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Chris Betts: Bar etiquette during the Fringe

By | Published on Friday 14 August 2015

Chris Betts

You’ll likely be spending a lot of time in pubs and bars during the Festival, and while you’re there to relax a little in your downtime, it’s also important to remember that other people are busying working. Chris Betts “loves to watch people” and his favourite view is from behind the bar” says the blurb to his show ‘Social Animal’. And here he is with a quick guide to treating our beloved Festival bar staff well.

1. If asked how your Fringe is going at the bar, say “well thanks” and pay for your drinks. The bartender is just making conversation and doesn’t actually care if you don’t feel like you’re being appreciated, and that a reviewer got it totally wrong, and some drunk guy ruined your Friday show. Drunk guys are ruining the bartender’s entire Friday night. You may or may not be one of them. Keep it brief and positive and take your complaints back to a table full of other acts who are willing to trade bellyaching for bellyaching.

2. We generally drink in the same three bars for the month, so if you can afford it, buy your bartender a drink. If you can’t, obviously, don’t worry about it, the Fringe is expensive, I understand. But if you have a good bucket take one day, or find a ten pound note on the ground, get them a pint or a shot. They’re working hard and never get applause at the end.

3. Don’t put your gum under the table. This goes for everyone forever.

4. If you’re getting hot and heavy with another act, or a particularly engaged fan, or anyone really, while in a bar, take it home. Or at least to the park. People are going to have to clean that seat. Don’t be gross.

5. Don’t try out material on the bartenders. They’re people, not Twitter.

6. Get the bar staff’s names, talk to them, remember they’re the only non-Fringe people you’re likely to meet this month, cherish that.

7. If you try it on with the staff don’t make it weird, and if you do, make amends. You don’t want to lose your bar and they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable at work just because you’re brain has been Fringed.

8. Tip if you can but if you can’t make eye contact and mean your “thank you”.

9. Be polite and patient.

10. If you’re thinking of singing loudly to something, it better be ‘For (S)He’s A Jolly Good Fellow (Or Fellowess)’, and it better be about the barstaff, because if anyone sings that goddamn Journey song one more time I swear to god….

Okay, that last one might just be me projecting, but the sentiment stands.
Goodnight and good liquor.

‘Chris Betts: Social Animal’ was performed at Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Festival 2015.