5 Reasons Why You Tap the Table Before Taking a Shot

Why You Tap the Table Before Taking a Shot

Have you ever noticed how people in bars tend to tap the table before downing a shot? Maybe you have done it too, after watching others, but without knowing the reason. It’s a ritual that has persisted across generations and cultures, leaving many to wonder about its origin and meaning. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating history behind this tradition. We’ll explore the possible reasons for tapping the table, including superstition, respect, and camaraderie. So, let’s raise a glass and dive into the mystery of this age-old bar ritual!

1. Superstition and Good Luck

Tapping the table before taking shots is often associated with superstition and the belief in good luck.

The Irish Tradition

One of the oldest explanations for tapping the table before taking a shot can be traced back to Irish drinking culture. According to folklore, the practice began as a way to honor and appease the spirits or “pookas” that were believed to inhabit the world around us. Tapping the table was seen as a gesture of goodwill, ensuring that the spirits would bless the drinker with good luck and protect them from harm.

The Sailors’ Salute

Another theory behind this tradition involves sailors and their penchant for superstition. It was believed that tapping the table would ward off any evil spirits lurking within the drink. Sailors would tap the table, then drink the shot, ensuring that any lurking malevolent forces would be left behind at the bottom of the glass.

2. Respect for the Fallen

The ritual of tapping the table before a shot is taken is a sign of respect for dead soldiers. The purpose of this tradition is to remember our departed companions and to have a drink with them in spirit. Tapping the table is the 21st-century equivalent of pouring one for the bros, and it serves the same social and bonding purposes.

The Military Connection

In military circles, tapping the table before taking a shot is a sign of respect for fallen comrades. The ritual is often performed in remembrance of friends who are no longer, as a symbolic gesture of sharing the drink with them. Tapping the table serves as a brief moment of reflection, honoring the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Pouring One Out

Tapping the table can also be seen as a modern-day equivalent of pouring one out for the homies – a gesture of solidarity with those who have passed on. By tapping the table, the drinker acknowledges the spirits of their departed friends, sharing a moment of connection before moving on with their night.

3. Camaraderie and Social Bonding

Why You Tap the Table Before Taking a Shot

By tapping the table before each shot, people are able to connect and have fun. The act of collectively tapping the table strengthens the connections of friendship and community. Furthermore, the strength of tradition and the feeling of belonging it fosters are particularly important in the transient nightlife environment. By partaking in this seemingly insignificant event, participants are bound to a common history and culture.

A Shared Ritual

One of the key reasons people tap the table before taking a shot is the sense of camaraderie and social bonding it creates. Drinking has long been a way for people to come together and share experiences, and this simple ritual is an extension of that. As people tap the table in unison, they share a moment of connection, reinforcing the bonds of friendship and community.

The Power of Tradition

Traditions play an essential role in creating a sense of belonging and shared identity. By participating in the table-tapping ritual, drinkers become part of a larger community, connected through a shared history and a common set of customs. This sense of continuity and connection can be especially comforting in the often-transient world of bars and nightlife.

4. The Practical Benefits

Why You Tap the Table Before Taking a Shot

Reducing the Risk of Accidents

While the practice may have its roots in superstition and tradition, it serves a purpose by revealing any vulnerabilities in the glassware and therefore reducing the likelihood of accidents. It may also help calm anxieties before taking the injection for some people. Additionally, tapping the table may mix the layers in the case of stacked shots or ones with various components, making for a more pleasurable sipping experience.

Steadying the Nerves

For some, tapping the table before taking a shot is a simple way to steady their nerves and prepare for the burn of the alcohol. It’s a brief moment of pause, a chance to take a deep breath and brace oneself before downing the shot.

Mixing the Layers

In some cases, tapping the table can be related to the actual consumption of the shot. For layered shots or those with multiple ingredients, a gentle tap on the table can help mix the layers together, creating a more even and enjoyable drinking experience.

5. The Art of Storytelling

Why You Tap the Table Before Taking a Shot

People’s natural curiosity about the custom of tapping the table frequently leads to interesting discussions on the origins of the practice. When individuals have something in common, they are more likely to get close to one another. In addition, the mystery surrounding the ritual serves to enhance the whole experience, helping to preserve the custom while also encouraging participants to bring their unique perspectives to the table. The drinking practice of tapping the table opens the floor to conversation and bonding.

Conversation Starter

The ritual of tapping the table before taking a shot often sparks curiosity and can serve as a great conversation starter. As people share their own theories and stories behind the tradition, the sense of camaraderie deepens, and new connections are forged. In a sense, tapping the table transcends the act of drinking and becomes an opportunity for storytelling and shared experiences.

A Sense of Mystery

In a world where information is readily available at our fingertips, the enigmatic nature of the table-tapping ritual adds a certain allure to the experience. The fact that there isn’t a definitive answer to why we tap the table before taking a shot keeps the tradition alive and allows people to embrace their interpretations.


At the end of the day, tapping the table before taking a shot is a harmless and enduring tradition that serves as a reminder of our shared humanity. Whether it’s an expression of superstition, respect, camaraderie, or practicality, the simple gesture carries with it a rich history and cultural significance that transcends borders and generations.

So, the next time you find yourself in a bar, raising a shot glass to your lips, take a moment to tap the table and embrace the tradition. Who knows, you might just find yourself forging new connections and creating lasting memories, all with a simple tap of the table. Cheers!

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