We all know and understand how important it is to bring humour to various kinds of social situations, whether it be to break the ice, ease some tension, form and strengthen friendships or to ingratiate ourselves with others. More often than not, a well-chosen and well-delivered joke can be just what the doctor ordered. This is no truer than when enjoying exquisite libations in a bar, where time spent should be about good drinks and good company: a celebration of life in our time of leisure. A good joke can be the olive in the martini and a way of remembering the occasion. Ernest Hemingway once said, “I drink to make other people more interesting,” but it’s perhaps best to be more interesting and be with more interesting people while drinking.

With jokes, there is first and foremost a need to be, that’s right, funny. But jokes should also be witty, intelligent and/or original, Jokes that fall flat can potentially pose more of an embarrassment to the teller, and even to the whole group, so we sometimes need to tread with particular care when attempting to regale and amuse an audience.

Things to Remember

Be fresh and original – We don’t need to stick to old formats – if we don’t all roll our eyes in boredom at hearing the ‘Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman” opener, then perhaps we should have the cultural sensitivity to pick a less nationalist joke, as there are infinite others to choose from.

Keep it brief – Setting a context is often important, but long jokes can really try the patience of the listener and can build up expectations to a possible anticlimax.

Keep it clean – potentially offensive or explicitly dirty jokes are best avoided, especially with customers or new friends. It’s better to be cheesy than nasty!

Tell the jokes that work for you – we all have our own personalities and styles of delivery so be sure to stick to the ones that best match your own personal style rather than trying to be someone else.

Know your audience – some jokes can be hilarious with one group, yet met with expressions of confusion with the next, so be sure you can gauge your crowd before plying your wares.

Be confident – as with many things, confidence can make all the difference, and unfunny jokes can be made funny if they work for the speaker. Believe in yourself, the joke, and (hopefully) others will laugh too.


bartender and customer laughing at bar

Every bartender has certain individual characteristics that make them fun, cool, likeable and open to tips, and choosing the right joke to have in your repertoire may really be the cherry on the cocktail. While tending the bar, there often isn’t much time for lengthy exhibitions, so the punchy, snappy puns can be the best ones to go with. Here are our top ten ‘walk into a bar’ puns for your enjoyment and possible use (laughing is not compulsory).

A neutron walks into a bar. It asks, “How much for a beer?”. The bartender says “For you? No charge”.

An SEO expert walks into a bar, bars, pub, tavern, public house, Irish bar, drinks, beer…

The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.

Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) walks into a bar. [citation needed]. The barman says, “We don’t serve time travelers in here.” A time traveler walks into a bar.

Comic Sans, Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar. “Get out!”, shouts the bartender, we don’t serve your type here.

Two dragons walk into a bar. One says “It’s really hot in here”. The other says, “Shut your mouth”.

E-flat walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve minors”.

A dog walks into a bar and asks the bartender, “Do you have any jobs?” The bartender says, “Why don’t you try the circus?” The dog replies, “Why would the circus need a bartender?”

A roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers and says, “Five beers please”.

Here are a few more drink-related jokes that can be of particular use for the bartender…

What is the best way to maintain a balanced diet? A cocktail in each hand! A man walks into a bar and notices a steak hanging from the ceiling. When he asks about it, the bartender says, “If you can jump up and touch it, drinks are on the house all night, but if you miss, everyone’s drinks are on your tab for the next two hours. Do you want to try?” The man decided to not take the risk. He thought the steaks were too high.

What did the bartender say after Charles Dickens ordered a martini? Olive or Twist?

These are just a few to try out. Remember that it’s the way you tell them that makes them funny:delivery really is key, so keep your jokes clear and fun. And if you find the result to be something similar to that of a lead balloon, remember to smile and enjoy your failure with a confident charm. Bartenders can at least use the line “Thank you, I’m here all week” and really mean it. Just don’t give up the night job!

If you liked this blog post, check out more here.