I love happy hour and we have many great choices here in Columbus, Ohio. I started writing this blog with the intention of writing about the history of happy hour and how it evolved from post-World War II Navy activities, like boxing, designed to boost morale of sailors, to a marketing strategy to get people in the door during slow business hours. But that has been written about before, so I thought I would focus on a very important yet often overlooked part of happy hour—TIPPING. Happy hour is a great bargain which is one of the things that draws us in. Great libations and food at discounted prices equals a very happy hour. Happy hour in Columbus provides an opportunity to patronize high-end restaurants like M at Miranova that may otherwise be unaffordable. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that some restaurants (M included) extend their happy hour to the weekend.
Proper happy hour tipping etiquette is to tip based on regular pricing as opposed to the discounted happy hour pricing. If the regular prices aren’t listed on your itemized bill, ask for a regular menu or just leave a much higher tip. A regular tip is 20% not 15%. If you’re too cheap to accept 20% as your baseline tip, then you should stay home and mix up your own cocktail and heat up some tots in the oven. If you cannot afford a baseline 20% tip, then consider visiting a cheaper restaurant/bar. We have lots of great and affordable dive bars options in town too.
Something else to consider when calculating your tip is how long you’ve been sitting at the bar. A great example of this is Tapas Tuesday at Sidebar. First, let me say, if you get there early enough to score a seat at the bar, congratulations, you’re going to enjoy a delicious cocktail crafted by a very talented bartender while receiving random tapas for the entirety of happy hour. You’re treated like royalty — you don’t even have to ask for more, when your plate is empty, it gets automatically refilled with another delicious small plate, for free no less! But keep in mind that if you’re at the bar for the entire happy hour (which is perfectly acceptable and I highly recommend it) and only paying for your cocktail(s), and your seat isn’t being turned over to a new customer who would also tip, you should leave a tip that is muuuch higher than the 20% baseline.
What is important to remember here is that we have talented and hard-working wait staff whose salary is based, in large part, on tips. We are receiving the same level of service with discounted pricing on products.