If you’re hungry, make sure you eat. Olives and cherries are not kept behind the bar for sustenance.
Yes, I have thrown people out, called the cops, cleaned up vomit, and dreaded working behind the bar. I decided to explain some of these, because chance are if you have ever bartended, these are the people you have met and have cleaned up after.
- You forgot your id
Here is the biggest problem with you walking into a bar without an id; if a bartender is caught serving you and it turns out you are not 21, they can get fired, fined, and go to jail. The establishment also faces fines and can lose their liquor license. A business that caters to a 21+ crowd reserves the right to remove you from the premises, so don’t fight with the bouncer because you went to a bar without an id. If you have your id and you are asked to remove it from your wallet (which you should) it is because they are checking to make sure you aren’t trying to use a fake – don’t show them, don’t get served.
- Why do you have to hold my card?
This varies from establishment. I’ve noticed this as more common among places that get most of their revenue from alcohol sales. They don’t want you to skip out on the bill or forget to pay when your Uber shows up and you have to run.
- I want the best or the cheapest
Sure, but it will cost you or you may be better off drinking at home. Don’t ask for a surprise drink or something expensive if you are going to complain about the price. There is nothing wrong with drinking on a budget, but be smart about it. Let’s say you order a shot of Bulleit for $8 (standard size is one ounce), but you notice a martini that is ten ounces for $20. Looks like you can keep ordering shots or get a deal on that bourbon. Of course, this doesn’t stop people from complaining about a $20 martini (do the math).
Side note: Bartenders cringe when they hear, “happy hour“, “what’s your cheapest”, “I only drink premium” – these are most often people who don’t tip well. Awesome bartenders will be awesome regardless, but these stereotypes exist for a reason.
- What do you like?
This is a common question and I usually just turn it around. What I like is bourbon, what you like might not be. Tell the bartender what you like, and they can narrow down the drinks for you.
I can walk into a bar and ask for anything my heart desires. That doesn’t mean the bartender knows what the hell I want. People make up names all the time and what you think is cool and popular might just be a phase or a regional thing. Know what you are drinking and never assume you get free anything on your birthday or any occasion. Most bartenders are happy to celebrate and but you a drink, but they also have a job to do and the bar is not theirs to give.
- I know the owner.
This is my favorite line. I usually smile and let people know, everyone knows the owner. My employer sits in the bar and loves to chat with customers. He also hates freeloaders, who doesn’t? No matter how many times you frequent a bar, you are never entitled to anything nor should you disrespect a bartender because you didn’t get comped on your bill.
I just spilled my drink.
Are you drunk? If you are, you are getting tossed out. If it was an accident, that is up to the bar to give you another, but expect to pay for it. Booze is expensive.
- There goes your tip.
You got cut off and now you are pissed. Remember, you are a liability, so you might want to stop slurring your words and swaying in your seat. You also shouldn’t sleep in the bar or throw up in their bathroom. But, if you want to take it out on someone else that is fine, but don’t be surprised if your reputation follows you to the next bar.
Learn some terms –
neat: your liquor is leaving the bottle straight to your glass, no ice or chilling.
short vs tall: ordering a tall means more mix, not more alcohol. If you want a stronger drink, get a short or ask for a double (this will cost you more, duh).
dirty: If you want a dirty martini, olive juice is added. Asking for it extra dirty means adding more olive juice. I had a customer order a filthy martini, and then returned it because it was too salty (insert smiley face here).
Learn some etiquette –
Don’t wave money around, it will not get you faster service. A busy bar is a busy bar.
Snapping your fingers, whistling, or waving frantically make you look crazy and rude. Please don’t do that to any human being.
Everyone can see you and if you think no one is watching, there are probably cameras [giggle]. Don’t have sex in the bar, ever.
Don’t be a cheap tipper. Minimum wage laws for tipped employees are different, servers can make as little as $2.13 per hour. That will make you think twice about working in the industry.
Treat people with respect. Bartenders should always be respectful and you should reciprocate.