Adjust your order to the location and bartender skill level of the venue.
This is very good advice when entering any drinking establishment. Know your preferences by flavor profile (bitter v. sweet) and spirit (don't be lazy with any of this 'dark v light' bullshit - know your gin v vodka and rye v bourbon).
I also pay close attention to a few other things before ordering:
Measurements: Are the bartenders building drinks by eye or with any type of jigger-style device. I don't care if the measurements are precise, but I care that some semblance of ratios are used (unless ordering a straight spirit, then I leave the pour in the hands of the bartender - as long as it is generous)
Ice: I try not to be snobbish about ice choices, but rather treat it as a leading indicator. If you've ordered a $12 cocktail with top shelf ingredients, but it's served like an in-flight soda in an ice-filled glass - after about 5 minutes you're sipping mostly water. If your establishment of choice cares enough to serve massive, clear, uniform size ice, you can rest easy that they will be sweating all other details in building a quality cocktail