You would say “What can be easier: just show up in the place, have a word with a bartender… once, twice, umpteen times until they remember you”. Doesn’t seem a big deal. In reality, it’s like a courtship, a sort of commitment you should work on. But trust us, a payoff will come soon and you’ll take full advantage of your regular status: avoiding that awkward waiting time outside when the bar is packed, always having someone to have a word with, being treated ”specially”, just to list some.
And here are some tips how to act.
First, spot the worthy place to your taste. A lovely takeaway with appetizing-looking snacks where it could be handy to snatch a quick lunch. A cocktail lounge bar - a right place to help you unwind after an office day sinking into the couch and sipping perfectly mixed drinks. Or a trendy hotspot for a great date. Of course, aim at places up to the mark. If you have money to burn, just head to the swankiest pub in the city. Yet tucked-away wine bars may catch you by surprise, as well. Hunt them yourself, otherwise ask around those who are in the know.
So, once you’ve had an eye on the place, try it out, maybe several times, to be sure you can fully wager on the menu and the service, and start to come round.
Next level’s target - get noticed. Make yourself stand out by ordering in a distinctive way: an unexpected combination or sticking to a particular place or hour, like an aperitif at four pm, which is definitely outside the common framework. Here, it’s crucial to think up something that does draw attention but does not bother much. You want to be welcomed with a smile, not a subdued facial spasm, don’t you? Be singular but likeable.
As soon as you see that they recognise you, move to the further step - establish the relationship. Get personal with a bartender, call him (or her, why not) by their first names, come up with an offbeat compliment to a waitress each time your order. Make them understand you are here because you get good vibes from the place, and back your words by deeds, I mean, by tips. You never can tell, perhaps when you turn up there with a chick on your arm, being recognized and welcomed may score you some points in her eyes.
Again, never run to extremes. A playful banter is OK, a nosy or aggravating talk – to avoid. What you seek is to be “a regular customer” not “a regular pain in the neck”.
Reached the level of friendly terms, be loyal and open. You might miss a night, or a week, but let them know that you haven’t vanished into thin air, or worse, switched to another place - you’ll make up for it next week. Otherwise, you know, nature abhors the vacuum. Show them you’re keen and in most cases it’ll go a long way.
Keep it real, though. Even in the best pubs and restaurants, screw-ups occur. For the first time, you might as well wink at it. If it is something you can’t swallow in the literal and figurative sense of the word, it wouldn’t be criminal to ask for a special service, a discount or a quick change of the dish. Kindly but firmly get the point across. You’ve put much effort and money into this place, after all.
In a pinch, if you don’t feel reciprocated or don’t find the bar up to scratch any longer, you can always start another dating.
picture from: thevivant