If you know the bartender, don’t be a dick and expect to be served first and get free drinks, etc. If you’re a real mate and don’t pressure me I’ll give you all the shit I can get away with if you ask I’ll say no (probably because I have to because asking outright is just a dumb way to get caught anyway).
When you insist on having a mocktail/virgin/non-alcohol version of something like a caipirinha, mojito, Long Island and then complain it does not taste like the real thing.
The worst thing people can do is vaguely try to describe a drink they want, with no knowledge of what the ingredients are, and get upset when you don’t know it/can’t make it. I had a very irate lady send two drinks back as we played “Guess what I drank once?”
Don’t haggle. Seriously, I don’t own the bar and I’m not in any position to give you discounts without taking it from my tips.
“I want two vodka sodas and we are gonna split it on two cards, run the cards because I don’t wanna forget the cards, and charge my phone for me because the other bartender did it last time for me and I come here ALL the time how do you not know me, are you new? Ugh. It’s my friend’s birthday, can we have some strong but sweet, cheap shots for her? Wait, I have to PAY for them?! This place has changed.”
“I’ll have a Bud light.”
“Sorry, but we’re a brewery. We only serve our own beer.”
“Oh, okay. I guess a regular Bud is fine, then.”
Me: “Hi, what would you like?” Customer: “You.”
When you expect me to be in on you hitting on that girl. We are not a team. You creep me out—imagine how she feels.
Snap your fingers at me, yeah…you’re not getting that drink anytime soon.
I’ve had to deal with someone who shit on the floor when the power went out. Don’t know why their first move when it got dark was to stand up while shitting. Also some girl shit in the tampon box on new years. Kind of impressive but yeah, don’t do that.
Getting too drunk. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a bartender, I love drinking, getting drunk, and getting other people drunk. But recognize your limits; having to deal with drunk adults is tantamount to dealing with children, and if you could only see yourselves, it’s not pretty.
Set up shop at the glass collection point. Dude, I’ve like squeezed past you 5 times in the last minute with arms full of glasses, fucking move.
Ladies, your never-comes-off lipstick looks fantastic. It never comes off my glassware, either.
Don’t fucking eat out of the fucking fruit tray. That fruit is meant for drinks, not for your grubby fingers.
Good for you, you know my name, please stop yelling it out from across the bar as I am serving other guests!! This includes my best friends—my hugest pet peeve!
I have been bartending for many years and have noticed some social phenomena:
1) When someone sits at the bar and immediately introduces themselves and reaches to shake my hand, I know that they are going to be trouble. These people tend to think that by introducing themselves to the bartender that they are on a first-name basis and they are therefore exempt from getting into trouble. This is most often observed in patrons who have been drinking too much before they even got to the bar. If you want to get to know the bartender, then you have to put in your time and earn their trust and respect. We are used to dealing with lowlifes and derelicts, so you need to prove that you are someone who is genuinely interested in building a bartender-patron relationship.
2) “I don’t know what I want. Make me something good. You decide.” These are the things that I dread hearing.
I don’t mind being creative and coming up with a drink for you, but you have to point me in the right direction: “Give me something good with GIN in it.” All right, now we’re talking! “I don’t know what I want, but maybe I will start with a light beer.” Okay, good. I guess the point is that you need to have your shit together. You were not magically teleported to the bar; have an idea of what you want to drink before you get the bartender’s attention.
3) “We’ll have six shots on his tab/her tab.” Oh, really? Six shots on that guy’s tab, eh? I’ve fallen for that one before. Being a bartender means that you learn all about the dark side of humanity. The desperate senseless pettiness and ignorance of the depraved and the pathetic. I will believe that she/he is going to buy you six shots as soon as they tell me so. I am not taking your word for it.
Anyways, I just wanted to get that off of my chest. I make really good money as a bartender and I usually have a fun time at work, but a bar is not the happy joyful place that people make it out to be. People always ask me: “What is the coolest thing that you have seen happen in this bar?” I usually tell them that I have seen far more sad, lonely, mean and unseemly people than anything else. The good times happen, but alcohol is a depressant. All in all, bartenders have a job that involves human intervention in very awkward and dark way that overshadows the goodness. So be kind to your bartender; they put up with a lot of depressing shit so that you can have a good time.
If you order 13 drinks, I’ve got to pour you 13 drinks. I’m only human. Screaming “Where’s my order already?” doesn’t increase productivity.
What’s even worse is if you order 3 Jagerbombs, 2 double vodkas and Coke, one single vodka and Coke, one single vodka and lemonade, three pints, a gin and tonic, a lime and soda and a packet of nuts then, lo and behold, I have to get you 3 Jagerbombs, 2 double vodkas and Coke, one single vodka and Coke, one single vodka and lemonade, three pints, a gin and tonic, a lime and soda and a packet of nuts.
I might have some unworked-out feelings about drunk people.
Never…ever….ever…..brag to the bartender about how much you have drank tonight. Now we have to shut you off. Then our tips dive because it’s a buzzkill for everyone around you. Also, your buddies leave, so that’s an additional 100 in sales out the door. I wish you hadn’t told me how much you are drinking because I honestly don’t care and you are even being responsible and walking home but that doesn’t matter because you don’t ever ever ever tell the bartender how much you have had to drink. We WILL HAVE TO shut you off, unless the bar is a super dive with some sort of impunity to the Liquor Commission. Number one rule. DON’T tell me how much you have had to drink. Don’t do it.
When I’m facing the other way or in the glass wash area and people are tapping coins on the bar to get my attention. Or sometimes if they feel that they have a very important thing to ask me, they’ll shake the charity bucket full of coins and slam it down.
When people put their money—either coins or notes—in the puddle of beer on the bar, even though I have my hand held out to them. I always make sure to put their change back in the puddle even if they hold their hand out, too.
When people don’t want their drink in that certain drink’s branded glass. “I’m not drinking out a vase like some fucking puff” is usually the line when I begin pouring a Stella. How insecure are you, really?
I’ve been a bartender for 10 years. I’ll sum it up with: being stuck behind the bar for hours at a time with no escape from gut-wrenchingly horrid conversation with people who think you are their friend.
Also the slow days suck when you the only male employee and a fight breaks out and you have to deal with it, better known as every Tuesday.
I’m a bartender in Italy, Florence, so I meet A LOT of people from the States. So maybe I can relate to many of you.
• Don’t ask a straw for a beer and be surprised if I make a weird face.
• Don’t ask for discount if I never saw you before, I’ll give you discounts more than likely if you are a good customer (you drank multiple times, you are nice, you are funny, you entertain the other customers) or come regularly.
• Don’t act like we are best friends the first time you meet me so that you can get extra discounts.
• Don’t teach me how to do my job. BUT if you nicely ask me to do something different, OR if you think I’m doing something wrong I’ll be happy to make the customer happy; just don’t act like you know better. I am very friendly so if you think I can do something better and you say it nicely I’ll probably agree with you.
• Don’t tell me you are a bartender if you did that in college at friends’ parties.
• Don’t tell me the drink is “too light” bringing me back an empty glass and act like a dick. Just tell me right away and I’ll add some extra alcohol no problem.
• Don’t bring your mother to a night full of people in their 20s. She’ll get drunk and dance on the counter EVERY FUCKING TIME. I’m not strong enough to hold her ass so she won’t fall and destroy the whole bar.
• If you are in the band who just played, don’t act like I owe you and I have to make you a drink without being asked nicely.
• Say “thank you.”
• Sweet eyes don’t work on me for a discount. Just act normal; you don’t need to be pretty to get a discount from me, talk to me like a human being, be polite; and I’ll give you some shots for free; that’s our policy. We treat good customers good.
• Don’t touch anything in the fruit tray FFS.
• DON’T BRING YOUR OWN ALCOHOL EVER. That’s considered very rude and disrespectful. If you reeeaaally need to, hide it and drink it before or after getting in my bar.
Okay, this is transcribed directly from my wife, a bartender of 15 years who has worked in about 15 different bars, clubs, and restaurants:
“I’m totally gonna sound like a bitch when I say this stuff. God, okay…
• Splitting up your tab when you can’t remember exactly who had what, but you don’t want to just split it evenly. I immediately hate you if you do this when I’m very busy.
• Ordering one drink at a time so that each time your server comes back with the drink you just ordered, you have a new drink order for someone else in your group. Try to synchronize your drinking cycles.
• Getting up to the bar before you know exactly what you want, and there’s 50 people waiting behind you, and you’re acting like you’re at Burger King at 2AM: “Uhhmmm…let’s see…hmm…I think I might want…okay, what’s in a…Buttery Nipple? Really? Ew, no thanks! Well hang on, okay, ‘Hey Tiffany, what do you want? Okay what about you Becky?’ Okay, so she wants a Vegas Bomb, wants—AAHH!!! MY EYES! YOU STABBED ME! MY EYES, THEY’RE GONE!! YOU TOOK MY EYES!!”
• People not knowing their own limits as far as how much they can drink. That’s rookie shit; don’t do it.
• Ordering fancy frozen drinks at a crowded club.
• Telling me that I didn’t make your obscure drink order just like the last bartender did at that other bar—that’s like asking a chef at one restaurant to make your dish just like they do at another restaurant—drink recipes are not always absolute, and they’re often open to interpretation, just like cooking. The basic idea might be the same, but the specifics of many drinks can vary from one bar to another, which brings me to my next one:
• Telling me that you want a drink with a name that another bartender at a different place just made up. If I’m not ridiculously busy, I am happy to let you tell me what’s in the drink, but don’t yell at me for not knowing what a Mexican Cheeto Fucker is if it’s not in any drink recipe books. There are about ten thousand drink recipes that I need to be able to mentally pull up in seconds, hundreds of times a night, but I’m not so great at telepathy or ESP.
• Snapping to get my attention, or yelling at me. I promise we see you, and we know you’re there, but we have our own mental order of who is first (sometimes according to how much you’ve been tipping me, sorry. That’s why tips get you faster service, it’s just how things work if you didn’t already know this),
• Not tipping after I give you three chances. By your 4th drink, you’re not going to be served by anyone at my bar, because guess what? We don’t work for free, just like you don’t work for free even if your boss is making money off of you. We aren’t so much concerned about how much profit the owner is going to make off of you; if you’re not tipping, you will eventually start getting ignored. That’s why it’s always a good idea to give your bartender a decent tip on your first drink—we’ll take good care of you for the rest of the night with stronger drinks and faster service. Tipping is not just a courtesy or a way to say thank you; with your bartender, it can actually get you better service preemptively. I really don’t care how you feel about tipping or your own personal tipping philosophy, or the reasons why you don’t do it. Change the laws and the culture someday through a petition, a protest, hell, make it a fucking Constitutional Amendment someday, fine, but if you want good service, say…tonight? Like, right now? Then tip your bartender.
That’s it, okay read it back. God, I do sound like a bitch…Sorry!”
Snap fingers. Whistle for attention. Grab my arm or any part of me. Say how much better you are than me. Insult my staff. Piss on the seat. Smoke inside (even though it’s illegal for over 10 years). Take drinks that are not yours. Ask for free stuff. If you’re cut off please accept it and don’t try to fight anyone. Dirty underwear, leave dirty tampons in the ladies.
• ordering one drink at a time when you are in a group and I am a sentient competent being capable or remembering strings of information.
• not having cash or credit ready when ordering. Yes I am busy, yes you could have been digging through your purse or wallet long before I came back with your drink.
• Making jokes about: not wanting to pay, taking percentages of my tip away for making mistakes, etc. etc. etc. These are dad jokes, and dads can suck it for making jokes like this—do not be that guy.
• Ordering crazy shit, then being offended when I do not know how to make it: How the heck would I know how to make your cousin Tony’s secret shot from his bar in Philly?
• Saying you cannot taste the booze: You are drunk, have smoked far too many cigarettes this evening, and you just insulted my work. Pro-tip: If you want extra booze in your drinks leave a good tip and that is how it gets done.
• Bringing children. State law says it is okay to have kids in the bar with you until 10pm where I live. But seriously, WTF. I can understand once they are like 15, 16, 17 year-old children who have probably seen and heard mommy and daddy things. But it’s trashy to bring your three-year-old into a saloon. Furthermore, if you think the retired regulars who drunkenly sit at my rail and cuss everyday are going to change because you just brought your kid you are definitely mistaken.
• Shaking a glass of ice at me. It’s only happened to me once, but it made a fire burn deep inside me. Totally disrespectful and douchey thing to do.
• Also, reaching behind the bar for any reason. Umm… NO! That shit’s my office…my personal sanitary work space…keep your drunk, nose-picking ass-scratching fingers away.
• Asking for “the hook-up.” If you have to ask it’s not gonna happen! If you want strong drinks, or maybe one on the house, you can do a few things: 1. Come and come often. 2. Be respectful of your bartender and fellow patrons. 3. Come at times other than peak hours. This helps you get recognized when there are 15 other people vying for my attention.
• Reminding me about your drink order. I remember. If I don’t, I’ll ask. I may have a list several beers, shots, and/or cocktails long in my head that I have to make before yours, and you shouting “My Jack and Coke?” at me doesn’t help.
• Being an asshole when you get refused service. By the time it gets to here the situation really relies on whoever that person came with 9 times out of 10. If you see your friend get refused and he or she gets bitchy about it you need to get them and go somewhere sans alcohol. Don’t try another bartender. We will almost immediately recognize and/or tell each other when someone has been refused service.
• Getting pissed off when we ask for ID. If you come in when there isn’t a bouncer it is my job to ensure that I’m not serving the young’uns. In my state this offense is a $2,000 offense, and several bars make their servers sign contracts saying that if this happens, then the server is liable and legally responsible for the fine. Sorry, bro. Not doing it. Also, some restaurants require their bartenders and servers ID literally everyone. Regardless of whether you’re 15 or 50, dem’s da rules.
• So basically, don’t be an asshole. Just remember that bartenders and servers are people too. This is their job. The customer is not always right, but neither is the server. A lot of servers forget that.
• Saying, “I want a beer.”
• Waving money.
• Whistling to get my attention when I’m busy.
• Not understanding the general flow of service. (Serving customers using the FIFO method.)
• Shouting to get my attention.
• “Can I get a strong single?”—I’ll charge you for a double.
• Order for multiple people and have them all pay individually thereafter using both cash and credit.
• Reaching into the garnish tray.
• Most of all: NOT KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT WHEN I GET TO YOU DURING A RUSH.
You motherfuckers. Here we go. I work in a college bar and therefore see a lot of douchebags.
• Stop slamming your hands or empty glass on my bar, you dick.
• Stop leaning over my bar; it’s not going to get you served faster.
• Do not touch us. Unless we are clearly cool with you it’s not a fun time fur us and it happens often; we are not meat.
• If you can’t afford to tip, then generally you can’t afford to drink at a bar.
• Have your order ready. Do not flag me down and then say, “Hold on, I don’t know what I want.”
• Do not snap your fingers at me. Ever.
• Do not scream your drink order at me the second I’m within ear’s reach. Chances are I’m already serving someone.
• Wait your turn. Unless you are a usual that tips well, expect to see everyone that was there before you served before you. You are not special.
• Know your limits, kids. Ask yourself, “Do I really need another shot?” The answer is usually yes. It’s up to you to know when it isn’t.
• Here is the big one. No string ordering. String ordering for those that don’t know is when a customer orders a drink and also possibly one more for their buddy waits for me to make said drink(s) then when I ask for payment so that I can continue on my way serving the thirsty this ass hat wants to order drinks for the two friends behind him also and then the two friends behind them. Don’t do this. I have a full bar and am trying to serve everyone fairly. You are an ass if you do this.