Band drinks for free

No Way Jose

Silver Member
The band plays at a local bar and the owner gives us beer for free. A customer decides to buy a round of drinks for the band. We thank him very much and continue playing music and drinking beer. Then a couple weeks later the same customer discovers that the band drinks for free. Customer might not feel good about spending money this way.

How should we handle this situation? The bar is in business to sell beer. Do we tell people not to buy us beer? I don't think that is going to work too well.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
They wanted to show you a token of appreciation and chose to buy you drinks. I think its irrelevant if the bar provides free beer. Its a wonderful compliment and I think you have zero to worry about. Just my 2 cents
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Do you have a tip jar?
I'd encourage people to give you cash instead of alcohol.
This is the way.
I understand what you mean, but people buying the band drinks or having a drink with us has a social side, too. It feels different to the customer than just giving you a tip. I've actually been told this when someone offered a drink and the tip jar was suggested. "I don't want to tip you, I want to have a drink with you!"

Plus, I was told early on, it's good bar-band etiquette to NEVER say no when someone offers to buy you a drink. It's good for the bar, good for the relationship. YMMV
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Plus, I was told early on, it's good bar-band etiquette to NEVER say no when someone offers to buy you a drink. It's good for the bar, good for the relationship. YMMV
Yes, agreed for sure. I use this in my business and in many other situations. It's the best possible way to handle a well intended offering. I can see the happiness on people's faces when I accept their offer. It makes them feel good and it makes them feel like they are contributing. I don't want to deprive them of that good feeling. Anytime anyone offers me anything, I always say yes even if I don't want anything. I just usually ask for some water. I just don't refuse. It's really important to the other person that their offer is generously accepted with gratitude. It develops trust.

Then you get the overly buzzed person who offers to buy you a drink, asks you what you want, and then the drink never materializes lol.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
Plus, I was told early on, it's good bar-band etiquette to NEVER say no when someone offers to buy you a drink. It's good for the bar, good for the relationship. YMMV
Yeah, probably a poor business decision to enjoy free drinks courtesy the bar all night then turn around and punish them for their generosity by turning away an actual paying customer... I would err on offending the fan and not the one cutting my check.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The solution is the wooden nickel. Band members are given this redeemable token for drinks. If someone buys me a drink, the bartender simply gives me a wooden nickel, which I can either redeem, save, or give out to a dedicated/broke/cute audience member (since I don't drink). I have several dozen of these from various clubs I've played, and often hold on to them as keepsakes.



Pro tip... Ask the bartender for an empty bottle of whatever is on special and fill it with water. Keep it on stage where everyone can see it and make sure it always faces the audience.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Yes, agreed for sure. I use this in my business and in many other situations. It's the best possible way to handle a well intended offering. I can see the happiness on people's faces when I accept their offer. It makes them feel good and it makes them feel like they are contributing. I don't want to deprive them of that good feeling. Anytime anyone offers me anything, I always say yes even if I don't want anything. I just usually ask for some water. I just don't refuse. It's really important to the other person that their offer is generously accepted with gratitude. It develops trust.

Then you get the overly buzzed person who offers to buy you a drink, asks you what you want, and then the drink never materializes lol.
Interesting philosophy Larry. I hadn't really thought about that.

I wave away drinks that come to me out of the blue when I'm on the bandstand a lot of the time. Not trying to be rude, but I guess I kinda am. I do appreciate that the person giving them is enjoying our playing very much.

The thing is I'm just not a good drinker. I'm buzzed from one and feel drunk from two. Not how I like to play music. At the most, for a show, I'll get one beer and have it with me as I play, sipping slow.

After the show is over and I'm packed up is when I'll usually have a beer or two in a normal fashion.

I once had a venue owner literally bring a bottle of whiskey on stage and try to pour shots directly from bottle to our mouths, while we played. The guitar player actually did a good job of making a show of it, but I made one of those faces a dog makes when you try to feed them broccoli and tried to shake my head no, which only got whiskey all over my face and snare. I wasn't a fan of that, even if the intention was good nature.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I understand what you mean, but people buying the band drinks or having a drink with us has a social side, too. It feels different to the customer than just giving you a tip. I've actually been told this when someone offered a drink and the tip jar was suggested. "I don't want to tip you, I want to have a drink with you!"

Plus, I was told early on, it's good bar-band etiquette to NEVER say no when someone offers to buy you a drink. It's good for the bar, good for the relationship. YMMV
Absolutely. But sometimes people can be suggested to show appreciation in other ways than booze, which works to your advantage as a musician who is already drinking for free, or not drinking at all.

And the tip jar is also a way to interact with someone, if you're friendly/funny about it.

"That guy just tipped us four hundred dollars! Ladies, he's obviously the wealthiest guy in the bar. Just sayin."
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I was told early on, it's good bar-band etiquette to NEVER say no when someone offers to buy you a drink. It's good for the bar, good for the relationship.
This is rough for me as I don’t drink. Sobriety is serious for me and refusing a drink from someone who just paid money for it can get awkward really quick.
As a drummer, I’m not the popular guy anyway and this just ostracizes me even further.:cautious:
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
This is rough for me as I don’t drink. Sobriety is serious for me and refusing a drink from someone who just paid money for it can get awkward really quick.
As a drummer, I’m not the popular guy anyway and this just ostracizes me even further.:cautious:
same here, but I don't care about offending people when I refuse a drink. I am more offended that they would be mad that I don't drink. I usually give the drink to one of the other guys and say that I am DD, which is not lying. But at many of my shows, I have the big X's on my hands, so most people in those crowds know what that means and don't buy me drinks anyways.

this also happens when the bowls get passed around...I was quickly shunned from the scene way back in the day when I would not do drugs with everybody...to the point where people would blatantly tell me that they didn't want me around if I "wasn't cool". Oh well, I never got into music for a popularity contest, I just like to play.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
same here, but I don't care about offending people when I refuse a drink. I am more offended that they would be mad that I don't drink. I usually give the drink to one of the other guys and say that I am DD, which is not lying. But at many of my shows, I have the big X's on my hands, so most people in those crowds know what that means and don't buy me drinks anyways.

this also happens when the bowls get passed around...I was quickly shunned from the scene way back in the day when I would not do drugs with everybody...to the point where people would blatantly tell me that they didn't want me around if I "wasn't cool". Oh well, I never got into music for a popularity contest, I just like to play.
This is exactly one of the things that turned me off of being in a band. After every single show there was a drug induced, all night drinking party. I just can't get behind that. A drink or smoke every once in a while is okay. But after a show, all I want to do is relax and go to sleep, not stay up all night, get 4 hours of sleep, then drive home still half smashed. It got to where I would just show up, play, and go home.

As for the accepting drinks at the show, I would always direct their offerings to one of the strings after profusely thanking them but explaining I'm not drinking.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Amazing how many of us have cut down or out the alcohol intake-me too. Except on rare occasions I"ll have a drink (mixed or beer) and I have a hard time turning down a cigar. I don't think I play well polluted so I'm wary to get really drunk. The only thing I do better inebriated is playing pool-one of my friends had a table as a kid so I played a lot (then in a small town the pool hall was a hub of activity) but I generally suck because I lost interest. However my roommates in college days knew I could play so they'd get me polluted to entice me back to the table-inebriated I was a terror and I liked to gamble back then so I was on. Generally I stayed away from the tables because the chance I could lose. I made a small fortune betting people I could bring a drowned fly in a beer or glass back to life. You pull out the drowned fly and then pile salt on him and wait. Well that was the fun part cause it would take a while so I could up the ante as they egged me on-thats impossible. Inevitably the salt starts moving, the fly emerges, eventually flies off. I rake in the bucks as they sit in disbelief. Yep it was a sure winner for me.
 
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