Speaking as a guy that lives in a rather densely-populated urban area, there’s a lot I deal with when it comes to living in a big city with lots of people: crowded public transportation, crime, congested streets, etc. But funny enough, the one thing that probably irks me the most about living in a major metropolitan hub is the hassle one must go through when ordering a drink. Yeah, I know, probably the epitome of first world problems, but after a long day at work, one of the things I want to deal with least when it comes to throngs of people is getting a bartender’s attention. I often find myself at my wit’s end: I don’t know whether I need to know the actual bartender by name, bring a super attractive girl with me (for the male bartenders at least), or pop off a flare gun in the middle of a crowded bar to get the person’s attention. But luckily for me, and anybody else who struggles with this issue, a new study has just come out by a group of scientists in Germany that has actually researched and analyzed the most effective methods of getting a drink at a bar.

Best news ever, right?

According to the researchers behind the study, based out of Bielefeld University in Germany, there are several ways to get attention from a bartender as well as get snubbed by one too. The study was done at a nightclub and assessed each bar patron’s behavior within the 35 second window before they were served by a bartender, as well as gauged their success rate of hailing a bartender down. Interestingly enough, the study was created in an attempt to create Europe’s first robot bartender (dubbed James) which will have to respond to human behavior, gestures, and interactions.

Well despite the researchers’ ultimate goal of designing the world’s first drink dispensing bar robot, there were a few interesting findings they discovered from their work, including the following:

  • Standing shoulders square at the bar, head facing forward found that 95% of orders were taken. – Seems obvious, but there are actually a lot of people out there who turn sideways, lean in, talk to friends, etc. when ordering from a bar which significantly drops your chances of being served.
  • Looking at the bartender was successful in 86% of the orders. – Again, not a bad tactic, falls into the same category of leaning in to try to get the bartender’s attention.
  • Squeezing in between customers or trying to side step to the bar will leave you waiting longer. – An interesting finding which makes sense, considering you can’t really see a person that’s squeezed in and from a glance, you can’t tell if they’re ordering or just getting in close to talk to a friend.
  • Only 7% of customers who were busy looking at money got served. – If you’re trying to rifle through your wallet for your card or cash, it looks like bartender’s will be less likely to serve you.
  • People looking at a menu were served 1% of the time. – If you look like you haven’t decided what you wanted, you probably won’t get picked out of a crowd. Makes sense to me.
  • People looking at the drink menu were served 3% of the time. – Again, if you look indecisive, you probably won’t get picked out by the bartender.
  • Gesturing with your head, arm, or hand at a bartender is not as successful as most people think. – Beyond the fact that it can be downright obnoxious, it turns out trying to hail a bartender down like a taxi is not always a good way to get their attention. So to everybody that seems to do that incessantly at bars around D.C., I say this: STOP IT.

So the conclusion you should draw from this? If you want to get served at a bar, stand shoulders straight to the bar, facing forward, and try to make eye contact with the bartender. As for the research, scientists are hoping these findings will help temper the university’s attempt to make James (the robot) more attentive to typical human behavior. All I have to say is that these exhaustive efforts to create the world’s most accurate and realistic robot bartender is truly science at its finest.

Cheers to those researchers.