Bar etiquette from around the world

Bar etiquette from around the world

One of the things we love so much about IHG is the vast array of cultures we have, effectively all under one roof that make up the hotel group. Our global status means we have a broad portfolio of hotel brands all over the world that offer a multitude of cultural differences.

We have over 350,000 people spread across nearly 100 countries working for our brands. So individuality, differences in personality and culture really is celebrated at IHG.

We have hundreds of bars across hundreds of countries and multiple continents and so today we want to dedicate this blog to take a closer look at a handful of differences in bar etiquette from around the world!

If you’re about to take on a new bar role in any of the following countries put yourself in the shoes of a tourist, and take note. 


So one of the main things to note should you be queueing or waiting to pay your bill in Poland is when exactly to say ‘thank you’. If you present your money to the barman or waiter do not say thank you until you receive change. If you do this signifies that you don’t want the change, and that you are effectively tipping the remainder.

Hong Kong

You should note that tipping isn’t obligatory in Hong Kong. However, salaries tend to be lower so it’s really appreciated if you do. You should always look out for the 10% added service charge on the receipt. If you see this, you don’t need to tip anything extra. With regards to eating, foreigners are forgiven for clumsy etiquette, and will more often than not be offered a knife and fork as well as chop-sticks. 





Everything is pushed back in Spain, especially eating and drinking culture which tends to happen later on in the evening, from 9pm onward. If you arrive at a bar or restaurant too early, chances are it could be closed. The second thing to remember when in Spain is that spirit measures can be three or four times the size of UK alcohol measures, stop be aware! Tipping is very common, and a respectful 10% is usually the standard.


Bars in the UK tend to be overridden by pubs, and pub culture is very laid back. This similar etiquette is also the case in bars and tipping is not required. Generally eye contact says it all when waiting to be served. There is no need for a flailing arm or a forced cough. The barman will recognise the eye contact and will serve you as soon as possible.  If you’ve experienced good service and wish to tip offering ‘one for yourself’ is more common than leaving loose change.

America – New Orleans

For obvious reasons, America is rather vast to be able to cover the whole of their bar etiquette, so we’ve chosen New Orleans in particular. There is a reason for this, so look out for it. Generally it’s encouraged to tip around 20% in New Orleans, and this is justified through the service. You should note never to ask a barman if he/she can produce a certain drink. This could be seen as insulting and disbelieving of their expertise. After all they’re the experts right?

Erica, Head Mixologist at Hotel Indigo New Orleans represents everything that is unique about the cultures at IHG. She is an inspiration maker, and she offers something individual to New Orleans, as do all our people all over the world.

Watch her story here!

Think you have what it takes to come and learn a new bar etiquette from around the world? Or maybe want to contribute to a new culture! Make sure you check our latest opportunities and head over to our vacancy search, you never know our perfect job could be ready and waiting. 


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