I have next Saturday off from the bar, and I’m kinda glad. I think I need a break for a few days from bar patrons.
Really and truly, I love bartending. Its fast-paced and I enjoy it. More than that, I think I’m pretty good at it. And I enjoy most of the people I interact with at the bar. I’ve met many delightful souls from, literally, around the world that I feel I’m a richer person for having met… however briefly.
Then you have the people you want to smack, the people who take all the joy and goodness out of the job.
So, let me throw out some suggestions on how NOT to be in that last group for a bartender.
1. Don’t just shout your order out when you see a bartender in the area. Wait until we acknowledge you. Why? Because chances are we already have one to three orders in our head that we’re trying to make happen. And those orders can be complicated. I mean, would you like to be trying to remember a margarita no salt, Titos and soda with lemon, Crown and ginger, Jack and diet tall, three shots of Fireball, a Miller Light, Bud Light and two Coors Lights only to have someone shout, “HEY CAN I GET FIVE MILLER LIGHTS!?” Do you know how that messes up our heads!? Do you know how that realllllly pisses us off and puts you at the bottom of our lists of people to serve. DON’T DO IT.
2. By the way, no bartenders’ name is “Hey.” And if it is by some weird chance their name, that bartender is probably in the process of filing the paperwork to have it changed.
3. This one is super simple. OKay? Put your chair back in its place when you leave. No really! Just put it back. Or push the barstool back up to the bar. It’s SO SIMPLE and yet it can seriously make a difference in our moods. I literally kicked two chairs last night after someone left them pulled out and askew right after I’d just finally got the table back in place. Three seconds to push the chairs back in and I wouldn’t have been cursing humanity. At least for a second.
4. If you spill a drink or drop a bottle or glass on the floor and it breaks, just come tell us! We aren’t going to judge you for it. (Or, okay, we might for two seconds. lol) But if its busy, we might not know it happened and next thing we know (worst case scenario) we are dealing with a woman in open toe shoes bleeding because of a broken glass on the floor. I am dead serious when I say that we will thank you for telling us.
5. Don’t bring in your own liquor. I know we’re all trying to save money, but that’s just being rude to the establishment. (Not to mention could get the bar in trouble with the liquor board.) You don’t bring McDonald’s in to Chilis. Don’t bring in airplane bottles of liquor to a bar.
6. All bars and restaurants have their own policies on breaks, etc. But for me, when I work a Saturday night, I rarely –VERY RARELY — even take a pee break. Yup. I will go from 7:30 pm until after 3 am without a pee break. (Thank the college years for my having an iron bladder. I’ll probably pay for this down the road.) So when I take five minutes to eat a small bag of chips because I am literally getting light headed because I am so hungry, please don’t stare at me with disdain and then be rude to me because you have to wait a moment for a beer. I’ll be there as fast as I can, but I NEED to eat. I’m only human. Try to understand. Please.
7. Don’t order one drink at a time and expect me to run back and forth over and over again. One, its going to take over twice as long to get your order. Second, you’re just pissing me off. Order it all at once and lets get this done. Remember that first gripe? Every time I run to get a drink I have six other people going, “HEY CAN I GET…!??” and the longer it takes for me to move on… all THOSE people are getting pissed at ME, which just pisses me off at you even MORE. Be a courteous patron and trust me to handle your whole order at once.
8. When a bartender asks you, “What name is your tab under?” DON’T go, “Joe.” or “Dave.” or “Jenny.” Your LAST NAME is what its under. Do you know how many Brians, Steves, Joes, Daves, Jennys and Ashleys are in this bar!? Really? Don’t make us ask your last name. Just tell us.
9. Don’t go drink like a fish elsewhere, leave “fine,” then go to another bar. One, we inadvertently “over serve” you with one beer, because we don’t know you’ve just had half a bottle of Jack ten minutes ago. Two, we end up having to clean up your puke. And nothing pisses off a bartender like puke. Well, except maybe if you have an accident going home and we get in trouble for being the last person to serve you and have to pay some huge fine or lose our license over ONE stinkin’ beer. Then we’re REALLY pissed off on top of being broke.
10. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!” Does not mean to hang out another hour. It means finish your drink and get out. And when I come take your beer and say, “We’re done! Gotta take ’em up!” its not because I am being mean, its because BY LAW I have to do it and you were given plenty of notice that we were closing up. Look… when your work day ends you want to go home, right? Well, when we close, we want to go home, too. And keep in mind, when we “close” we’re still there at least another hour cleaning and counting money, etc. But the longer you “hang out” the later it is for us to be able to do parts of our closing duties. Please, please, please just pack it up and GO HOME.
11. Don’t tell us to smile. Don’t tell us to wake-up. Don’t tell a really obvious joke that you think is brilliant, because we’ve PROBABLY heard it a million times already. We’re trying to be on our game, but chances are we’ve dealt with people breaking the last 10 tips that we’re now hating humanity but are trying not to take it out on anyone else. Smile at us. Talk nicely. Maybe sincerely ask how we are. Perhaps a nice compliment like, “Hey, thanks for being here to take care of us tonight!” And guess what… you’ll get that smile naturally. And we’ll be reminded of those souls we genuinely love to meet… and you’ll be in THAT list.
12. TIP. Tip your bartender! (Duh.) I always say bartenders clearly and consistently remember two types of people. Good tippers and jerks. DON’T be in that last group.
So there you go… a few tips to not being that person who leaves me (and other bartenders) in a bad mood on a Saturday night.