. (Read: Don’t stiff them.)
Case in point: I have watched many a women give “the look” to their guy when he stiffs the bartender. Sadly, it’s the same look men seem to ignore, so getting stiffed is very common occurrence, pretty much every night of the week.
DON’T flash your designer wallet, $100 bills (and then coincidentally stiff the bartender).
Case in point: The Friday night after payday brings in all the male peacocks—bright and flashy in every sense. They spend money like it’s nothing, but don’t tip, and end up getting denied anyways. Nobody likes a baller on a budget.
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