How to Appropriately Make Out in Bars, According to Bartenders

"I’ve seen a lot of things. More than just kissing, honestly."
Ian Burke
Brooklyn, US
People in costume kissing at a bar
Getty Images // AleksandarNakic

If you’ve ever gone to a bar on the weekend, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself sitting a bit too close to some aggressive PDA. And while barstool lovebirds may or may not make you uncomfortable (if they don’t, it’s probably because you’re the one D-ing A in P), have you ever considered how service industry workers feel about all the same-side-of-the-booth makeout sessions they’re forced to witness? Here are a few hard truths and helpful suggestions to keep in mind the next time you’re about bust a move in front of your bartender or server. Because, yeah, they totally notice.


You’re going to make everyone who works there uncomfortable.

It’s very uncomfortable to watch. It’s so awkward. Literally there were two people hardcore making out at the bar yesterday and I was like, is anyone else watching this? And we see it all the time! But the thing I hate the most is when two customers sit in a booth but they sit next to each other on the same side. It’s like, why even bother getting a booth? — Erb, Bartender, Jersey City, NJ

I see it all the time. You see the craziest shit on holidays. Like this Halloween I saw two people in costume making out at the bar for like, half an hour. She had a MAGA dress on, and he was the wall. It was gross. And the other day I even saw a couple seriously getting after it at 2 PM. And it was immediately after then ate a giant plate of nachos. Pretty nasty, honestly. — Jackson, Bouncer, New York, NY.

We see people hooking up at the bar literally every week. I think it’s funny but I also think it’s gross. It’s really gross when it’s still daylight out, or when the two people making out are the only people in the entire place, or when people are just going at it at a table. Usually I just ignore it. I won’t go over to you if you’re hooking up. But we do have a bartender that puts her hand in front of peoples’ faces like, “Can you stop?” Because those people are just wasting bar space and not buying anything. — Zoë, Server, Sparta, NJ


I’ve seen a lot of things. More than just kissing, honestly. I remember one weekend I literally saw a grown man shove his hand down the back of a girl’s pants in the middle of the bar—right in the open. I don’t know what was going on there but it was wild. Personally, PDA doesn’t bother me too much. Like, if you’re going to do that right in the open I think it’s crazy and weird, but I feel like if you work late at night at a bar it’s just a common thing you have to deal with. And I’ve definitely done it myself, so it’s tough for me to really tell someone not to do it. — Jocelyn, Server, Dewey Beach, DE.

If you’re going to hook up, do it after you place your order…

The other day I ran someone’s card, and when I came back to drop off their bill they were making out. It’s absolutely gross. And especially when servers are trying to give them food and the customers are making out at the table. — Gina, Bartender, Downingtown, PA.

If you interrupt they get mad, but I’m just trying to do my job, you know? Most of the time when we see it we just don’t go over there, since it’s so awkward. You’re just not going to get served. And especially make sure to do it after you get your drinks or food, because interrupting your makeout to bring you two Jäger-bombs is just… horrible. — Erb, Bartender, Jersey City, NJ

…and as discreetly as possible.

Definitely wait until late at night, when everyone else is drunk. No PDA during the day or when the bar and restaurant are empty—it has to be a full house. The worst is when people are hooking up at the bar and they just sit there and take up space from the other customers, customers that are tipping. — Zoë, Server, Sparta, NJ

If you’re at a bar it’s one thing, but if I have a customer at a table that I’m serving and they’re making out with someone, that’s offensive to me. Because, like, why? Why are you doing this right now, when I’m serving you food? Just please: If you’re going to hook up, be discreet. — Jocelyn, Server, Dewey Beach, DE.

Obviously people are going to hook up at the bar, it is what it is, but there are other ways to do that sort of thing. Holding hands is cool, or kissing now and then, but don’t just be shoving your tongue down someone’s throat at the bar. I guess it’s okay if it’s really, really late, but other than that, no. I work at a bar that’s open until twelve and I see it a lot, but if you’re hooking up before ten, when the waitresses leave, that’s just way too early for that sort of thing. — Gina, Bartender, Downingtown, PA.

If you go too far, you’re going to get kicked out.

It would have to go pretty far for me to step in. I think if clothes started coming off, that would be the point where I’d have to break it up. But other than that I don’t really have a problem with it, unless it’s making one of the bartenders or waiters uncomfortable. The bar that I work at is pretty lax about that sort of thing—but yeah, once private parts become exposed, then I’d have to put a stop to that. — Jackson, Bouncer, New York, NY.

I’ve intervened before. Usually when it gets really touchy, if they start going for stuff, if you know what I mean. Kissing is fine, but if you’re pinning someone against the wall and hands start going places, you gotta step in. I tell them to chill out—like, you’re in a public place, people. But usually they just start up again in the bathroom and you have to kick them out. If you went into the women's bathroom you’d have a better shot at getting away with it since male bouncers don’t go in there—not that I’m advocating for that. And a lot of times I tell people to ease up and guys will be like, ‘What the fuck, man?’ or whatever, but it’s just not cool. People work here. At the end of the day, it’s a business. You can’t be fucking in the bathroom of your dentist, so what makes you think you can do it at the bar? — Carlos, Bouncer, Nashville, TN.