I recently asked this question on social media, more or less, “Is it okay or tacky to order a second cocktail when you haven’t finished your first during a Happy Hour?” Below is a roundup of answers from Facebook pals that may help you if you’ve ever had the same question:
Derek A: Ehh, tacky shmaky. Lol I needs my medicine!!
KJ: I do it. I think they use the cheaper booze & mixes at HR so it’s ok.
Toni P: I totally understand what you’re saying. Guess maybe it depends on the restaurant. The bartenders at a couple of my happy hour go-to’s, usually offer a last call for food and drink, even before people are done. It’s a way to get a little more business, plus I’m a really good tipper, so that’s probably an incentive.
Les H: I do it too.
Marleen R: I agree with most above. It’s a great way to push for patrons to buy another, which is more money for the business. It’s a win win for all!
Michelle T: I don’t really pay attention to the “happy hour” hours. I just order another one when the waiter asks or if I’m getting low.
Kai H: I don’t think it’s tacky if you tip generously. It’s worse to sit for an hour and nurse just one drink and leave a buck tip.
Eric F: I like to tip more for attitude adjustment hour… after all, I saved on the food and drink, and the servers were probably busier.
Donny T: Order away. They’ve factored in the costs and on alcohol sales it’s pretty good. Plus if you’re a little warmed up you’ll splurge at the table. And you can always tip extra to make up for the discount if you’re feeling guilty. Just know that if you tip greater than 25% on your card it charges the business a significantly higher processing fee due to a card brand setting called “tip tolerance,” so heavy tippers should consider cash.
Scott K: I drink whisk(e)y, neat. Never a problem finishing one with a quick swallow. I paid $10 for a Maker’s yesterday at my hotel bar in Mendocino. I have no problem taking advantage of discounts.
Diane R: We’ve been trying to eat out at our favorite restaurants and make sure we add a little extra to the tips too.
Sonja R: My experience is that many bartenders tell you it’s almost over and they usually offer another. And I tip well.
Haydee S: Not tacky at all!! Happy hour is supposed to bring in people during a slow time so your orders are helping!! Order away!!
Gary W: Such a slippery slope for the past two years. I can’t believe as many bars and restaurants survived. Can’t wait until they are all back to full strength and serving happy hours as usual.
Caren C: I don’t have any problem ordering before times up, but it depends.
Robin A: I don’t think so as long as you tip well.
Vashti R: You always treat your server well.
Elaine H: No!! We do it all the time.
Barry S: I do understand your perspective. When I do order w/discounts, I always tip heavily and end up paying the full price. It’s just that the money goes to the bartender.
Dorothy D: I don’t think it’s tacky! My server often asks us if we want one more before happy hour is over!
Cathy M: I’m not much of a “happy hour” person anymore. Pre-Covid, when I’ve ordered a drink, I’ve received a watered down drink, to the point that I’m questioning if there is any alcohol in my glass. Or the other no no, why did my glass arrive so packed full of ice that I can’t fit a straw in it? I’ll order a glass of wine/bottle or a bottle/pitcher of beer. I always tip in cash. The IRS keeps track of the credit card sales of each server. They assume you give a 15% tip. They tax them accordingly on income received as tips. I give at least 20% cash when I use my credit card. I write “zero tip” on the credit card receipt so they can’t be questioned about it, by anyone.
Debbie M: We do it.
Tamar H: Oh come on! The drinks are like 5 times what they cost so if I can get them for 3x, then you bet your ass I’m gonna do that! Just tip on the full price, as usual!
Phil H: In many places the bartenders make a final pass to ask if anyone needs a “last call” before happy hour ends. They’re happy to sell you one more discounted drink rather than have you drink up and leave. I’m ok with “loading up” and so is the establishment!
Me, in response to Donny T above: Donny, as a consultant for bars, wineries and restaurants I know this. Surely others here don’t so thanks. But I will tell you some of my clients got rid of their happy hours as it did cost them.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.