Food & Drink

11 Signs You’ve Finally Become a Regular at a Bar

Mark Yocca / Supecall

You’ve been at it for months, trying to upgrade to Cheers level status at your local watering hole. You want your bar to be a place where everybody knows your name (cue the harmonies). You hit the same bar at the same time every Tuesday, tip big, and chat up the bartender. Has it worked? Here are 11 signs that you have earned the coveted title of regular at your local bar.

You Know the Bartender’s Name

If you can’t recall your second cousin’s name but know your regular bartender’s name (both first and last, as well as the names of the rotating cast of barbacks and servers), then you’re well on your way to being a regular. Don’t jump the gun on buddying up with the bartender, though. Mike doesn’t need you yelling his name from the other end of the bar on your third visit.

The Bartender Knows Your Name

Bartenders come into contact with a lot of people every day. If your bartender bothers to not only ask your name but commit it to memory, that’s a pretty good sign you’re a valued customer. Note: If you’ve ever wanted a cool nickname like Raptor or Tiger or Grave Digger, this is your chance to make that happen.

You Are Greeted Enthusiastically When You Walk in

While the entire bar doesn’t have to shout your name (a la Norm from Cheers), there should be some murmur of recognition when you walk in that goes beyond the basic greeting given to everyone. Maybe it’s a high five from the bartender, maybe it’s a Fonzy-like “ehhhhh!” from a barback, or maybe you’ve even developed your own secret handshake with the staff. Don’t force it though; let it happen naturally.

You Have a Designated Spot (and the Staff Does Their Best to Keep It Open for You)

Whether it’s a stool or a table or just a general area near the bar, you have your own personal spot—and everyone knows it. Should anyone dare take your seat, you have the right to glare passive-aggressively at that interloper from the next seat over until they get uncomfortable and leave.

The Bartender Tries out New Drinks on You

A bartender will trust only a regular to be a truthful guinea pig. That said, try to be as constructive as possible with your criticism, lest you be demoted back down to recognizable-but-not-regular customer. Here are some key phrases to use: “interesting,” “that’s a different sort of flavor,” “I never would have thought to put those ingredients together, but you definitely did that.”

The Bartender or Waiter Knows Your Weird Order

You like your burgers with only one half of a bun and so many extra pickles that you can’t even see the patty, and you take your Martini with an extra shot of dry vermouth on the side—your bartender or server is well aware and doesn’t even judge you anymore. That guy sitting next to you, though? He is definitely judging you.

You Feel Guilty When You Don’t Make It in

If you don’t make it into the bar during your regularly scheduled time, it almost feels like you’re skipping out on a friend. That guilty feeling you’re having is the sensation of being a regular.

The Other Regulars Know You

That group of gruff old barflies were intimidating when you first started coming in, but now you know that the guy with the ponytail makes stained glass art in his spare time and the limping ex-biker is a huge Carly Rae Jepsen fan. They’ve welcomed you in as one of them—take it as a compliment.

You’re in on All the Bar Gossip

You know what went down after hours last Saturday and why a certain barback had to switch to working Wednesdays. And you didn’t just overhear the news; you were told directly. Why? Because it’s your right as a regular to know.

Taking a Date to the Bar Essentially Means You’re in a Committed Relationship

If bringing a date to your local bar feels like introducing a significant other to your parents, then you can feel pretty confident about calling yourself a regular. Double points if you’ve ever broken up with someone because they didn’t get along with your bar family.

You Get Free (or at Least Discounted) Drinks

Once the free or discounted drinks start rolling in, you know you’ve made it. The bar knows you can be counted on to tip well and wants to show its appreciation with a few gratis drinks. Take whatever you’re given with grace, tip as if the drinks were included on the bill, and know that you are in a privileged class of patron.

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