How to get served first in a busy bar

This year we are going to check out the Wildhorse tent at Calgary Stampede, Canada.  We’ve spoken to insiders to make life a whole lot easier to get your drink on. Here are our top tips for getting served first during Calgary Stampede.

An insider’s guide on how to get ahead of the game, make bar staff your new BFF, and be the first to be sipping on a cold brew in the midst of the Stampede craziness.

You may think you’ve got the winning formula already, or maybe, in your opinion there is no rhyme or rhythm to it. However, what you are about to read will change your bar techniques forever. Trust us, this is gold.  Heck, you can even try out your new talents at any bar throughout the year to hone your skills!

  • Don’t piss off the bar staff - simple! There is a massive line-up of thirsty partygoers behind you so they don’t have to take shit from you. These guys have the power to serve you, choose when to serve you, not serve you, cut you off, or even get you booted out of the place.
  • Be nice, this goes hand in hand with our point above. Yeah, the bar staff are slammed and don’t have time for idle chitchat, but they are stull human and deserve some common courtesy. Don’t expect to get served quickly if you’re shouting your mouth off, or can’t even say please or thank-you. Manners cost nothing!
  • Be ready and know what you want. You’ve just waded your way through a three deep line-up and don’t know what you want? You dumb ass! By the time you’re at the wood you should know what you’re ordering and if you don’t, the bar staff will just move on to the next person who is going to be more decisive than you. You snooze, you lose.
  • Pay cash. Every time someone pays with plastic it slows down the service and a little bit of the bar tender dies inside.
  • Don’t order cocktails or other fancy shit - keep it simple. The fancy stuff really slows down service. There is a time and a place for that and the bar in the Cowboys tent is not one of those places!
  • Use your assets – this goes for men and women. Let’s be honest, everyone likes to flirt and get positive attention so you may as well use what you’ve got to your advantage, because everyone else is! Bat those eyelashes, do that thing with your hair, flex those pipes, give the bartender a compliment etc.
  • Be consistent. If you can keep ordering the same round each time, you’re going to make the bar tender’s life so much easier and you’re going to get your drink much sooner – win win!
  • Try your best not to slur.  Keep it together, speak clearly and concisely so that the bar staff can hear you and understand you in a busy bar.  No one has the time to ask you 5 times if you want a vodka cran, or soda, or was that a vodka water? You get the point!
  • Yes the bar staff are hot. This doesn’t mean they are fair game or that this is the right time to use your best lines. Save your “talents” for another time.
  • TIP. Always tip, even if you’re not getting table service, doesn’t matter. It’s balls to the wall busy and the bar staff are probably working overtime right now, especially with it being Stampede week. Plus, if you don’t show some appreciation for their craft, don’t expect any back. Remember, this is how these guys make their living. Added pointer – tip big on your first round and more often than not, the bartender will remember this and show you his/her appreciation next time you’re looking for a drink.
  • Keep your order as small as possible.  Don’t make on the fly additions to your order. Buy the drinks for you crew and get on your way!
  • Do not complain. Whatever you do, do not complain about your wait time. If anyone should be complaining about how long they have been waiting for a drink, it’s the bar staff.
  • Have your own pecking order. The guys behind the bar don’t know exactly who got there first or whose turn it is. If the bartender serves someone else before you, now is not the time to throw the toys out of the pram. Now is the time to be the bigger person and let the guy or gal next to you go first. The bartender will notice this and you’ll definitely win some brownie points! .
  • Trust the bartender. It may look like chaos, but it’s organized (kinda). Needless to say, every bartender has his or her own system. Some work left to right or vice versa, some work from one pump to another. Whatever the system they have, just know that they have one.
  • Don’t forget a drink. Try not to forget a drink when ordering large rounds. If you make additions or changes to your order, this really fcks the system up and slows everything down - see point 11. Then no one is happy!
  • Repeat. Go back to the same server, they will remember your order, they will recognize your face and appreciate the loyal business (and of course the tips).