While first dates are always nerve-wracking, a first date with a bartender seems a little less intimidating on the surface — bartenders are professional small-talkers after all. However, a date with a bartender can be full of landmines, so if you want to impress your crush, these are six things you should never say to a bartender on a first date.
1. “What drink should I order?”
Although it may seem like a logical icebreaker and a way to connect with your date, bartenders loathe this question as they have to answer it for indecisive strangers every day. Show us what you like, order a glass of malbec or a bottle of Miller High Life. We may tease you, but we won’t judge you.
2. “I don’t like that you work nights.”
Sometimes, neither do we, but it is what it is. If this relationship progresses, you will have to discuss the realities of opposite schedules. On a first date, however, just enjoy getting to know each other. Just like you’d avoid “ex” talk on a first date, avoid the “schedule” conversation.
3. “I’m such a lightweight.”
You don’t have to be a big drinker to date a bartender. We’d actually much rather date someone who is sober than a total bar rat. But if you do drink, pace yourself on the first date. Bartenders can usually hold their liquor, so if our date is wasted after one glass of wine, it may make us question if they could fit into our lifestyle.
4. “Does this mean I’ll get free drinks?”
If we invite you to visit us at work, we will obviously hook you up with the bottomless wine special, but that shouldn’t be the main selling point of the relationship. The barfly/bartender couple is a problematic dynamic we’ve all seen played out at work and most bartenders don’t want to replicate it.
5. “You must get numbers all the time.”
Put all your bartender assumptions to the side, at least for the duration of the first date. First off, this idea is outdated, because in the days of app dating, people rarely leave numbers anymore. Second, what is likely meant to be a flirty joke reads to us a little as insecurity.
6. “Are you an actor?”
Most bartenders do have other jobs and aspirations beyond mixing drinks. But it is a pet peeve when strangers just assume we’re waiting for our big break. Rephrase this question by asking about our lives outside of work. Some of us are actors as well as performance artists, students, teachers, musicians, and even restauranteurs in the making.