From awkward dates to cheesy bachelor parties, there are certain things bartenders find uniquely funny. We are flies on the wall, spending our nights watching people interact, especially after a drink or two. When you spend your nights dealing with people, you need to find enjoyment wherever you can. So if you see us smirking behind the bar, it’s more than likely an inside joke as here are six things only bartenders find funny.
1. Tinder dates
For you — a night filled with nerves and anxiety. For us, a chance to revel in someone else’s discomfort. For some reason, witnessing a first date brings out the empathy in all of us. Our favorite is when a regular always brings their first dates to our bar. You get to be the friend cheering them on or, at least, the friend slipping them shots. And it’s always interesting to see who has a type because most people do.
2. Family from out of town
When you live in a city of transplants, nothing makes a self-made urbanite more uncomfortable than their yokel roots. The overly chatty mother, the Coors Light drinking dad, the nervous girlfriend trying to make a good impression — these things bring a jaded city bartender true joy. Yes, at times it is frustrating being asked to turn the music down and the lights up or being mocked for not carrying Pinot Grigio, but all in all, it makes us remember our roots.
3. National holidays
Well, it’s more of a Ricky Gervais-style uncomfortable humor than a slapstick laugh, but national holidays bring out the strangest people. It’s all of the people who no one invited to their Labor Day barbecue or Fourth of July clambake, coupled with the young folks too broke to go out of town for long weekends, plus all the service industry types who have to work holidays anyway. This bizarre melting pot gets mixed with booze to create a twilight zone atmosphere at your normal bar. For a bartender, this energy shift feels like that kind of giddy high you get at 2:00 AM at a middle school sleepover.
We appreciate that bar guests don’t always want to drink alcohol but would like something more exciting than a club soda or a diet coke. The funny bit is more about how people request mocktails. There is usually a nervous stammer followed by a sheepish, “What is your favorite mocktail to make?” It’s something in the word “mocktail” that sets us off. A mocktail can be just as much work as a cocktail, but for a third the price, so it also depends on how busy we are. Don’t be embarrassed to order a mocktail, but keep in mind, we may just give you a mint lemonade and call it a day.
5. Unhip drink orders
Cosmos, Rusty Nails, Long Island Iced Teas, pretty much any drink order that hasn’t been cool in over 20 years, if it ever was — these are the drinks that bartenders secretly love making. There is something entertaining about a group of older women requesting Long Islands (“and make ‘em strong”). It breaks up the monotony of mezcal Negronis and rye Old Fashioneds. It feeds a nostalgia for a simpler time of Bay Breezes and Sex on the Beaches, a nostalgia we didn’t even know we had.
6. Bachelor and bachelorette parties
Working in an industry where every night is someone’s birthday or engagement party or anniversary desensitizes a bartender to special events. Bachelor and bachelorette parties, however, are so cringey that you can’t help but be amused. Between penis straws, novelty tees, and scavenger hunts, they are a fascinating social experiment in forced revelry. There’s always the one friend who lives for bachelor parties, another friend who is the most uncomfortable they have ever been, and a bride or groom somewhere in the middle.