7 Ways To Not Be Annoying About Charging Your Phone At A Bar

Relax. Have a drink. (.sanden.)

Relax. Have a drink. And say “please.” (.sanden.)

It’s a desperate, panicky feeling, gnawing at your insides and lighting your brain on fire. Your phone is about to die. It’s dead! What if someone texts you something important, like the score of the Brewers game or what happened on that show last night? We’ve all been frantic or something like it over a dead phone, but guess what? Not every bartender or waiter you ask has a charger, or wants you to plug your phone in while they’re trying to work.

Because none of us are alone in our dependence on mobile devices, there’s always bound to be a situation where you find yourself powerless and in need of a charging session. But there’s a good way to go about it, and then there’s an annoying way.

Let’s not be annoying, shall we?


1. Bring your own charger: When I know I’m going to be away from home for a large part of the day, I stuff my charger in my purse/bag, because I’m smart like that. If you find yourself already out and about without one and don’t want to bank on a stranger/bartender lending you one, you can always spend a few bucks and pick up a new one. It never hurts to have more than one charger.

Added bonus: You get karmic points if someone else is need of a charger and you can provide. Just don’t forget to collect it later or all your hard work remembering to bring a charger will have gone to waste.

2. Accept no for an answer: Start out by being polite and asking very nicely if you can please charge your phone behind the bar. If the bar staff says no, accept that they’ve got their reasons and try your luck elsewhere.

After all, smartphones are often incredibly expensive and that bars are a very hazardous place for them. You can’t always expect a bartender to take on the risk of babysitting your $600 phone.

3. Charge at your own risk: On the above note, don’t expect the staff to babysit your phone. They’re already busy running a bar, so if your phone ends up in a pool of beer, you’ve only got yourself to blame.

4. Put your phone in airplane mode or turn it off: It’ll charge faster this way, and the bartender won’t have to worry about accidentally seeing any embarrassing texts or calls that might pop up. Emojis can be very graphic these days.

5. Don’t ask to check your phone while it’s charging, especially if it’s behind the bar: The bartender is busy enough making drinks — so no, he or she doesn’t want to be bothered by you asking every other minute if you can just check your texts. They’re already doing you a favor, so sit on your hands and be patient.

6. Plug it in somewhere near you: If at all possible, locate a plug near where you’re sitting, preferably not behind the bar so you won’t be tempted to pester the bartender. And no one wants to be around the person fretting over whether or not her phone is safe plugged in behind that shady looking couple that are probably the Bonnie and Clyde of phone thefts. If your phone is close by, you can chill out — and so can everyone else. Here, have a drink.

7. Leave a tip: After putting up with you and your phone troubles, the bartenders will probably just have to deal with someone else after you, on and on into eternity. You know what makes that better? A little monetary gratitude. So if you want the universe to shine its good graces on you in the future, leave a buck or two for the staff for being so accommodating.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.