At Modern Luxury, connection and community define who we are. We use cookies to improve the Modern Luxury experience - to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also may share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. We take your privacy seriously and want you to be aware that we have recently made changes to our Privacy Policy, which can be found here.


Taking one for the tab

Angela De Claro | February 2, 2012 | Lifestyle Story City Life Clubs and Bars

After working the bar for the past three years, I can attest that people’s spending and tipping habits are a reflection of their character—stingy or generous, disciplined or careless, elitist or charitable. But you’d be surprised by what some people think is appropriate bar behavior. Here are my rules for handling your money (and yourself) in good taste.

DO be mindful of your budget.
Case in point: One of my regulars comes in with a set amount of money that he’s willing to spend, including the tip. While this careful approach may not have women flocking around his bar stool, shouldn’t everyone be looking for a fiscally responsible partner these days?

DON’T go out if you don’t have any money.
Case in point: I’ve watched plenty of couples struggle through the first date. Everything seems to be going well, and then the bill comes—and the awkward dance over who should pay. One couple was particularly vocal on the issue: When I brought the tab, the girl stuck a $100 bill in the book, threw it down on the table, and told her date to keep the change because he obviously needed it, then stormed out, leaving a trail of expletives. Pretty obvious she expected him to pay.

DON’T show off your money, even if you really have it.
Case in point: Scott Disick—being an ostentatious jerk is not a good look, even on reality TV.

DO be careful with those margaritas.
Case in point: When I first started working, there was a woman so overflowing with love (and cocktails) that she felt she had to share it with all the men at the bar. So she went around kissing every guy (did I mention this was during the lunch hour?). She was promptly removed from the premises.

DON’T get too frisky if you’ve had too many $3 whiskeys.
Case in point: Two middle-aged singles who had just met at the bar hit it off very well—so well that things got, shall we say, intimate on the patio later in the evening. When discovered, they were asked to leave, but not until they’d endured the Walk of Shame across the restaurant to close their tab.

DO be polite to your bartender. (Read: Don’t stiff them.)
Case in point: I have watched many a women give “the look” to their guy when he stiffs the bartender. Sadly, it’s the same look men seem to ignore, so getting stiffed is very common occurrence, pretty much every night of the week.

DON’T flash your designer wallet, $100 bills (and then coincidentally stiff the bartender).
Case in point: The Friday night after payday brings in all the male peacocks—bright and flashy in every sense. They spend money like it’s nothing, but don’t tip, and end up getting denied anyways. Nobody likes a baller on a budget.

Read more on Bay Area Romance:

The Players

Love Thy Neighborhood: Temescal vs. Palo Alto

Love Thy Neighborhood: Russian Hill vs. Nopa

Love Thy Neighborhood: the Marina vs. the Mission

SoMa vs. The Sunset


Do you have a dating story to share with us? How has your dating life been during these economic times?

We're looking for stories on:
The best date
The worst date
The most imaginative (cheap, yet romantic) date

Selected storied will be featured on our website! (anonymously if desired)

Send entries to

Comments? Questions? Join the discussion on our Facebook page, or follow @sanfranmag on Twitter.


Photography by: