From behind the bar

195: Glasses lined upI’m a bartender. In case you didn’t know that, you do now. I’m sitting here with my feet up, bracing for a busy Halloween Party night behind the bar.

So before any adults go on their version of trick-or-treating (bar hopping) let me help you get on the bartender’s good side.

– Let’s just get this out of the way. TIP. We’re there to make a living. Don’t assume we’re making a big base pay. In a lot of cases, we’re not. And, frankly, if you think about it. When you make an order, we are working for you for those few minutes while we get your drink.  No tip or super low tip (I’ve gotten $2 on a $50 tab before. That’s 4%. Ouch.) can result in you getting less service than the people who DO tip. Think about your own job. Are you going to continue to work for someone who doesn’t pay you? No? Then don’t expect your bartender to be too excited to serve someone who doesn’t tip.

– Have your money ready when you order. ESPECIALLY when its super busy, like it will be at any Halloween festivity. In fact, I’m more apt to come take your order if I see the money or your wallet in your hand ahead of time. (You don’t have to wave it around for us to see it, either.) It generally means you know what you want, and you’re ready to make the order and go back to having fun. As a bartender, I appreciate you a lot. You’re helping me get your order and get to another one quickly.

– Know what you want. Few things are as frustrating to a bartender than going up to someone, asking what they want, and then that person turning around and asking their friends what they want. Or worse saying, “Stay there, let me see what they want.” and then wandering off.

– This isn’t, “Let’s make a deal.” This isn’t some shopping district in Turkey. I’m not here to haggle with you over what your order costs. I’m not here to give away from drinks. If you can’t afford to buy the drinks you want, don’t order those drinks. (This goes for Bachelorette parties, too. Don’t order six Lemon Drops and look shocked when I charge you for six Lemon Drops. If you want free drinks, go ask the lonely guy at the end of the bar, not the bartender.)

– You might be here to get a date, but I am not. K? Thanks. (Although, I have to admit, I get a kick out of the question, “So when do you get out of here?” Especially when I’m feeling spunky and I respond with something like “4 AM, then I’m going home to soak my feet and snuggle with my husband.” I’m so mean…)

– Here is my #1 peeve. NUMBER ONE. Don’t order drinks, then ignore me to finish your conversation when I come back with them. Take the drinks and THEN continue visiting. You’re being rude not only to me, but to the twenty other people waiting to make a drink order.

– Keep a head’s up to the bar “policies.” Some bars have waitresses like a restaurant would. Some bars are where you only order your drinks at the bar. Where I work, we bartend AND basically waitress at the same time. Which means, when it gets three deep at the bar, we won’t be out to take orders on the floor. We want to take good care of you… sometimes, though, we need you to meet us half-way. (A great example: I had a table last Saturday that I was taking care of from the time we opened. It got super busy, and I couldn’t get over to check if they needed another round. They came up to the bar, asked for another round and then sat down. I was SO thankful! I could make the order, run it out to them and then come back. I just couldn’t get away to take the order in the first place. They met me half-way. I wanted to hug them.)

– If you’re going to pay with a credit card, just open a tab. I don’t care what the bar’s policies are, running a credit card every single transaction slows us down terribly. And, hey, it probably saves you money in the long run if you tip each transaction. Instead of a $1 or $2 every transaction, you can do $3 or $4 for the equivalent of five or six orders. If you tip $2 five times, its $10. Or you can do $4 one time. You don’t get on my nerves and you save money. Its win/win!

I’m sure I’ll make other posts like this in the future, as I am already thinking of things I left out, but these are some of the big things. If you want to get into the head of a bartender, follow @Bartenders_Hate and/or @BartenderRants on Twitter. I usually end up giggling at them, because they’re brutally honest. I might not always agree 100% with them, but I always chuckle.

Be safe out there if you are indeed out drinking! Don’t drink and drive.  Don’t be too proud to ask someone for a ride or to take a cab.  Here is a list of Sober Rides home across the country, thanks to AAA. Your life and everyone else’s lives out on the road are worth more than the cost of that cab.

One thought on “From behind the bar”

  1. Good advice. A lot of this can be said for a lot of businesses. Just plain common sense is what we need more of these days.

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