Photo: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

10 Ways to Piss Off Your Bartender

Restaurants + Bars
by Milda Ratkelyte Apr 16, 2014
1. Reach out across the bar and scream your order.

The fact that you’re physically separated by a bar should be an indication that’s how it’s meant to be. A good bartender knows how to tune out the noise and read your lips.

2. Snap your fingers.

If a bartender makes eye contact, she recognizes that you’re waiting and will be with you shortly. If you go snapping your fingers, prepare to be ignored for as long as possible, and don’t expect your drink to be made with love. Rather, it may be watered down with a dash of hate.

3. Tear apart coasters, napkins, straws.

No bartender wants to pick up the mess you’ve made with your constructions of chewed-up straws and napkins and chewing gum.

4. Interrupt when we’re speaking to another customer.

If a bartender is talking to another customer, especially if he’s explaining something, be patient and keep your comments to yourself. Just like in real-life situations outside the bar, it’s rude to interrupt people when they’re speaking.

5. Ask for a happy hour when there’s no happy hour.

Some bars have happy-hour drinks and some don’t. Some have 1-for-1s and some don’t. So just because you had an amazing deal at a bar just down the street doesn’t mean we’ll be able to offer you the same. There are also set prices on drinks, so the query, “What’s the best deal you can offer me on a bottle of vodka?” just won’t cut it. Telling a bartender you deserve cheaper/free booze just makes you look like an asshole.

6. Alter your drink and then send it back.

Fair enough if you don’t want the celery in your Bloody Mary, but don’t alter your drink until it’s no longer recognizable. There’s a reason why each bar has a set of cocktails created by mixologists; they’re the people who know their stuff. If you do decide to go down this route, and you truly believe you’re an expert, you not liking the drink is your own fault, so keep your opinion to yourself.

7. Overstay your welcome.

If you’re drinking and spending money, stay as long as you like. We’ll make sure you have the best time! But if you’re here to catch up on your emails (clear indication: asking for the wifi password before even ordering anything) or read a book for hours over ONE glass of house wine, please don’t. Unless there’s no one else in the bar, be mindful that those around you are willing to spend money.

8. Don’t tip.

Chances are, if you can afford a pint of beer, you can afford a small tip to go with it, especially if the service was good. Keep in mind that the hourly rate in the service industry is often well below regular minimum wage. Tips are how bartenders make their money.

9. Treat the bartender like a psychologist.

We love chitchatting and meeting new people! But we’re not here to help you hash out your latest crisis; there’s a point at which we really stop caring. Remember, no matter how fun it looks, bartending is a job — not a hobby. It’s also stressful and fast-paced. Don’t be a needy customer who expects your bartender to be giving life advice when there are 50 other humans shouting out their drink orders.

10. Order and dash.

There’s nothing more infuriating than having someone order and dash while the drink-making is in progress. It’s fine if you’ve paid — it’s your own fault you’ve forgotten about it. But if you didn’t, it’ll be the bartender who’ll have to pay. And your drink will be costing us at least an hour of work, if not more.

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