Here’s Why People Tap Their Glass On The Bar Before Taking A Shot


Have you been at the bar and seen or been part of a group of friends who order a round of shots, but before they pound the shooter they tap the glass on the bar? Do you wonder why people tap their glass on the bar before taking a shot? So did we, so we tried to find an answer to this unusual custom on the World Wide Web and it turns out there are a plethora of possible reasons for the drinking ritual.

  • There are some who say you tap your glass on the bar to pay your respects to friends who couldn’t make it out or fallen friends who can’t enjoy a shot of Jameson. It was apparently the Middle Ages version of pouring one for your dead homies.
  • In ancient Ireland, drinkers at the pub thought their whiskey might have evil spirits that could be harmful if consumed, but tapping the glass scared away the demons.
  • There is the legend of Aldwyn, a 5th-century Saxon peasant who was said to be the first person to tap his glass upon a rough-hewn bar to ward off evil spirits.
  • There is a belief that you give cheers by clinking glasses with friends to welcome the future, but you tap the bar to remember the past.
  • When someone taps their shot glass on the bar, it is to show respect to the bar or tavern that you are in as well as the employees of the establishment, especially the bartender. It is said that clinking glasses is to toast one another, but tapping the bar is to toast the house.
  • If you have a beer, tapping your mug is said to cause the head to settle. This is especially handy if you are competing in a drinking contest.
  • If you were in a drinking contest, the sound of your cup hitting the table would allow the judges to hear that all of the contestants started at the same time.

Whatever your reason for tapping the bar, savor the shot, but most importantly cherish the company of good friends.


Paul Sacca has written on a myriad of topics ranging from breaking news to movies to technology to men's interests for nearly a decade. His articles have been cited in numerous media powerhouses such as USA Today, New York Daily News, New York Post, CNN, Sports Illustrated, Huffington Post, Deadspin, and The Big Lead.