Cocktail Confidence: How To Pick Up A Bartender

how to pickup a bartender
Joe | Last Updated: November 19, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

If you’ve ever found yourself captivated by the charm and charisma of a bartender, you’re not alone.

Bartenders are known for their social skills and ability to craft epic cocktails whilst making you feel right at home in their establishment.

They’re social chameleons that can chat with anyone at any time, and let’s not deny the fact that some bartenders are just SMOKING hot.

So how do you go about picking up a bartender in a respectable way and without being creepy?

Well, there are some things you should be aware of before you go marching over asking for their number.

That’s why in this post, we’ll explore how to pick up a bartender and give you some actionable tips and techniques for striking up a conversation, building a connection, and perhaps even securing a date with your bartender.

So let’s dive in and discover the secrets to picking up a bartender…

How To Pick Up A Bartender

Truth is, picking up a bartender isn’t much different from picking up any other person, only it may seem more difficult because of your perspective on bartenders.

That said, it’s important to remember that bartenders are there to do a job, so it’s important to approach them in a polite and respectful manner that won’t make them feel uncomfortable.

The key to picking up a bartender is to be respectful, genuine, and mindful of their boundaries, as well as offer them something unique to strike up a conversation.

Don’t go over there and use a pickup line that they hear every single day such as “You’re hot, let me take you out”, instead, offer to buy them a drink or ask them how their shift is going.

The timing of your approach is important too, as you don’t want to approach the bartender when they’re in the middle of a busy shift and rushed off their feet.

Be sure that the bar is quiet and they don’t seem too busy and ensure you’re still able to function and speak properly when you do make the approach.

how to pick up a bartender
Image by Scott Stamile

All too many times I see people approaching bartenders that are WASTED and they blow their chance by saying something stupid or slurring their words.

Start with small talk and gauge how they respond, if they’re open to having a chat with you then perhaps give them a compliment on their bartending skills and show a genuine interest around them.

Ask about their craft, their favorite cocktails, and how long they’ve worked at the bar, and be sure to tip when they’ve served you a drink.

Perhaps offer to buy them a drink if they’re showing interest, but never overstay your welcome and always respect their decision.

If the conversation is flowing and going well, perhaps you’ve offered up a compliment, and bought them a drink and they are receptive, don’t be scared to exchange contact information and ask for their number.

This is the step that many people miss when picking up bartenders, as the conversation goes well but they are too afraid of asking for a number.

Nothing to lose but all to gain.

Go for it.

How To Pick Up A Female Bartender

When it comes to picking up a female bartender, ALL of the same rules apply, but you’ll need to be mindful of other boundaries and gender dynamics.

Female bartenders get hit on ALL OF THE TIME, and I mean… every single shift, especially if they are working in a busy establishment.

This means you need to stand out and offer up something different from every other person who attempts to pick up a female bartender.

Keep in mind that she’s at work and is expected to be friendly and courteous to customers, but don’t confuse this for “she likes me”.

It’s her job to be polite and serve you, so you’ll want to pay attention to her body language and verbal cues when serving you to feel out if there’s interest.

Be super respectful and avoid complimenting her appearance, she likely gets this all of the time from drunk guys who are shooting their shots.

how to pick up a bartender
Image by Simon Law

You’ll likely be able to tell very quickly if she’s into you and open to further conversation, but if not, move on and respect her decision.

Guys can be incredibly creepy in bars and female bartenders are very cautious because of this as they should be, so don’t be overly pushy.

When the bar is quiet and she doesn’t look busy, try asking her how her shift is going and perhaps for a recommendation for a drink. Offer to buy her a drink too and remember to tip.

Avoid cheesy pickup lines and try to find the time to ask a meaningful and genuine question to show that you’re interested in more than a one-night stand.

Read the room and try to gauge if she’s interested, look out for eye contact and if there’s any physical touch, sometimes she may touch your hand or arm when giving you the drink which may be a cue that she’s interested.

If you feel that she’s interested, ask for her contact information and exchange numbers, and from there you can arrange a date (fingers crossed).

How To Know If A Male Bartender Is Interested In You

When trying to decide if a male bartender is interested in you it can be difficult as each bartender is an individual that has different ways of showing interest.

Each bartender has a different personality so it’s impossible to provide information that will work for every male bartender and I wouldn’t want to set you up for failure.

However, one way to is to offer to buy him a drink, which is sometimes a good indication that the customer is interested or perhaps they’re just being friendly, but more often than not it’s the former.

If they accept the offer and engage in conversation with you, this could be a sign that he is interested, but you’ll need to look out for social cues and try not to make assumptions.

He could just be being friendly and may not want to be rude by declining your drink.

That said, male bartenders are usually very good at making their interests clear to women, and if you’re still undecided on whether or not he’s interested, just ask him.

how to pick up a bartender
Image by Thomas Hawk

Try saying something along the lines of “Hey, I like you and wondered if you would like to get a drink after your shift?”, and often get a clear answer.

If this is too forward for your liking, look out for eye contact, verbal signals, and physical touch cues that may indicate that he’s interested.

All else fails and you’re still none the wiser, muster up some good old Dutch courage, and asking him if he’s interested works like a charm.

What Not To Do

  • Don’t assume interest
  • Don’t have too many drinks before your approach
  • Don’t be aggressive or overly push
  • Don’t ignore non-verbal (or verbal) cues
  • Don’t use alcohol as an excuse
  • Don’t make inappropriate comments
  • Don’t pressure or harass

What To Remember

  • Be mindful of the environment and how busy the bar is
  • Respect their professionalism
  • Avoid getting drunk before approaching
  • Be genuine and respectful
  • Be different and avoid simply complimenting based on appearance
  • Communication is key
  • They may already be in a relationship
  • Ask for the number if it’s going well

Wrapping Up

To sum up, picking up a bartender isn’t much different from picking up anyone else, but in a bar setting, there are lots of things you’ll need to keep in mind.

However, so long as you’re respectful, polite, and mindful of the environment then you don’t have anything to worry about.

Bartenders love having conversations with people and many enjoy it when customers are interested in them romantically, it gives them a confidence boost and can make their day.

Hopefully, this article has provided all the information you need on how to pick up a bartender and you now have the knowledge required to secure that date.

So good luck, now go out there and shoot your shot!