Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
Here’s How Residents in Each U.S. State Order at the Bar [2023 Survey]
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Now more than ever, Americans are looking for something to take the edge off, and bars across the nation are answering the call. Whether your choice is a simple gin and tonic or you prefer the hoppy buzz from an IPA, every drinker has their go-to bar order.
With Americans looking for liquid courage to conquer everything from long flights to first dates, we wondered what type of drink order is most popular in each state and how each state’s residents typically conduct themselves at the bar –– from how much they tip their bartenders to the types of bars they frequent.
To figure out each state’s favorite drinks to order at a bar, we surveyed over 2,200 American drinkers across the country on their bar ordering habits. Keep reading for a breakdown of what each state has on tap.
Every U.S. State’s Drink Order
From sports bars to breweries across the map, we did our homework to find out each state’s favorite drinks to order at a bar. Here are some of the states with the most unique combinations of preferences.
In Washington, respondents leaned toward beer over all other alcoholic beverages and claimed Stella Artois as their beer of choice. They also voted Moscow Mule as their classic cocktail of choice and breweries as their preferred bar environment. Moscow Mules are made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer and served in a copper mug. If you are making these bar drinks at home, you can mix Stella Artois with a bit of ginger beer (known as a Ginger Shandy) for more of a spicy finish!
Those in Pennsylvania voted for mixed drinks as their beverage of choice, Yuengling as their favorite beer, margaritas as their go-to cocktail, and cocktail lounges as their preferred bar type. Here you can find moody, candlelit cocktail lounges like the Ranstead Room, located in Philadelphia. It serves up tantalizing drinks like “Stop the Wedding” — a cocktail made with cinnamon, vanilla, clove, lemon, blended bitters, and brown butter-washed whiskies — a win-win for your tastebuds.
Maryland respondents opted for mixed drinks, Yuengling as their preferred beer, whiskey sours as their favorite cocktail, and sports bars as the ultimate drinking establishment. Sliders Bar and Grill, located in Baltimore is touted as the friendliest sports bar and showcases cocktails with over 15 flavors such as cucumber, orange, sourberry, and more.
Kentucky drinkers desire beer over any other bar drinks, with Yuengling as their beer of choice, old fashioneds as their cocktail of choice, and music venues as their premiere drinking place.
Special shout out to Arizona, who voted for cocktails as their favorite bar drink, Dos Equis as their go-to beer, margaritas as their favorite cocktails, and cocktail lounges to get their drinking face on.
The Most Popular Drink Orders in the U.S.
We took a look at each state’s bar tabs to discover the most popular alcoholic drinks from coast to coast.
Zooming out on the bar menu, we found that mixed drinks stole 27.9% of the vote, followed by cocktails (27.1%) and beer (25.9%).
While margaritas are the favorite cocktail, stealing a quarter of the vote, Blue Moon (18.1%) reigns supreme in the beer category. This is followed by Bud Light (9.9%), Sam Adams (9.4%), and Stella Artois (8.8%).
It’s no wonder Blue Moon is the most popular beer order, as it’s one of the best-selling craft beers in the U.S., generating over $370 million in sales in 2021. Plus, who doesn’t love a citrusy beer served with an orange slice?
Where your drinking occurs matters almost just as much as what you’re drinking, which is why we asked Americans where they prefer popping their beer bottle cap off.
We found that most respondents leaned toward breweries (20.1%), dive bars (18.3%), and sports bars (15.6%). The craft beer market is seeing a surge thanks to microbreweries and craft breweries popping up all over the map.
States With the Best (& Worst) Tippers
After closing out your tab, you’re faced with a decision: how much or how little do you tip your bartender? We found stark differences across the country.
Kentucky (22%), Missouri (19.6%), Indiana (16%), and Colorado (16%) are all handsome tippers, tipping 25% or more –– a good deal higher than the 20% tip that is commonly recommended.
On the flip side, places like Mississippi (29.4%), Texas (28%), and Louisiana (21.6%) all tip 10% or less. Worse still, bartenders are less likely to feel the love in states like Kansas (8%), Minnesota (8%), and Iowa (7.8%), where the largest share of respondents say they don’t tip at all.
Ordering your favorite cocktail at the bar can be intimidating. 28% of Americans agree, saying that they felt their order was judged by the bartender. When it comes to tipping the mixologists, the largest share of respondents (41%) usually tip their bartenders 15% or less.
How Much Will Your State Pay for a Quality Cocktail?
While Americans are budgeting in some areas of life, others aren’t willing to forgo their weekly nightcap. American drinkers are willing to pay $12.64 on average for their favorite premium cocktail.
Unsurprisingly, New Yorkers would pay $15.82 for a cocktail and Californians would pay $14.54. With NYC’s surging drink prices over the past year due to inflation, New Yorkers know they’ll have to shell out for a top-shelf cocktail during an evening out.
Residents of states such as Wisconsin ($11.22 for a cocktail) and Oklahoma ($11.01 for a cocktail) are tightening their purse strings and searching for those happy hour discounts.
Bar tabs can differ by generation, as well as geography. Gen Zers prefer to imbibe at nightclubs, where they’re willing to pay $14 on average for a premium cocktail, whereas baby boomers will only cough up $10.26 for their cocktail of choice.
How Do Americans Get a Bartender’s Attention?
Picture this: you’re at the bar. It’s sweaty and crowded, and the bartender still hasn’t made their way over to you yet. So, how do you get their attention? We surveyed Americans to find out.
According to most respondents, they use the subtle technique of hardcore eye contact (46%) to get the bartender’s attention. Still, sometimes that’s not enough.
Others wave cash or their credit card in the air (3%) for service or simply resort to yelling (1%). The drinkers most likely to resort to these tactics reside in New Jersey and Texas, respectively.
While bartenders hate being beckoned and called on duty, at least have your bar drink order ready when they make their way over to you. And please, never snap your fingers at the bartender (unless you’re Beyoncé, of course).
To discover each state’s top drinks to order at a bar, we surveyed 2,217 American drinkers, aged 21 and up, across 44 states. Our survey ran from November 23, 2022, to December 23, 2022. The purpose of this survey was to find out what Americans across different demographics and regions preferred to order at the bar, what types of bars they frequented, how much they tip their bartender, and what amount they are willing to spend on a high-quality cocktail. Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming were not included in the survey due to a low pool of survey respondents.
The beer brand Blue Moon was a cult favorite while other states opted for more understated drinks like a simple mojito. The most popular alcoholic drinks were mixed drinks and margaritas! We also found that drinkers preferred certain environments like a hip brewery over a rowdy sports bar.
No matter your go-to beverage, we hope this survey serves as an inspiration to change up your drink order the next time you hop on a bar stool.
Featured Image Credit: Upgraded Points
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