I’ve been using the following system for tipping at bars (when there is no table service) for years:
1$ for opening or pouring a beer, pouring a shot, or mixing a two element drink (rum and coke)
2$ cocktail (eg martini, or something that involves a shaker)
3$ very fancy drink (generally something that involves squeezing a fruit)
I’m curious what other people do! Do you have a comparable system?
I’m also curious to know what you’d do in the following situation: imagine you are out a department event at a bar and you are buying two pitchers for the table, how much do you tip? (for sake of argument imagine it’s a 22$ a pitcher)
I think this is a good system. If the bar seems particularly empty, I’ll tip extra since bartenders often live off tips. Also, this only applies at the bar, if you have a server bringing you drinks, even if cheap drinks, tip them 15-20%.
I think it’s a matter of preference for drinks because drinks usually are cheaper than a dinner and you don’t want to under-tip. 15% of $5 is $0.75 which is insulting; don’t tip coins ever. On the other hand, as tophat mentioned, pitchers are relatively expensive for the effort expended, 15% of $20 is $3, but you can reasonably do $2. Typically if you make the bartender exert more effort, like making a mixed drink, tip higher.