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Bar etiquette

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF: May/June 2023
VDLP: April/May 2024
When you stop at a bar for a beer, wine, coffee or bite to eat, and sit at a table, is it expected that you will return your dirty dishes up to the bar before you leave? I alway do, as it seems rude to leave my glass or plate on the table and force the bar person to come and clear it, but I haven’t yet determined if that’s what the locals do. Just curious what the expected behaviour is at bars regarding dirty glasses/plates. .
 
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I do the same, it is certainly not expected but often welcomed. It is unlikely you will ever see locals doing it (not that is a negative per se) as it is not expected by the bar owners.

Well done to you though as it's a very thoughtful gesture and probably does light up some busy bar owner's day.
 
I always do it. Seems like just a nice thing to do. Most of the bars that I went into didn't have a lot of help and I don't mind doing a little bit to help keep them in business. You certainly don't get rich running a bar in the small towns that we walk through. I especially return the dishes if I'm outside.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
There was a thread on this a few weeks ago.

If there's someone waiting tables and collecting glasses, i wouldn't.

If you're just returning a glass to the bar and you're going to the bar to pay.. by all means.

I saw pilgrims returning plates and cups after their breakfast and it looked a bit daft.
 
There was a long thread on this topic recently. Some who live in Spain said this may disrupt the work flow and at the least seem eccentric. Thinking about it, I don't usually return my glassware or plates in the US unless there is some kind of sign telling me to do so, although I often do on the Camino especially in places where the bar is slammed and dirty plates and glassware on every table.
 
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I return my cups and glasses in Frankfurt quite often, and I did it in Spain quite often too. Especially in the small places where only 1, maybe 2 people were working. Always got a Gracias in return. Is it needed? No, but just something nice to do.
 
When you stop at a bar for a beer, wine, coffee or bite to eat, and sit at a table, is it expected that you will return your dirty dishes up to the bar before you leave? I alway do, as it seems rude to leave my glass or plate on the table and force the bar person to come and clear it, but I haven’t yet determined if that’s what the locals do. Just curious what the expected behaviour is at bars regarding dirty glasses/plates. .
I like the gesture of bringing my glass or plate back to bar but I always think where do I return because most of the time the bar is clean. Just a thought…
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Thanks for the responses. I’m trying to figure this stuff out on the fly here so I appreciate the different perspectives.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
When you stop at a bar for a beer, wine, coffee or bite to eat, and sit at a table, is it expected that you will return your dirty dishes up to the bar before you leave? I alway do, as it seems rude to leave my glass or plate on the table and force the bar person to come and clear it, but I haven’t yet determined if that’s what the locals do. Just curious what the expected behaviour is at bars regarding dirty glasses/plates. .
It’s what Pelegrinos do😄
 
When you stop at a bar for a beer, wine, coffee or bite to eat, and sit at a table, is it expected that you will return your dirty dishes up to the bar before you leave? I alway do, as it seems rude to leave my glass or plate on the table and force the bar person to come and clear it, but I haven’t yet determined if that’s what the locals do. Just curious what the expected behaviour is at bars regarding dirty glasses/plates. .
I do it also, if not for any other reason than to show the bar owners that we Pilgrims appreciate the service they provide.
 
There was a long thread on this topic recently. Some who live in Spain said this may disrupt the work flow and at the least seem eccentric
Here's the post from @natefaith of Pilgrim House who is a very nice and polite person.
Great question @montyhiker. In Galicia, I usually sit down and wait for a server to come take my order. At times I've gone to the bar and ordered something, but I honestly can't remember the last time I took my own plates/cups to a table - usually the bartender would take the order at the bar, and then bring it to me at a table.

And - just a note that in some bars and restaurants, they don't want you to clear your own plates/cups. They'd rather do it themselves, and it would disrupt their system if you were to bring your plates and cups back to the bar once you were done. Perhaps look around at what other patrons at the cafe are doing and follow suit.

Also, during busy periods, if you do want to be seated, there is sometimes a queue of people, but you don't know it! Often Spaniards will check in with a server, be told it's busy and to wait in line, and then they'll mill around/ sit on a wall nearby or across the street/ sit at the bar. The server will know in which order everyone came, and he/she will direct you once it's your turn to be seated at a table. If you do try to sit down at a table before it's your turn (or without realizing at all that there was a queue!), someone will clearly tell you that it's not for you :) .

Buen Camino!
And here's the complete thread:
 
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Here's the post from @natefaith of Pilgrim House who is a very nice and polite person.

It's that I've offended enough servers while living in Galicia and now I know how to be a docile customer who can get with their system. :D

One caveat is that I haven't been on the Camino in a few years - and certainly not in the busiest, craziest parts of the trail. It may well be a very different culture now out on the Camino where bars are swamped with pilgrims. So YMMV.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I noticed a number of small bars and cafés that were run by one or two evidently overworked/understaffed persons. In those establishments I always made sure to pick up my stuff and leave my table clean. I invariably got a “gracias” from the attendant.
In a well-staffed establishment, I let the wait staff do their job.
 
This subject was also raised on a channel concerning Cruise ships. It is positively discouraged where there is a large serving staff, especially where they are low paid and closely supervised. If you return items thinking that you are helping out, the supervisor simply sees that some member of their staff is not quick enough to do it for you. Therefore an unexpected and unwanted side effect.
However, on the Camino everyone generally helps where possible, especially the smaller establishments, and especially if there are any Perigrino related discounts or benefits.
Return your crocks and swap them for a stamp on your passport.
 
Usually after I've had breakfast I like to make the simple gesture of returning glasses – I'm usually thanked by waiting staff who didn't expect it.

Actually, I find joy in lending a hand wherever I can.

If a stack of dishes catches my eye, I'm more than happy to roll up my sleeves to assist with washing, scrubbing, and drying, turning the chore into a communal experience filled with laughter and camaraderie.

But my contributions don't stop there. If I notice a bin overflowing, I empty it out, it's the least I can do to return cleanliness to the space we all share.

And when it comes to tidying up, I'm like a silent guardian, always on the lookout for stray napkins or tables to wipe down, ensuring that every corner of the establishment gleams with pride.

And you know what truly warms my heart? It's the genuine appreciation from the staff. A simple "thank you" or a nod of acknowledgment speaks volumes.

Sometimes, I find myself inadvertently stepping into the shoes of a supervisor, offering suggestions to staff on enhancing customer experience.

Tax returns and strategic planning have even found their way into my repertoire – because when every gesture matters, no task is too big or too small.

These simple acts of kindness reverberate throughout the entire establishment, creating a culture of collaboration, appreciation, and warmth.

Buen camino.
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
When you stop at a bar for a beer, wine, coffee or bite to eat, and sit at a table, is it expected that you will return your dirty dishes up to the bar before you leave? I alway do, as it seems rude to leave my glass or plate on the table and force the bar person to come and clear it, but I haven’t yet determined if that’s what the locals do. Just curious what the expected behaviour is at bars regarding dirty glasses/plates. .
Interesting! I do this as a matter of habit living in Portugal for the last 5 years. It’s a detail I most likely would have missed in France. Thanks for the note!
 

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