Have you ever wondered why your bartender hasn’t refilled your half-full water glass yet? Or why they seem to be polishing and re-polishing the same liquor bottles? Or why they’re hunched in the corner of the bar looking up “drink recipes” on their phone? They might be politely ignoring you and here’s why.
1. They’re busy.
Nine times out of 10, if a bartender is ignoring you, it’s because they’re doing something else. Even if the bar doesn’t seem that busy, bartenders are responsible for a long list of prep work and side work. Typically, if you come either very early or very late, we’re often scrambling to make sure everything is prepared, restocked, or cleaned for the night.
2. You’re nice but real chatty.
There are some regulars who are truly nice, energetic, genuine people, like little rays of sunshine piercing through the dark, dark bar. The problem is that people like this require a lot of energy. When we’re in a good mood, there’s nothing better than chatting the night away with a bubbly regular. But, bartenders are humans too and sometimes we get tired, cranky, and sick, and just want to draw the blinds and keep the sunshine people out.
3. You’re nice but a little creepy.
There’s a border between nice and creepy and once we see you heading toward it, we will back away slowly like you’re a bear in the woods.
4. You’re the person who stares at the bartender like you need our attention, but then you never do.
Maybe you’re just zoning out, or maybe you enjoy staring into the middle space, but either way, it’s unsettling. It’s 2018, do what everyone else does and pretend to look at your phone. Surely, you have texts to not answer or news articles to skim. At the very least, stare at your drink. You can’t make your beer feel uncomfortable.
5. You’re asking way too many personal questions.
We’ll share details from our personal life with patrons in our own time — this is not a first date or a job interview, you’re in our house. When a guest sits at the bar for the first time and tries to connect with us by asking “what’s your story?,” “tell me about your dreams,” or “what do you really do?,” it feels invasive. We appreciate that the intent is to treat us like people and not server monkeys, but nothing turns us off more than forced intimacy.
6. You and your partner are fighting/crying/displaying extreme emotion in a public place.
We’re not touching this situation with a 10-foot pole. No one wants to get pulled into a break-up or break-down, so we’ll give you a wide berth. But if you do end up getting dumped at the bar, we might sneak you a shot to ease the blow.
7. You’re the person who sits with a menu for 45 minutes before ordering anything.
We understand that sometimes people get caught up and need extra time. But if we check on you three or four times and you still don’t know what you want, yes, we’re going to ignore you until you make it very clear that you’re ready.
8. They’re lazy.
Some bartenders are just lazy. Bartending is more than just making drinks. It’s about engaging guests and curating the vibe, but some bartenders don’t really care. The job is a paycheck and for them, that’s enough.