Category Archives: bartending

A cynical Sunday post aka don’t piss off the bartender

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.

Shot glasses

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.

326: New bottle opener

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.

 Conservatory Bar

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.

 229: For a potion

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.

329: Bar recipes

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.

119: Daylight Savings Time

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.

Over it!

I am generally an optimistic person. But as I sit here and write this blog, I’m over people in general.

“Over it!” one of my fellow bartenders and I sometimes shouted to each other last night as we dashed by each other, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people. No. Wait. Let me clarify. Sheer volume of IMPATIENT people.

I can handle a busy bar. I actually relish it and enjoy the interaction and the fast pace. Often busy night are nights I feel most “on my game.” Makes the night go by fast as well, and it usually leaves me very happy with my pocketbook at the end of the night.

But what leaves me overwhelmed and hating people for days following a rough night is when people are impatient and rude about it. When they put on blinders and decide THEY are the queen or king of the bar and if you don’t serve them in two seconds you’re a worthless bartender. And that… hurts. Because we’re working as fast as we can, haven’t had a pee break in hours, nor had a second to take a sip of water, generally are sweating like crazy from running ourselves so hard… and still nothing we do will ever be right. I had more than a few moments last night that I wanted to just stop running and have a good cry.

See some of my bar tips for customers from a bartender’s perspective.

I suppose such a thing can happen in any job, and that’s why I TRY to give people I interact with in various scenarios the benefit of the doubt.

Just tonight, my husband got very frustrated when two people at the local McDonalds couldn’t figure out our change correctly, and I finally had to correct them to get the show on the road. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt… they don’t teach how to count back change any more in schools, and even I have my  nights where I need to take a tab to the register to get the amount right that they owe. I told him I blame management as well for not ensuring their employees can think through a transaction versus being just drones that punch buttons on a keypad. (I make similar rants about sackers at grocery stores who put bleach with my fruit.)

But at the end of the day, I have to agree with him that some things are simply being a good employee. Some things are about wanting to work your way up the ladder of success versus just drawing a paycheck. Or in the same breath (and on the flip side) its simply being a good customer and realizing when it’s your turn you’ll be treated like the only customer… but only after you let the other guy get the same treatment.

It goes BOTH ways.

So tonight… having been on both sides of a rough business transaction in the last two days, I’m just done. Done with people. Done with business. Done.

Can someone bring me a shot?