Have one on me


Twice recently, on both occasions it has to be said, south of the Watford Gap, having been served with my pint of beer, I have told the bar person to take one for themselves. I am generous to a fault, that’s me. The tradition here “up’t North” is that the bar person generally takes 20 to 30 pence, about 10% of the price of a pint. Not so down south it seems. £3 in one bar and £2.50 in another was taken as a tip!! Is that the norm?

The British on the whole are not very comfortable with tipping at the best of times. Unlike America where the wages of most waiting on staff are made up of tips and salary, with customers tipping as a matter of course, here in UK we tend to tip on a less formal basis, we are a nation of reluctant “tippers”.

Generally my policy on tipping in a pub is quite simple-if I get a nice smiling hello, if I am looked at as better than something the cat has just dragged in, if my pint is served properly and I am made to feel welcome, then I will suggest to the bar person that they “have one on me”. That means in my Northern world of tipping that I expect that person to take a small amount towards a drink for themselves in appreciation of their service and not take my words literally and have the full cost of their favorite tipple, probably Kruger Champagne, as a reward.

Is this another example of the north /south divide? Are bar staff in the south super rich as a result of these massive tips, or am I a mean tight fisted old Northerner just having a moan? Anyway it would be interesting to know your view on this gritty issue, just don’t expect a tip that’s all!


When you offer the "Bar Person" a drink what do you think it should it be:

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  1. Down south it is very much what is ses on the tin. If you want to tip you offer a small tip and usually say something like: there is a little something for you. If you say something like have one on me that is how it is taken. It is often offered in the sence of I would like you to drink it with me now And is seen as rude to refuse without good reason and can often cause offence if you turn a drink down.

    And as someone from the south I would have expected that if I offered someone one for themself up north for that to have meant I am buying you a drink. So I have leant something new about drinking up north.

    Hope this helps you better understand the north south difference.

  2. ? I am from the North and if somebody offered me a drink I would have taken for the price of a drink not 20p I now live in the South and if I am offered a drink they mean the price of a drink…..

  3. Its definitely something or a dividing point, I expect in a pub / bar a “take one for your self” to be 20p, in a club upwards to a £1, and thats pretty much the norm… Its vary much the case though that up North we tend to buy multiple drinks unlike the fast paced, vertical drinking southerners 😛 So generally after 5 rounds £1’s been gained, and if its been good service they’ll return again in the week…

    Little streams make a mighty river… Our staff regularly accrue upwards of £17 to £42 in 4/5 hour shifts.

    If I visited a bar and they took a full priced drink from me with out me saying “Actually take for a proper drink” then I wouldn’t stick around and would tend to not head back…

    Just my 20p’s worth 🙂

  4. To me take one yourself is what it says “have a drink on me” if I don’t want to buy someone a drink I won’t offer simples

  5. Had a very awkward situation last night at a micro brewery in Southampton where my friend bought a round and said, “and one for yourself”. When he got to the table he realised the barman had taken £4 so went back to complain. Barman said he took one for himself as implied and friend started spouting off that he had taken too much.

    This sparked a healthy debate as I had always thought friends who say that are very generous indeed. Now I know that they not actually what they seem!

    I’ve often said, “keep the change” and for me this is the easiest way of offering a tip in a bar.

    If you offer someone, one for themselves, make it clear what you mean or be expecting to buy them a drink!!

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