Bar Tab Tragedy

The pros and cons of starting a tab at a bar:


  1. You don’t have to give your card every time you get a drink, wait for the bartender to run it and give you a receipt to sign.
  2. You can just tip at the end instead of trying to find a couple dollars every time.
  3. You seem way cooler.
  4. You seem even cooler if you buy a round for a bunch of people and say “yea just put this round on my tab.”
  5. You are the coolest person ever if that bunch of people includes me and I’m getting a free drink.


  1. You might drink way more than you would if you had to pay every time.
  2. You might forget to close your tab (mostly likely due to Con #1) and have to shamefully go back the next day at lunch to claim it.
    1. Or worse…you don’t even realize you forgot to close your tab until your bank calls saying the bar called and they have your card.
    2. b.      Side note: In college my friend forgot to close his tab. The bar called his bank. Except his parents pay for everything so the card was under their account. The bank called his parents to tell them where the card was. He got a nice call the next morning from his mother telling him to stop spending their money on booze and to get his hung-over ass down to Sandbar to claim the card. So many good memories at that bar.
    3. You might buy a million people drinks (because you want to seem even cooler…see pro #4 and #5).
    4. People might try and charge drinks to your tab. I’m not sure if this ever really happens, but it seems like it could and my broke ass would not be happy.
    5. Your bartender could give your card away to a stranger…

Over the weekend I was at a bar called O’Brien’s in downtown Temple. It’s an Irish pub that has live music pretty often I guess. They did not have any live music that night and instead played a very random mix of pop, hip hop, and alternative music. It looked like they also had trivia going. Two people were playing…Joey and Dude. I was rooting for Dude. They had Strongbow cider on tap so I was pretty content.

The person I was with gave the bartender his card to start a tab. We finished out first round and then ordered our second. The waitress (we sat at a table since the barstools were full) seemed really confused and came back over and asked my friend to write his name down on a post it. After a good five minutes the bartender came back over to our table looking mortified. He explained that he charged the card for our two drinks, gave the card to another couple, that couple signed and left with the card. The bartender said he ran up and down the street, but couldn’t find the couple anywhere.

My friend is now without his debit card and will have to call today to cancel the card and order a new one.

One the plus side, the bar credited the drinks they had charged to the card and gave us our next round free. The lesson here: everyone should pro/con it up at the bar before starting a tab. I mean really, pro/cons should be used at all times; decisions big and small. One general rule should always be included though…If the person you are with is extremely attractive then Pros win every time. Whatever you’re about to do is automatically a good decision. Start yourself a tab and look all cool…totally worth it.


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