When you work in the service industry, your primary job is to put the needs of others before your own. Yet, we are all human, and there are moments when it is really hard to remember that. There are so many things we bartenders would love to say but we manage to hold our tongue. When we’re not on the clock, however, we don’t mind sharing. Here are 10 things bartenders would love to tell you.
1. “If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.”
There are regulars who love to complain about either the drink list or the menu, but they keep coming back. Unless you live in a one-horse town, there are other bars. If you don’t like what we serve, try the bar down the street. Or better yet, save your complaints for when they’re warranted.
2. “No, it’s not okay to taste every wine by the glass before ordering.”
Not sure if you’ll like our pinot noir? Sure, have a taste — that’s no problem. Asking to taste every wine by the glass, however, is just bad form. Unless you’re at a high-end wine bar, wines by the glass aren’t intended to blow your socks off. Ask the bartender for a recommendation and if you don’t care for it, have a cocktail or something else.
3. “No, that is straight up wrong.”
On occasion, we will hear a bar patron explaining something on the bar menu to another patron. But their description of the item is totally off base. For example, “Sancerre is a sweet wine.” Or, “You should have a Vesper, it’s a light drink.” As a bartender, you never want to correct a guest directly; let’s be honest, people never like being wrong. This is where our communication skills and finesse come into play. We may say something along the lines of, “Yes, Sancerre can be sweet, but ours is on the dry side.” The customer is always right.
4. “Really? You, again?”
There are some barflies whom we see more than our own families. Having regulars is great, but there are some nights when we just don’t have the energy to shoot the breeze with the same bar friends for the fourth night in a row. Please give those livers a night off.
5. “You’re his third date here this week.”
We wish the serial daters would spread out their first-date spots. While we love to be your bizarro wingman on occasion, we don’t want to watch you go on the same date over and over. Try the bowling alley for the next one.
6. “They’re married.”
Hot tip for the married — don’t bring your spouse and your side piece to the same bar. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it happens. Don’t blame us if we accidentally call your date by your spouse’s name.
7. “No, I can’t make an espresso martini. Why? I just don’t feel like it.”
In every job, there are annoying tasks that nobody ever feels like doing. For bartenders, it’s cocktails like the espresso martini. Any drink that requires a trip to the fridge and the espresso machine is time-consuming and can disrupt a bartender’s flow. It’s not a big deal, but we all sweat the small stuff sometimes.
8. “Can you wait a minute? Because I really need to pee.”
At least 50 percent of the time, when a bartender seems cranky, it’s because they really need to use the bathroom. Unlike an office job, bartenders can’t run to the restroom whenever they need. We try to wait for a break in the action but, sometimes, the guests keep filing in, the drink tickets keep coming, and we never get that break.
9. “It’s not my job to charge your cell phone.”
We know it’s 2018 and we have to accept this as a part of the modern world, but you have no idea how much time we spend ferrying phones between guest and wall socket. Just charge your phones at home, or at least say “thanks” for the free electricity.
10. “We’re closing early.”
The bartender doesn’t have the authority to make this decision. But on those dead nights, when you haven’t had a customer in an hour and a couple walks in 20 minutes before closing time, we’d love to say this.