The cigars are only one aspect of the experience at the cigar lounge. By and large the cigar bartender at your local cigar bar appreciate the job they have, certainly relative to other bar gigs. Yet, there are a few things you as a patron ought to know. So, we reached out to the community of cigar bar staff to get the scoop from their perspective. Here’s what your cigar bartenders wish you knew:
Cigar Bartenders Work for Tips
Like other bartenders and servers, most of our incomes come from tips. The hourly wages we get won’t cover our Uber rides or childcare for our shifts. But we like working in cigar bars. On whole, cigar folks are good tippers, relative to other places we work. That’s a big reason for us to stick around.
Some cigar folks can do better, though. We’re talking about some members or a regulars who receive many freebies such as coffee, soft drinks, or etc., or who don’t purchase from the humidor, often as a result of membership fees. Cigar bartenders still must serve you even though we didn’t get paid on your annual membership. Throw us a little something now and then or don’t tip as a percentage of your check. If you’re here all afternoon and buy a coffee, we might refill your cup six times. But when it comes time to pay, even 50 percent on your $3 check is way light for the service we provided.
Also, we genuinely appreciate small gifts, like the gift of a cigar from your personal humidor. But that cigar doesn’t pay our bills. It’s better to tip appropriately. Then, if you want to give us something in addition to that, it’s perfectly fine.
Cigar bartenders are also realistic. We understand when you purchase a box of cigars or make a large purchase out of the humidor and pay via one credit card tab. If that tab is co-mingled with your small bar tab, we don’t necessarily expect you to tip 20 to 25 percent of the entire tab. Of course, if you do then we certainly won’t complain either.
Cigar Bartenders Don’t Want to Date You
You want to date us, too? Seriously, guy! You’ve probably got kids older than us! Besides, we’re more than likely married or seeing someone. Just because we’re not wearing a ring or talking about our significant other doesn’t mean we’re on the market. And even if we were, you aren’t what we’re looking for. Yes, we’re attractive. Yes, we might be dressed somewhat provocatively. We might also flirt with you a little or are happy to see you. But we also work for tips. That doesn’t give you a license to be a creep.
Bartenders and Servers Talk About You
Ever wonder whether secret conversations about you are happening among us? They are, but that’s usually a good thing, not a bad thing. If you’re a creep or an awful tipper, then we’ll tell other staff members and probably a few of the regulars. We’re not priests, doctors or lawyers. There is no such thing as cigar bartender or smoker confidentiality. Alternatively, if you’re a good guy or gal, then we’ll share that informally with the rest of the staff and our favorite regulars, too. This is kind of news enhances your status within the bar, though.
You may not realize that we refer business all the time, but we do. In fact, you’d be amazed how many referrals we give. We consider it a win-win. If you’re a business professional and a cigar bar regular, then let me know what you do once we’ve become acquainted. Don’t do it in an obnoxious way, though. We’ll choose who to refer you to and if it’s appropriate. Of course, if you don’t make a positive impact on us, that referral opportunity will probably not happen. You’d be amazed how many conversations in the bar we take part of. People are always looking for referrals.
Don’t Be a Seat Hopper
One of the great things about the bar is that it is informal with open seating. Don’t abuse it. We understand that you might move seats occasionally. We also understand that you might want to talk with a friend who’s visited. The problem is every time you get up, that’s a seating area we must clean. That’s particularly now that we live in the COVID-19 era. Now, our work also involves sanitizing seating areas for the next person. Some regulars dirty half a dozen seats within a two-hour span and it drives us nuts!
Cigar Bartenders Not an Expert on Cigars
Are cigar bartenders also cigar experts? Maybe, but the odds are that we don’t even smoke cigars! We’re bartenders, not a tobacconists. We might not even know the difference between a Corona and a Connecticut. And we certainly might not know that a cigar can be a Corona as well as a Connecticut. Unless you know differently, we’re probably not the one to geek out with about minute cigar details. Stick to regular bar room conversations with us like sports, current events or etc. If you want to talk cigars then everyone else in the bar is probably a better candidate than us. There is one expectation, though. We won’t complain about the smoke or cigar smokers in general. If we didn’t want to be around smoke we wouldn’t be working here.
Know What Time It Is When We Interact
Part of our job as a bartender, even if it is unwritten, is chopping it up with you and other regulars. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of working in a cigar bar. The cigar crowd is usually a joy to be around and we learn a lot about life from you. You might not know this, though, because we haven’t said as much. Some of your suggestions and advice benefit us greatly in our personal lives and sometimes even our non-bartending professional endeavors. We grow as individuals from some of the smokers we meet this place.
Hard stop, though: When we’re slammed with work, our job is to make drinks, not be your conversation companion. Look around and read the room. Read our body language. Then, let us do our job get those drinks out! We had a great chat an hour ago, but it’s prime time now.
As a side note, if you’re here watching the big game and you know you want to leave as soon as it’s over, clear your tab in the middle of the fourth quarter. We go through this every Saturday and Sunday. You know it and we know it. Everyone wants to close out tabs at the same time. If you don’t want to wait, then close out early so you’re free to leave sooner.
Hopefully all of this was helpful. Be good to us and we’ll be better to you. We really do appreciate you and your patronage. Additionally, we also realize that customers like you pay our bills. We just ask that you treat us with the same respect we offer you. We can’t wait to see you again tomorrow.
The Final Word
Working as a cigar bartended isn’t always easy, as you can see. In fact, sometimes it’s downright challenging. Cigar Life Guy has had the priviledge of speaking with many cigar bartenders to gather this important information for you. Not only does this advice help your friendly bartenders, it also helps you, as a cigar enthusiast, elevate your status while visiting your favorite cigar lounge. If you’re new to cigar lifestyle, then might not know the conversations and other things that go on behind the scenes of the cigar bar. We hope you enjoyed this post. More importantly, we hope you’ve gleaned something valuable to level up your cigar lifestyle.
This blog reflects conversations with many bartenders in cigar bars who wished to remain anonymous. It includes some generalizations as well. Certainly, some bartenders are true cigar aficionados and love the leaf more than anyone in the room. You might also find a bartender who wants to date you, but good luck. Regardless, don’t be a creep, but do enjoy cigar lifestyle.
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