19 Secret Bartender Code Words & Numbers [Revealed]

bartender code words
Joe | Last Updated: November 22, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

Ever caught a phrase from the bartender that seemed like insider talk? That’s because it is.

These code words, often tossed around casually, are actually important tools that allow bartenders to communicate with one another in secret.

They’re quite literally the secret sauce to maintaining order, managing the crowd, and even dealing with tough customers.

In this post, we’re going give you the inside scoop on these phrases, giving you a peek into how bartenders keep things flowing smoothly.

Let’s take a look…

Decoding Bartender Code Words And Numbers

To be honest, the code words used by bartenders are not just words – there’s a whole bunch of numbers as well.

I’ve worked in many bars over the years that use LOTS of code numbers, in fact, it can be quite tricky to remember them all!

Code numbers (and words) are an easy way to communicate with staff members without patrons knowing what you’re saying.

Sneaky, but effective!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we talk in cryptic numbers all the time. There are some actual code words, too, which are used alongside the numerical codes.

Below are some of the most common code numbers you’ll hear in many bars around the world:

Cracking The Numbers 

1. 0 

You know bartenders are famous for their bottle-flipping skills, often launching bottles through the sky to make a patron smile.

The first code number bartenders use is “0”. It’s not a random number or a math problem. It’s actually a quick, playful alert from your bartender – a heads-up that something’s flying through the air towards you.

2. 699 

One of the more common codes used by bartenders is 699, which refers to an attractive woman who can make at least five or six heads pop up from behind the counter.

If you hear a random 699 while at a bar, you can be sure that a baddie just walked in and turned heads.

3. 700 

Taking it up a notch, 700 means the crème de la crème of eye candy just strolled in.

Forget the area code scale; this is the hottest girl in the entire building, and everyone needs to be in the loop.

4. 747

It might sound a bit blunt, but bartenders have a code for everything.

I’ve not heard this one before personally, but one Reddit user described the 747 as “Fatty, but you probably would…”.


In other words, 747 is used to delicately address someone who may not be the epitome of fitness but can still be considered an attractive customer.

5. 900

Money talks, and in the bartender code, 900 signals that a guy is trying to impress his date.

bartender code words
Photo by RDNE Stock project

He’s essentially “rented” the girl for the night, and you can bet there’s a tip involved.

6. 85

When you hear 85, it’s not the temperature outside; it’s a subtle heads-up that the stock is dwindling.

In other words, this bartender code means that it is time for a quick beer run to replenish supplies before things get hectic.

7. 86

The number 86 is a dreaded code word that can be typically heard if the number 85 is not heeded.

In simple terms, 86 is the signal that is used to let staff know that a particular item is no longer available. 

8. 68 

The opposite of 86 is 68 is used to indicate that a particular item is back in stock.

9. 100 

When the bartender shouts “100,” it’s time to tidy up.

This can usually be heard after a patron leaves the table, and the next one is about to come in.

10. 200 

200 is the secret handshake for “help, we need assistance!” Whether it’s a demanding customer or an overflowing toilet, 200 is the call for backup.

11. 601

These next two numerical codes are used for bathroom breaks.

In this regard, 601 is the discreet way of saying, “Excuse me, I gotta pee.”

12. 602

The more direct cousin of 601, this code number leaves no room for interpretation.

So, when you hear 602, it means that the bartender needs to take a potty break.

13. 603

Need a smoke break? 603 is your way to step outside for a nicotine fix without letting every man and their dog know you smoke.

14. 608

Even bartenders need to refuel from time to time. When you hear 608, it’s the secret code for sneaking in a quick bite to eat.

15. 300/300 High

These two code words are a pretty fun way of celebrating a woman’s beauty and her, well, assets!

If a bartender yells “300”, then you can be sure that they’ve sighted a pair of big old knockers somewhere in the bar. 

Subsequently, “300 high” has been described by a Reddit user as a “Big ol’ pair of boobies.” So, it essentially takes the vanilla 300 up a notch.

Simplifying Bartender Jargon

16. Advent 

In bartender speak, when you hear “Advent” uttered behind the bar, it’s their code for a group of attractive ladies about to enter the establishment.

17. Barry White

In the spirit of camaraderie, some bartenders have their own poetic way of saying they need a bathroom break.

Enter “Barry White,” a common way for UK bartenders to candidly describe “Going for a shite.”

18. Angel Shot 

Take note of this one. It’s important. The “angel shot” is a secret code for patrons, usually women, to discreetly signal they need assistance without drawing too much attention.

If they’ve got a creepy date on their hands and want out, this is their ticket.

19. Shoes 

If someone mentions “shoes,” they’re not critiquing fashion – it means that an attractive person walked into the bar.

So, the word “shoes” is basically the secret code for identifying good-looking customers, regardless of their gender.

Wrapping Up

So, that was a list of the many different bartender code words and numbers that you may hear in establishments around the globe.

Next time you find yourself at a bar, pay a little extra attention – you might catch some of these codes in action

Yeah, I admit that many of them may seem a bit vulgar or condescending, but we’re talking about bartenders here, not lawyers.

Catch you next time.