Why your bartender hates you

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Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes, it just seems like the bartender can’t stand you. You’ve made your usual endearing jokes, you’ve kept the outright flirting tasteful and you’ve patiently waited until the people in front of you got their orders taken — and yet every time they approach you, your bartender acts as though getting you a beer is the end of the world. What could possibly be the problem?

Maybe it’s you. Yes, even though some bar staff are just surly at heart, there’s also a great chance that the behavior you think is normal actually makes the guy or girl slinging you shots wish you’d never been born. So the next time your server ignores you, take a hard look at yourself and make sure you’re not doing one of these things.

A single tip for drink combos. Sure, your shot and beer were listed under one price on the chalkboard, but that’s still two drinks. Leave a tip for each, and those shots might even get knocked off your tab. Undertip, and you’ll be treated poorly. It’s as much about showing the bartender respect as anything else.

Constant price badgering. Never ask for the prices of more than three liquors, at most. There’s no shame asking for a lesser vintage at a lower price, but if you’re too picky for too long, you’re slowing down your bartender’s night, or at the very least boring her.

Jukebox domination. Who doesn’t like Tom Waits when they’re drinking? Answer: Some people. Misinformed people, sure, but people nonetheless. And if you spend five bucks on a playlist of Tiny Tim and Slayer, folks will leave and your bartender will lose her money.

The straight man role he never asked for. No matter how much of a poseur, geek or know-it-all that guy next to you is, he’s also a paying customer. So if you’re arguing with him or poking fun at him, and you call the bartender into play — “Bill, am I right? Am. I. Right?” — you’re usually just forcing him to potentially insult someone paying his salary.

He/she is friends with the other guy. Fun fact: given that they work together, this bartender and the other bartender here, the one you hate and want to tell everyone about, probably know each other. They might even be pals. You might even be that loudmouth drunk your bartender heard about during the shift change today.

You’re in the band. To be fair, this can sometimes just be the sign of a persnickety bartender, but it bears mentioning: if you’re there an hour before the bar opens but two hours after load-in started, and you’re bugging someone doing prep work about redeeming your beer tickets, chances are they aren’t going to love you.

You need a nanny. Whether you have a bag you want put behind the bar or you need the number of a cab company that takes credit cards, your constant special needs are a pain in the butt for the guy serving you drinks. The minute you charge your phone, everyone’s going to want to, and your monopolization of the bartender’s time won’t endear the other thirsty customers.

That Zombie you ordered. You know if you’re in a bar where they can make you elaborate drinks because your server is either wearing a vest or shaking a cocktail in some kind of head. So when you’re out at your average dive, ordering something with more than five ingredients does you no favors. She pulls beers and pours shots 99.99 percent of the time, and you come in wanting a Singapore Sling?

  • J_Buttafuoco

    You gotta love the smugness of this guy Krovatin.

    • Caitlin Rockett

      Approve.