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8 Things Bartenders Love to Whine About

by Melissa Allen Jul 26, 2018

In the bar world, we certainly have our fair share of venting to do. From customers string ordering to missing bar tools to a queue for muddled cocktails, here are eight things bartenders love to whine about.

1. Crappy garnish

If you’re charging $15 for a cocktail, you can’t garnish it with a slimy lemon or some droopy celery stalk. So, when you get a shipment of bad fruit or it’s the end of the weekend and supplies are running low, it puts bartenders in a pickle. We don’t want to use that mushy orange, but sometimes we have to make due. We try our best to make it work, but we’re going to complain about it all night long.

2. Muddled cocktails

Muddled cocktails are not hard to make. You throw some fruit, maybe a little sugar, into a tin, grind it up for a few seconds, and you’re done. But there’s something about making a muddled cocktail (here’s looking at you, mojito), especially on a busy night, that drives bartenders mad. Go ahead, order four mojitos from your favorite bartender on a busy Saturday night, and watch the annoyance wash over their face.

3. Co-workers

No one else ever sets up or closes the bar as well as we do. Why can’t anyone else restock? Who forgot to make the simple syrup last night? As in most jobs, whining about co-workers is a classic pastime.

4. Any bar guests that arrive near closing on a slow night

While slow shifts sound easier in theory, they can often be a Herculean task of endurance. Standing behind a bar for ten hours with little to do is exhausting. You never get any sense of momentum or flow. So, by the end of the night, you’re running on fumes. When you see those late-night guests walk in just in time for last call, you don’t want to be rude, but the thought of an extra hour of standing around seems unbearable.

5. When our favorite bar tools go missing

Every bartender has that one paring knife they love. Or maybe it’s a muddler that’s just the right length, or a set of tins that fit the hands perfectly. Working at a busy bar means tools will occasionally get lost or misplaced. It’s pretty surprising how upset a person can get at a missing julep strainer.

6. String ordering

When groups or tables order each new drink individually, rather than all at once, it irks the bartender. If we can build multiple cocktails at the same time, we can save time and energy. When I deliver your old-fashioned and your buddy then orders one too, it cuts efficiency down.

7. People coming behind our bar

Bartenders are notoriously territorial. We don’t like people, be it other venue staff or customers, coming behind our bar. It’s not that we’re trying to be rude — the invasion disrupts our flow. If you must, at least ask for permission first, or you’ll never hear the end of it.

8. Working on holidays

It’s not the fact that we’re working on a holiday and the rest of our friends are off work and having fun without us that bothers us. That’s a part of the job that we have accepted. It’s more that the holidays bring in the strangest crowds. Perhaps it’s an energy shift in the air, but everything feels off on holidays and we love to complain about it.

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