20090212-billA few months back I did a PSA on how to successfully participate in cinema etiquette. Now, to assist you other assholes, I will be putting together my do’s and don’ts of dining in a big group.

Whether it be Homecoming for you High Schoolers, a round of drinks with co-workers, a reunion of sorts, or a hodge podge of friends of friends there is one thing that can turn a nice evening into a spoiled shit-storm.

People who do not pay their portion of the tab. Let me say that again, clearly:


Here’s a scenario you are having a wonderful evening, dining outside, the birds are singing, and everything is peaches. THEN two dickheads, three dickheads, or even four leave a little early – you know before things get really going – and leave say, $10.00 on a bill where their plate of food and three drinks was more like – I don’t know (speaking in generalities here)- including tip, safely $50.00.

In the city of Chicago one can assume that three drinks and an entree will be no less than $50.00, especially when you are dining at a West Randolph restaurant.

Now, I’d be less irritated if we had been dining at Chilis or Olive Garden and your bill was safe at $25.00 and you shafted the rest of the group, but a downtown trendy nationally known restaurant – you walk out early and leave the table with a crisp, shitty, $10.00 – you sir, are an asshole.
This scenario got me thinking. There are a number of rules when dining out with a group.

  • Rule # 1: Put on a happy face – You don’t have to like everyone at the table, in fact you can be like me and generally not even like being out of the house – but in the event you drag yourself out be kind, considerate, and be welcoming. If you don’t like someone, have another drink – they won’t seem so bad.
  • Rule #2: Put the fucking phone down – You are here to interact. If you are texting others, calling others, or playing angry birds – maybe you should go home.
  • Rule #3: Know when you’ve had a little too much – I like many others enjoy my drinks, especially if I’m out with friends I haven’t been out with in a while, but know the time and place where sober is appropriate, a buzz is appropriate, and getting black out drunk is appropriate (this one is only okay if you are in Boystown-and a female). No one likes being that person.
  • Rule #4: Do your research – Have you been to this bar/cafe/restaurant/gastropub/winery/carnival before? What’s the price point? Does it accommodate vegans? Is it a BYOB? What is the dress code? Does the location offer separate checks? How busy is it, typically? And again, WHAT IS THE PRICE POINT?
  • Rule #5: If you are leaving early – leave enough to cover your meal with tax and tip included, always leave more, not less. No matter who you are, or where you’re eating it is never okay to skip out, or offer less than a sustainable amount when contributing to the tab. Menus have pricing on them for a reason. My math skills have never been wonderful, nor are my finances, but add up the amount of your dish, and your drinks, and leave an extra %20 for good measure and I think you’re all set. If you don’t? Maybe you’re just an asshole.

From now on, I’m sticking to groups of no more than five, or maybe, a table for one..