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Posts Tagged ‘bartending’

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

November 17th, 2013 1 comment

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…

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.

Categories: bartending Tags: , ,

[Review] CustomOnIt

October 3rd, 2013 No comments

A little over a month ago, I received a comment to this blog asking me as a bartender and a blogger that if I was sent a custom bottle opener would I review it. I gave a resounding yes before I even looked at the company’s website that I’d be working with on this.

Through emails and browsing their site, I got to know CustomOnIt as a great company to use for customized products. You name the product and they can probably put your own personal logo or message on it. Koozies, bottle openers, bracelets, mugs, mouse pads, glasses, clipboards, lanyards, bags, etc. The list goes on and on and on!

Now, if you’re like me, you see a broad range of products and you think, “How can they be any good with this many products to work with at a time? Sure they are spread too thin and something will suffer…” But what I found working with CustomOnIt is that it’s just the opposite. These guys know their stuff and they produce great products.

New bottle opener

Check out my new bottle opener… fit for a bartender and a blogger!

 When the offer came I had no idea what I wanted to have on my new bottle opener. After a little brainstorming the answer became clear… my blog name! DUH! I emailed back and forth with my contact, Paul, until we nailed down the perfect design. They were patient with me and easy to work with as I made changes until I got just what I wanted.

The bottle opener arrived quickly, well packed in a padded envelope to protect it. Once I got my hands on it, I was very impressed.

The logo is on both sides of the opener. The bottle opener I’ve used exclusively for two years only has a logo on one side… In fact all the openers at the bar are one-sided. I know that’s not a big deal in general, but at the same time… it impressed me and it was something I had to make sure and mention. No matter which side you may lay the bottle opener down on, the logo is showing.

The only thing that concerned me was that this bottle opener isn’t “padded.” I’ve found a thick, soft plastic coating to be essential when bartending all night. If you’re just popping a few tops with friends, its not an issue, but after you’ve opened 100 beer bottles, an opener without padding can cut your hand and leave it raw.

326: New bottle opener

Grip and grin has a different meaning when you’re popping the tops of 100s of beer bottles a night.

But guess what. It is NOT an issue. The edges are rounded smooth, and the powder coating on the entire bottle opener softens it just enough that you don’t need that extra plastic bulk to protect your hands. It’s made to where that plastic cover unnecessary, and I LOVE that fact. It’s thinner, lighter and sleeker than any other bottle opener I own. (Sidebar: those plastic covers are important to protect your hand, but over time they split and fall off… and you’re still left with a sharp-edged opener that you end up duck taping to keep using.)

After a full night of use, the bottle opener held up its end of the job with ease. I chipped the powder coat right on the lip where the opener does its job, but I fully expected that to happen. It’s got a job to do, and for me if I see a bottle opener a bit chipped, it means the person using it likes it and it does a good job. It gives it a charm that only something you’ve used to do your job can have. And trust me, I’m going to be using this opener a lot in the years to come!

New bottle opener

The thin, light weight nature of the opener makes it easy to open bottles with speed… another bonus to it!

Now, pricing, I find the company to be very reasonable. For example, a bottle opener like the one I got, I’d fully expect to pay retail cost of $15 – $25 each. (I paid at least that for my other bottle opener.) But, as you’d expect, the company sells in bulk. Even if you only order 50 of these, they come out to $4.38 each. That’s it! Seriously a good deal. I wish I’d know about these guys when I got married, I’d have made these my guest’s gifts to take home after the reception!

Trust me, I will be using CustomOnIt in the future, and I will be recommending them to all my friends who might need a personalized item. Great people to work with, and their product is tip notch. Let’s drink to that…

Disclaimer: I received one bottle opener for review from CustomOnIt. I was not paid to give a positive review.

Over it!

March 10th, 2013 No comments

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?

Fear and excitement

December 8th, 2012 1 comment

Tonight is the biggest Christmas party we host at the bar each year. This is my third or fourth time to work it… and its crazy busy.

I joke that there is fear in my eyes when I talk about it. It’s full throttle all night long, often finding the bar three or four deep all yelling for drinks. Its stressful!!

But its also exhilarating. Its rewarding. And it flies by — it is over almost as fast as it begins. You don’t have time to think about the time. You don’t have time to think about much of anything except the order in front of you.

Bring it on… I’m ready. I have a 5 Hour in my purse. Tennis shoes are ready to rock. Bottle opener primed to go.

Let’s do this!

Categories: bartending Tags: ,

From behind the bar

October 27th, 2012 1 comment

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.

Categories: bartending, tips Tags: , ,