A crowded bar is always a challenging experience, for both the customer and the bartender. When the bar is packed and the bartender is in the weeds, it can be really tough to tell who’s been standing at the bar waiting for a drink the longest. Unless you’re in a bar where an organized line has formed — I hear the Brits love to queue — you are really at the whims of the bartender, and the best you can do is try and be as polite as possible.
If you’re waiting for a drink, making eye contact with the person behind the stick is your best bet. Try to catch their eye while they’re making a drink or settling a tab for another customer. When they make eye contact back, be ready with your order immediately, if you aren’t ready, don’t be surprised or annoyed if they move on to someone else. And if you want to make sure they come back to you quickly for the next round, keep your order simple — something the bartender can make quickly — and tip well.
What you absolutely should never do is wave your money in the air, pull out your wallet or wave your purse, or tap your credit card on the bar. Not only does this make you look like the worst kind of person imaginable, it is also insanely rude. No one cares that you have money ready to pay for a drink, everyone in the bar has money to pay for drinks. That’s why they’re in the bar.