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How to Confuse a Bartender

by Melissa Allen Sep 10, 2018

Communicating can be hard, especially in loud, alcohol-soaked environments. Sometimes, bartenders get confused because we don’t understand what a guest wants. Other times, there are just fundamental differences between how we operate in the world. Here are 9 ways to confuse a bartender.

1. Refuse a free round of drinks.

If you’re driving or your group isn’t drinking alcohol, of course, we get it. But, if you have already had a few drinks and a bartender offers an extra round or shots as a gesture of hospitality, we’re perplexed when you decline said offer. Our confusion isn’t out of judgement — we’re mostly in awe of your self-control.

2. Ask us to turn down the music.

What? But you came to a bar to have fun, right?

3. Say “surprise me” when we ask for your drink order.

We don’t know you or your palate. “I’m in the mood for a dark beer, what do you recommend?” — that we can work with. “I like fruity, light cocktails with rum or tequila”– once again, we can help you with that. But “surprise me”? Depending on our mood, you’ll end up with either a Miller High Life or a peach cosmo.

4. Order a martini when it’s standing-room only at the bar.

A martini is best enjoyed when seated, or at least with a bit of elbow-room. When a bar is packed, half of your cocktail is going to end up sloshed on the floor. As bartenders, we would opt for something in a rocks glass or a highball. Or just a bottle of beer.

5. Order a booze-heavy cocktail, like a Long Island Iced Tea, extra strong.

Certain drinks exist to get you drunk fast. There’s no need to accelerate the process even further.

6. Order a complicated cocktail at a dive bar.

Know your surroundings. It’s not that the bartender can’t make you a Corpse Reviver, necessarily, but that bar wasn’t set up for that style of drink. It disrupts the flow of service, and the other customers lining up for beers and shots don’t understand why the bartender is taking so long on one drink.

7. Get upset when we don’t carry light beers.

Similar to above, bars and restaurants have menus. It may sound harsh, but if you don’t like what we carry, you don’t have to come back.

8. Ask to split one round of drinks on five different credit cards.

Venmo, cash, taking turns buying rounds — there are other, faster ways to solve this dilemma.

9. Debate us when we do “last call.”

It’s our bar. We literally call the shots. Book it to the deli and pick up a six-pack because last call means last call. You don’t have to go home, but you know where you can’t stay.

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