Do you tip your bartender? How much? Per drink? Or do you setup a tab?
What if you're at an open bar? Do you still tip? And if so... how much??
I course I would tip a bartender. Why wouldn't I?
Stating up front I don't drink, I'd still leave a buck as a tip if I bought a soda or ice tea while waiting for a friend to arrive.
I don't really know how much drinks cost, but depending on the place, I'd leave a buck or two for a beer or glass of wine, or 2 or 3 bucks if it was some fancy cocktail. Basically the same 20% rule I'd apply to sitting at a table and being served.
I mean, if you eat a meal, and have a drink or two with dinner, you tip for the whole thing, right? Why would you not tip someone just because they are performing the service while you are sitting at the bar? When you order drinks w/ the meal, don't the waitstaff and bartenders have some kind of agreement as to the split for the drinks?
To me, sitting at a bar to drink for the evening, or having a drink while waiting for a table is a totally optional thing. Of course going out to eat it optional too, but eating is a necessity of life, drinking alcohol isn't. If you're going to do something that is never something that you Have to do in some form, don't be a damn cheapskate.
Re setting up a tab, I guess I wouldn't do that, and pay for drinks as I went, if I was sitting up at the bar. I'm thinking I would have a drink, probably get up with it and walk around, maybe dance, and may not end up at the same place when I'm ready for another one.
If at an open bar, yes, I'd still tip a buck or 2 a drink.
If you can't budget for being appropriately generous when going out, then stay home so not to embarrass yourself.