Do Bartenders Like Regulars? (Useful Guide)

do bartenders like regulars
Joe | Last Updated: April 23, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

Regular customers are the backbone of any great bar. It’s a sign that customers enjoy the atmosphere and know what to expect when they enter.

It’s crucial if you want a lively, thriving bar that people want to return to, which is why looking after your regulars is excellent for business.

Regular, consistent traffic can keep a business running through the darkest of times. If customers like the bar, they’ll return time and time again no matter the circumstances.

In this post, we’re going to answer a question that often comes up when discussing regulars. “Do bartenders like regulars?”

YES, bartenders DO like regulars. In fact, many bartenders get along so well with regulars that it makes coming to work much more enjoyable. Seeing a friendly face enter the bar is all a bartender needs to turn a bad shift into a good one.

Let’s take a closer look…

Do Bartenders Actually Like Regulars?

Working as a bartender is certainly one of the most social jobs out there. Interacting with colleagues, customers, and just about anyone who walks through the door is all part of the job.

But depending on the bar, it can get lonely at times. I’ve worked in bars that only see a handful of customers each day, the rest of the time is spent cleaning, waiting for customers, and wishing the shift would end (not fun!).

do bartenders like regulars
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

In bars that don’t see much footfall, bartenders LOVE regulars. It makes all the difference to the shift and makes the time at work go much faster. Even in busy, thriving bars, regular customers are still great to see and a breath of fresh air.

Why Do Bartenders Like Regulars?

For the most part, regular customers are highly appreciated by bartenders, but there are some exceptions. Some regulars are better than others, and I mean that in a literal sense.

Below are some of the reasons why many bartenders like having regular customers:

Friendly Face

Bartenders that are having a rough shift love it when a regular walks in. There’s nothing quite like seeing a friendly face when you’re halfway through a shift from hell.

Sometimes all a bartender needs is to see a regular walk in to immediately feel at ease and destress, it can make all the difference to a busy night and lift them right out of a bad mood.

Develop A Rapport

Over time, bartenders begin to develop a rapport with their regulars, sometimes one that can develop into a strong friendship.

Understanding what regulars do for a living, their family life, and even some secrets that they wouldn’t tell their usual friends or family members is common.

Bartenders that build a rapport with their regulars are usually the most successful. They know what the customer is going to order without question and can confidently get their drink ready before the regular arrives at the bar.

This goes a long way in bartending, not only does the customer feel valued but they will return time and time which is great for business.

After a while working the bar, bartenders will hopefully have a handful of regulars that they have built a rapport with and be delighted when these customers come into the bar.

Good Conversation

Bar work can get lonely at times, especially when working in a bar that doesn’t get much footfall. This is why having regular customers in a bar can make all the difference for bartenders.

A good conversation with regulars makes time fly and the shift much more enjoyable. Who wants to stand behind a bar waiting for customers by themselves all night? Not me!

Neither do bartenders, which is why they like it when regulars come for a drink as they’re sure to bring a conversation with them.

Sometimes even a boring conversation is better than none at all!

Patience and Polite

One of the main reasons bartenders like regulars is because they usually have more patience and are more polite and reasonable than regular customers.

If the bar is clearly busy, it’s unlikely that regulars are going to start complaining or causing trouble as they’ve already built a relationship with the bartenders.

This would not only cause more stress for the bartenders but could give them a bad reputation or even get them barred from the establishment. That’s not something regulars want to happen.

Regulars are also known to be excellent tippers. They do this out of generosity but also to get on the good side of bartenders and get served faster during the busy periods.

Look after your regulars and they’ll look after you!

How To Tell If A Bartender Likes You

Customers can usually tell if a bartender likes them or not by how they are greeted when they first walk into the bar.

Regulars that are in the good books will likely get a “hello” or a welcome nod, and if they’re really appreciated may even have their favorite drink waiting for them.

Bartenders that like the regulars will usually serve them quickly and go above and beyond to make sure they receive excellent service.

They’ll also open up a conversation perhaps asking how their day at work was or what they have been up to lately. This is a SURE sign that the bartender likes you or finds you interesting.

On the other hand, if the bartender is not so fond of the customer, they may get no acknowledgment at all and be waiting to be served for a longer time.

do bartenders like regulars
Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

No conversation will be started and the exchange will be purely transactional in the hopes that the customer goes away and sits down somewhere away from the bar.

While working in bars you meet people from all walks of life. Some are polite, kind, and have great conversations whilst others are rude, obnoxious, and arrogant.

Bartenders remember how customers behave too, so if you’ve EVER been rude or caused a scene in the bar it’s likely the bartender will remember it and treat you accordingly.

How Do Bartenders Build Regulars?

One of the most effective ways to secure repeat customers to a bar is to ensure that the bartenders are excellent at their job and are great with people.

You would be surprised at just how many people will actively return to a bar solely because of the experience they had with certain bartenders.

I do it myself in my local town. I return to the same handful of bars that I know have great bartenders and ones that I’ll be served a drink promptly and have a good atmosphere.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways bartenders can help to build a regular customer base:


Treating ALL customers with respect is a sure way to help build your reputation as a bartender and help secure more regular customers.

This means being polite and kind to customers whether or not you agree with them and giving them a baseline of respect when they enter the bar.


If you’re an extrovert (like me) and enjoy having conversations and meeting new people this can be an excellent way to help build regular customers.

Talk and engage with customers in the bar and ask how their day was or what they do for a living. You’ll not win every customer over but the ones that you do are much more likely to become regulars.

Bartenders AND customers love conversation whilst having a drink and many will actively seek out bars that offer them a good conversation.

Prompt Serving

One of the fastest ways to ruin a bar’s reputation or customer base is by having bartenders that are just too darn SLOW!

Prompt service is essential for helping build a regular customer base. You don’t need to be lightning fast, but you do need to be able to service customers quickly when it’s busy and be able to focus.

This comes with experience, but if you notice the bar getting busier it’s important to knuckle down and save those conversations for another time.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a clear answer to “do bartenders like regulars” and have a better understanding of why they most certainly DO.

Most bartenders LOVE having regulars, especially if they are polite, kind, and respectful regulars that make working the bar easier for staff.

Next time you are in a bar make a conscious effort to speak with the bartender, you never know you may become the next regular.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I’ll catch you in the next one!