As a female bartender and avid bar-goer, I have been on both sides of the bartender-customer love affair. I shouldn’t say “love affair,” because it is often completely one-sided. When you’re working it can be kind of a pain to have that one customer who won’t leave you alone, but it is even worse on the other side of the bar. When you’re sitting at the bar on a Saturday night being served delicious pink vodka drinks from an even more delicious male barkeep, it is sometimes hard to control yourself once you hit that fourth or fifth drink. Embarrassment, poor choices, and financial misgivings will ensue. So from experience on both ends, here is a list of some very good reasons why you should not hit on the bartender.
1. You’re likely drunk.
This is perhaps the most glaring of the reasons not to hit on the bartender. He has been serving you drinks all night, and suddenly that rag stuffed in his back pocket becomes oh, such a turn on. You start thinking of lines such as “I’ll wipe up your spill,” or “PBR? More like you and me….ON the bar.” It’s not cute. Especially not to the completely sober bartender.
2. They could be ugly.
Like I mentioned earlier—you’ve been drinking. Drunk goggles are not only limited to other customers. Next thing you know, that Scarlett Johansson-esque barmaid you’ve been eying all night turns out to be not so much “Scar-Jo” as she is scarred.
3. They hear it all the time.
Many bartenders such as myself get bombarded with cheesy pick-up lines and overly gratuitous tips coupled with phone numbers on the daily. It’s not new to them. Just because you are drunk and it’s their job to talk to you doesn’t mean they want to meet up and roll a fat one sometime with you.
4. They just want your money.
Bartenders work for tips. That is their livelihood. If that means making some flirtatious small talk with a customer whose tab is being held with a platinum American Express, then so be it. If during your conversation with the bartender their responses are “Mmhm…” “Wowww really?!” or “Oh, yeah?” more likely than not, they are just flirting with you for a tip. Also if they laugh a lot, that is a red flag. Trust me, unless you are mid-2000s Dane Cook, your drunken joke about a rabbi, a priest, and a cowboy or whatever isn’t funny.
5. You will overtip.
This is not always a bad thing, but if you are on a budget you can’t afford to be hitting on the bartender. At the end of an ethereal night of eyelash-batting and boozed-up flirting with the cute guy behind the bar, it’s tempting to leave a nice big 30%-50% tip. For some reason drunk people think that this is a surefire way to seal the deal. Once they take your cash or close out your tab, no matter how smooth your moves were or how great you thought the night was going, they’re not going to give you their number….they’re going to stop talking to you, and you’re going to leave the bar sad and $150 lighter.
6. They get off at 2AM.
Really, dude? What do you think is going to happen? Do you honestly think that after an eight-hour shift on her feet slinging brews to the likes of you, she is really going to want to swing by and check out your crib? The answer to that is no. Even if by some chance you make plans, the bartender will almost always cancel. It’s a tiring job. Besides, let’s be honest, by 2-2:30AM, you’re in your bed eating pretzels and queso and dozing in and out of Family Guy reruns on Netflix. Maybe next weekend, champ.
7. They’re probably dating the other bartender.
I know at least five couples, including my boyfriend and I, who met while bartending at the same restaurant. There’s something about finagling around each other to make drinks in a small space and being the only two sober people in the bar until the wee hours of the morning that brings people together. In this type of instance, hitting on the bartender could have worse implications than simple rejection. Bartending couples learn to live with listening to their S.O. flirt shamelessly. But as a customer, if you get a little too persistent or hands-on, you could find yourself kicked out real quick. Remember, the bartenders are sober and have the power.
8. You might want to revisit that bar sometime.
Sure, $1 Jell-O-shot Thursdays at your local spot may be your weekly go-to, but confessing your love for hot guy serving them is a quick way to ruin that. Nine times out of 10, the bartender will just pretend it didn’t happen, but you will always know that it did.
9. They work weekends.
If by some miracle you do get their number, and/or genuine interest, it is going to be hard to actually make plans. You are free on the weekends, but they are only free during the week…and on and on. Getting involved with a bartender makes for a relationship full of scheduling snafus and heartbreak.
10. They aren’t interested in you.
Just as teachers do not get involved with students (most of the time, anyway), bartenders don’t like getting romantically involved with customers. Bartenders exist to serve you drinks, take your money, and occasionally engage in conversation. Bartenders will play along when you start to flirt because they do not want to shut you down and jeopardize their tip. You can try all you want. You can leave them big tips, compliment them, or try to buy them a shot. I’ve seen it all. All that’s going to happen is they will take a fake shot of iced tea, add $7 to your bill, and you will still leave alone.
So there you have it. I hope this article will save some you the degradation and embarrassment that often comes with mixing drinks and a hot bartender. Don’t hit on the bartenders, folks. It never turns out well.