Tired of waiting at the bar while your friends have the time of their lives, but busy bartenders buzz past you, leaving a cloud of dust and cranberry juice? Maybe it's something you're doing. Or maybe it's something you're not doing. Mixologist Mark Slaughter has learned his trade at four bars, most recently at the swanky new View Ultralounge and Nightclub (618 Prospect Avenue). He offers a few pointers on the Do's and Don'ts of getting good service -- and thus getting back to the party.
Whistle, snap your fingers, or yell.
"You don't want to do that, definitely," says Slaughter. "It's kind of like snapping your fingers at a waiter. I won't put you at the bottom of the list, but a lot of bartenders won't rush right over to you. It's not the most mature thing to do."
Use your eyes.
"I'd say the best thing to do is to make eye contact," advises Slaughter. "And you'll get that look -- you'll know what it is when you get it."
Wave your money around. Most bartenders have seen a $20 bill before.
"I wouldn't wave my arm around with a $20 in my hand," says Slaughter. "Stand up, or lean against the bar a little."
Use more subtle body language. Waiting can get boring, but wait in a way that conveys intent.
"You can't look like you're just standing or sitting at the bar," says the bartender. "Another good thing you can do is to kind of stick your finger up, like when you're in class. Or let's say you're drinking Corona. You can just raise your beer up and point to it. Or hold it toward the edge of the bar."
Wait until you're getting that precious face time with your barkeep to figure out what you need.
"You definitely need to know what you want when the bartender gets to you," says Slaughter. "Especially in a packed bar. You'd definitely get passed over if you're taking too long, especially at a busy bar. A bartender might move along to the next person, then come back to you."
Smile, wave, wink, and call a bartender "Buddy" all you want -- but nothing conveys your affable nature like a couple bucks for the tip bucket.
"As a bartender, I tip at least a dollar a drink, or 20 percent," says Slaughter. "I tip every round. Every now and then, you have people that tip outrageously, and people like that definitely get the VIP treatment." And who doesn't like a little VIP treatment every now and then?
For its first New Year's Eve, View Ultralounge and Nightclub (618 Prospect Avenue) will present a Masquerade Ball (masks will be provided). Admission is complimentary before 10 p.m. Proper dress is required; 21 and over. Doors open at 8 p.m. 216-664-1815.
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