Bar manners – what to drink and how to behave
I had a chance to talk about bar manners as a bar-catalyst for a TV shooting.
Though there are many kinds of bars, I focus on authentic bars this time. Many of you may think going to a bar is a bit difficult, but a bar is very convenient place to stop by before going to a restaurant and after dinner if you know how to use. I’d like many of you to enjoy it.
My first bar was COLEGIO located on 8th floor in SHIBUYA 109. (The bartender, Mr. Oizumi, moved out there and opened BAR CORREOS. It was closed.) I drank Old Grand-dad at that time, and remember I felt somehow cool even though I didn’t know what was going on at age 20. Almost twenty years have passed since then…
A door is a boundary between ordinary and extraordinary space
In my memory, the door of COLEGIO was western style, and it stood out in the building, SHIBUYA 109. Unlike current situation, gentlemen who were made to accompany for shopping enjoyed drinking in those days.
Currently, I guess most of the bar’s doors are ordinary ones. The first difficulty in entering a bar is a door. It’s heavy and you can’t see inside. This is a boundary between ordinary and extraordinary space. When you open it, the extraordinary space where you don’t have any titles is waiting ahead.
It’s better to enter confidently even it’s your first time to visit a bar. You don’t have to be afraid. There are two ways to have a seat. Either a bartender may suggest your seat or you have a seat by yourself. If you have a chance, I recommend taking a middle seat because you can see the whole view of the bar and enjoy watching bartender’s beautiful behaviors. When a bartender recommend a seat, it’s better to take it.
What to drink
Making a decision on what to drink first at a bar is very anxious. In summer, I usually order Gin Tonic as my first cocktail. As it’s a simple cocktail made with gin, tonic water and lime, it’s easy for me to imagine quality of other cocktails. If Gin Tonic is delicious for me, most of the cocktails are also the same.
In case you’d like to know quality of a bar, I recommend Gin Fizz, a gin based cocktail. It’s also simple, but requires more skills to bartenders such as shaking unlike Gin Tonic.
As a second cocktail, I recommend Martini and Gimlet among standard cocktails. Each bartender has his/her own arrangements for Martini like a gizzard shad that also requires professional sense in sushi.
You can also enjoy conversation with bartenders while drinking. They’re willing to teach you about various cocktails because they are professional for cocktails as well as hospitality (Omotenashi in Japanese). Those experience turns to your knowledge, and it makes you visit a bar again for a tasty cocktail.
By the way, wearing a suit or jacket is good for men because the style matches mood in bars, and your evaluation would definitely be gone up by a lady if you accompany.
How to behave
Bars are such enjoyable places, but staying for many hours isn’t smart because it doesn’t provide many dishes and seats. If other customers come in, it might be better to pay according to the mood. If you visit there before meal and would like to eat later, I recommend asking bartenders about nice restaurants nearby. They may book a restaurant instead of you. I often ask them when I go to provincial area on business trip.
You don’t have to ask bartenders another glass of cocktail and payment. They’ll ask you through the mood or your glance. If they can’t catch it, they’re not professional because the word of “Bartender” consists of bar and tender.
However, it’s difficult to catch the right moment of payment. Then, show a gesture to sign which means check globally. (Please don’t make a cross mark with your forefingers! In Japan, many people use this gesture for payment.)
If you go to bars in town, paying in cash would be appreciated, and paying by credit card would be acceptable at hotel bars. Enjoy spending time at bars even if you’re a beginner. Your experience in sensing the mood at a bar might be utilized for your job.