How to make your bartender hook it up. Because getting shit for free is harder than it looks.

How to make your bartender hook it up. Because getting shit for free is harder than it looks.

CultureJune 23, 2013

Nothing screams desperation more like being that guy who's waiting at the bar for 20 minutes to get a round of drinks. Don't be that guy. Learn how to keep it cool and make the bartender your new best brah.

Keep it cool
When you meet a restaurant or bar employee and he tells you he’ll “hook it up” sometime, don’t freak out. This offer gets thrown around a lot in the industry; you’re not that special. Say thanks, but act like you may or may not follow through. When you eventually show up, pretend you totally forgot about the offer. If he forgot about the offer, don’t bring it up—unless tacky is your go-to move.

Give it some time
If you meet an off-duty bartender who says she’ll “buy you a drink” at her bar sometime, don’t show up the next day to collect. Unless the two of you had some kind of serious bonding moment, she may have forgotten you, in which case the interaction will quickly turn awkward. However, wait too long and you may suffer the same fate: being forgotten. Give it a week, but don’t give it a month. Remember: Flaky is better than creepy.

All good things in moderation
If you’ve got an “in,” don’t blow it. An offer of a beer doesn’t mean two fingers of top-shelf scotch. And don’t come in twice a week. A successful relationship with an industry professional is built on occasional interactions, surface-level camaraderie and appropriate (read: excessive) tipping. Don’t stick around all night whining about your job and your boyfriend and expect half of your drinks to be free.

Keep it to yourself
There’s no surer way to ruin a good hookup situation than bringing in nine of your buddies who are looking for some free shit too. Leave the moochers at home. And once your hookup relationship is firmly established, don’t go around bragging to everybody about your free handouts from behind the bar—you might end up running your mouth to the wrong person and get your hookup fired. Now your good thing is blown before it even got going, and some guy you didn’t even know that well is jobless and wondering what the fuck just happened.

Reciprocation is key
If you work somewhere with merchandise or services to trade, then hook it up. If you work at an investment bank, tip well; at a coffee shop, offer a latte; at an auto shop, an oil change. The point is to keep the back scratching mutual. Just remember: If you work at a newspaper, you should probably find a new job.