The perils of ordering your second drink when your entree arrives

This is a problem I’ve had at a number of restaurants over the years, and it’s fresh in my mind because it happened to me again last night.

Server asked us for our drink orders first thing, which is standard, and they were delivered promptly. We had appetizers, and by the time the entrees arrived, I was finishing up my beer - not unusual, either, if there’s time to sip your drink before the appetizers arrive, and more time between the appetizers and the entree.

So the entrees arrive, and I ask my server for another beer. I start into my dinner, and sip from my water glass while I wait for my beer to arrive. After maybe 15 minutes, I go to the bar, explain the situation, and am given a beer to take back to my table.

By this point, I’ve eaten a good bit more than half my entree. The point was to have that second beer with dinner, not as an after-dinner drink. I had to step up the pace to drink most of the beer before we were ready to leave.

Sometimes I’ve gotten that second beer so late that I only get a couple of sips of it with my meal, and I’ll wind up leaving most of it as we have dessert and coffee, or get the check and leave.

So the question is: what do I do about this? When I order that second beer when the food arrives, do I have to make a point of saying to the server, “I want to have this beer with my dinner, so please bring it right away”? I shouldn’t have to say that, but I’m not seeing a better option. Any suggestions?

(When I can, I order the second drink before the entrees arrive. But that’s dependent on seeing the server before the entrees arrive, and after I’ve made enough of a dent in the first drink that I know I’ll want a second one with my food. That frequently doesn’t happen.)

Order two beers.

When I go out to eat for breakfast, I usually tell the server I would like a glass of milk WITH the meal. (Otherwise, that glass of milk would just sit there get’n warm until my food arrived.)
But heck, back in my bar drinking days, I always knew to order a beer when my current beer was half full. So maybe go that route. At worst, you’ll have two beers sit’n in front of you. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

This. It’s lowbrow but it works.

No one ever said life was going to be easy.

The two-for-one happy hour pricing ends at 7, but our entrees didn’t arrive until about 7:10. Next time instead of sharing my second beer with The Wife we will each order two, with the second being held until we are ready for it.

If I knew I was going to want two beers when I ordered my first one, I’d do that. But it all depends. More often than not, I’ll want that second beer with my entree - but not much more often than not.

Maybe 40% of the time, give or take a bit, my beer will only be half gone when my entree arrives, in which case the remaining half, plus some water from my water glass if need be, will get me through my meal.

Tru dat, and I already do it when I can. As I said above, “When I can, I order the second drink before the entrees arrive. But that’s dependent on seeing the server before the entrees arrive, and after I’ve made enough of a dent in the first drink that I know I’ll want a second one with my food. That frequently doesn’t happen.”

15 minutes to get a second beer? That’s lousy service. Leave a 5% tip, with a note that it was reduced because you had to wait / waited on yourself for the second beer. And, yes, I realize servers get busy, but if they are so busy waiting on too many tables, that should be reflected in each individual tip, and works itself out in volume.

As for preventing this problem, when you order your first drink, say “and I’d like a second beer when the entrees are brought out”. Not sure that will work, but at least you’ve made clear what you want.

----edit---- just saw the above post. If you don’t know whether or not you will be getting a second beer, I don’t know what to tell you. But I am sure that a 15 minute wait for a drink is lousy service. Even going to the bar yourself isn’t always a good solution, as waiting at the bar can take quite awhile sometimes.

If I had to wait 15 minutes, I would flag the waiter down next time I saw them (whether they had the beer in hand or not) and say it’s too late, never mind, and make sure it doesn’t show up on the bill. Then I would leave a minimal tip. That’s just horrible service.

Yeah, I would emphasize that I needed the beer to have with the meal. I don’t think the survey would mind being told that. But what I usually do is make sure I order the drink (for me, it’s a glass of wine) when I order the meal.

I’ve been cutting back (what a drag it is getting old!!) and sometimes don’t have a glass before dinner anymore, so I tell the server (for me, it’s usually he bartender since I eat at the bar most times) that I’d like a glass of wine with dinner. And that’s another reason to eat at the bar-- getting that drink in a timely fashion is much less of an issue.

I’ve experienced the same thing, so I’ve started ordering my second drink when I place my entree order and saying “please bring the drink with my entree, not before”.

I was at a crowded bar the other night right near the end of happy hour. A guy approached the bar, checked his watch, and asked if happy hour (half price drafts) was still in effect.

The bartender checked the cash register. It’s a few minutes slow, so yes it is still the hour of happiness. Guy orders three Bell’s Two Hearteds. While the bartender is making his change, she asks if he needs three menus. Nope, he’s alone.

Drink faster. Finish the first beer right before you are done with your appetizer and then order another one.

Question, you said that you ordered your second drink when the entree arrived. Did your server bring it out, or was it a different person? It could have been a different server or a dedicated food runner who brought out your food. If that is the case, they may have very well forgotten entirely to put in your drink order, as they wouldn’t usually be able to do it themselves, but would have to relay that info to your server, who would then have to put it it. This would slow down or possibly entirely stop the process of getting your beer.

Also, did your server bother to write down your order, or did they just assume that they would remember it? I have worked with many servers who think that they can remember orders without taking notes, but they really can’t. If it was your server, they may have dropped off your food, heard your request for another beer, and then and taken orders off of 2 more tables before going back to a terminal, by which time, they have completely forgotten about your beer, and even if they did not, it will slow down the delivery considerably.

There is also the relation between waitstaff and the bar. Sometimes, if you have an order for a beer in, then someone fro the bar will bring it to your table. Most of the time though, your drink will sit in the server aisle until your server comes to pick it up and deliver it, which may be a while before they get to it, or even remember.

What to do about it? Well I cook and eat at home, so while the serving staff sucks, it doesn’t do me any good to complain about it.

Realistically, about the only thing you can do is to be just a slight bit of a dick about it. When your entree comes out, and you ask for another beer, say, “And I’d really appreciate having it before I get too far into this meal.” or something along the lines that actually puts a time metric in, an expectation, if you will. This will not always work, but it will probably increase the odds of timely beers.

I’d go for some sort of indirect phrasing–“Thanks! And I love to have another beer to go with this, if you could.” But that might be my southern upbringing :).

And another with dessert.

Then the second beer is warm by the time the entree comes.

Well bless your heart.


Apart from anything else, leave a 1 penny tip.

I’m struggling to remember ever having one beer with dinner. I typically have zero, two or three. But it seems to me that this thread is about lousy service, not when to order a drink. I know there have been times when I have been frustrated about not having a drink (could be water, coffee or beer), but it’s always the service that’s lacking, not my order timing. For coffee, I like the places that put an insulated carafe on my table.