I love you guys. Really, I do. And most bartenders love their customers. You put money in our pockets, you put a smile on our face & you give us something to do! However, sometimes ya’ll mess up. We’re all human. Here’s a list of what not to do in a bar, or to your bartender. The list has a range – the higher the number, the worse the offense. Is that even proper English? I don’t know, but fuck it. DON’T DO THESE THINGS:
1) Crumple your money in a ball or hand it to us all folded up: Especially if we’re busy. This is not a cool thing. It’s not a clever way of hiding the fact that you tipped $1 on a $30 round either. This means that we’ve got to spend the extra time to uncrumple or unfold it, flatten it out and then put it in the register. If you want quicker service, do the bartender (and the rest of the patrons – who are also waiting – around you) a favor and have your money out like a normal person & not balled up.
2) Rip down posters in the bar: They cost a ton of money (the bar’s $, the band’s $, the sponsor’s $), it wastes paper & some poor bastard (most likely the bartender) is going to either replace it or dig the staples out of the wall later. Save a tree, ok?
3) Help yourself to the garnishes in the fruit tray: It’s not the fucking Golden Corral or an all-you-can-eat salad bar. I don’t want to see your grubby little fingers in there, k? If you’d like something, ask for it.
4) Stand directly in front of the taps & ask us what beer we have on tap: They’re right in front of you, jackass. Don’t ask me to read them to you. And don’t ask me to read the chalkboard list to you or tell you every bottle of liquor we keep behind the bar. Open your eyes and READ. If English is your primary language & you can’t read the taps or the board when you’re directly in front of them, one of 3 things is true: a) you need glasses, b) you’re too drunk & should probably be cut off or c) you’re lazy and or didn’t pass first grade.
5) Ignore your bartender: If we ask you what you’d like, it’s rude to stare off into space or stare at us like we just started speaking in tongues. If you need a minute, please say so. But please reply when you’re spoken to. It’s just rude otherwise. We’re trying to serve you & do our job. It’s not like we’re asking for your social security number or for you to recite a Robert Frost poem in Latin. Likewise, if we take your order & make it, don’t stand with your back facing us while you chat with your friends. Either leave your money on the bar so you can pay us and not hold us up from serving the other 20 people who are waiting, or face forward until the transaction is complete.
6) Ask for free drinks, or expect them: If it’s your birthday, if you’re VIP, if you’re a regular, if you’re friends with the owner, if you’re friends with the bartender, if you’re not friends with the bartender but promise to leave a “big tip if she hooks it up with a free drink…”
a) If you’re friends with the owner, you should want their business to succeed and should want to spend money in their establishment. No one is entitled to anything.
b) If you’re really good looking – you may think you’re hot shit, and all the guys/girls at my bar want you, but in my eyes you’re exactly the same as Quasimodo who’s sittin’ right next to ya. I’m not going to give you a free drink because you’re batting your eyes at me and you’re hot.
c) …even if you’re a good tipper. I like my job. Giving away “free drinks,” equals STEALING from the bar. I don’t own the liquor or the beer. I’m not going to steal & risk losing my job for you, no matter who you are.
d) If you’re my friend and you expect free drinks when you come to visit me, you should rethink our friendship. Plus you’re putting me in an awkward position. I don’t ask for you to steal stuff for me at your job. Why are you asking me to do the same? “But no one will know!” I’ve got cameras on me, plus 30+ people at the bar watching me. And personally, I have enough trouble sleeping without the threat of losing my job hanging over my head. Like Mark Twain said: “always tell the truth; then you never have to remember anything.”
e) Birthdays: At some bars, including mine, it’s policy to give out a free shot to people on their birthday. That doesn’t mean you act entitled to it. Mention it’s your bday casually. If the bartender’s nice and their boss has given them the go-ahead, be happy when they give you a shot or free drink. Say thank you. But also know that some owners do not believe in that policy and would fire a bartender for doing so. So understand if you don’t get one as well & don’t act like a brat.
7) Disrespect the bar: Don’t smash the toilet, punch holes in the walls, write stupid things in sharpie everywhere or piss on the wall. A lot of people work in a bar. This is their second home. I don’t come to your living room, put my fist through your wall, stick gum under your coffee table & write “LC wuz here 3/1/11 LOLZ!!!111!!” in your bathroom. You’re hanging out there. Why do you want to make it a shithole? In addition, every time something is damaged, someone has to pay for it. Usually the owners of the bar. And guess what? If they’ve got a ton of bills due to damage, liquor and beer prices go up to cover it. And also, if you fuck up one of the toilets and the bar’s a frequent hangout of yours, guess who’s going to be waiting in line at some point 5 minutes longer because ::ahem:: “some asshole fucked up one of the toilets!” Karma’s a bitch. Also, if you puke somewhere, make a mess or draw on the walls, know that the cleaning lady will be cleaning up YOUR mess. Usually she’s a sweetheart of a woman in her forties with a couple of kids and a bad back.
PS – side note here but I totally LOVE the above piece of graffiti. It’s so fucking clever. I hate Samuel Beckett & I love this. What I hate is bad artwork, stupid tags of “so and so were here hahahaha date here,” and sayings that are meant to be clever but are written by morons who can’t even spell, let alone think. I see things like “size dose mater!!!!” written on the wall and seriously wonder how the individual who wrote it can walk without tripping over their own fatuity.
8 ) Not have your drink order ready when we get to you: Especially if the bartender’s busy, this will piss us off a LOT. If you’ve been waiting a few minutes and staring us down, know what you want & be able to tell us your drink order. Don’t stand there, staring us down, only so we can walk up to you, ask for your order & have you reply “wait,” after which you turn around & ask “hey, Mike what do you want, because I don’t know what I want? Wanna get a pitcher? Of what? Magic Hat? Well…” This will cause us to ignore you, go to someone else & make you wait 5 minutes MORE (we’re hoping that by the time we get back to you, you know what you want). While you’re standing at the bar waiting, figure out what you want. If you’re ordering for your friends, figure out what they want as well. THEN try and get our attention. And for God’s sake – don’t wave your arms like an air-traffic-controller-meets-Hermione-Granger-type if you have no idea what you want. It’s the equivalent of getting onstage with a microphone, doing four sound checks, telling everyone to quiet down and pay attention– and then staring blankly at the audience and saying “uh….. I got nothin’.”
9) Touch or grab your bartender or cocktail waitress: It’s one of the rudest things you can possibly do. Plus it’s creepy. Don’t be surprised if you get kicked out of the bar or sworn at. You don’t walk up to strangers and grab them on the street. Not cool. Don’t do it.
10) Walk Behind the Bar: I don’t want to see so much as your pinky toe cross that line. I don’t care if you know the bartender or who the hell you know. The only people allowed behind a bar are: bartenders, barbacks, owners & sometimes security, if they have a good reason for being back there. This is one of those things that very well might get you kicked out of a bar. Me seeing someone walk behind the bar I’m working at is like you seeing a stranger sitting in your car, playing with the steering wheel. Exactly. Wtf are they doing there?
11) Start a fight: Very, very bad idea. One, our bouncers have enough shit to deal with; checking IDs sweeping up broken glass, making sure people don’t sneak alcohol into or out of the bar, etc. If you start a fight, chances are that you’re gonna wind up in the back of a cop car. I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall thinking the last time I went out drinking “man, I’m planning on going out drinking & hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll wind up in jail at the end of the night with sweet assault charges to boot!” No one wants that. Your bartender doesn’t want that. Your bouncers don’t want that. You and your friends don’t want that. And let’s be honest here, not even the cops want that. So go out, have fun & don’t start shit. If shit goes down, please back away & remember why you’re out in the first place: to have a good time. Don’t get involved in fights. Wanna play hero? Do it this way – when a fight’s going down, get your friends (especially female friends wearing heels) against a wall/as far away as possible. You don’t want them getting knocked into by accident or have them get a bottle or a punch thrown at them by mistake.
12) Mouth off to your bartender: I will have security escort you out. Do not swear at me, do not make fun of me, do not belittle me, threaten me or harass me. I’m working. I don’t come to your cubicle and act like an asshole. I’m trying to do my job & make a buck, just like everyone else. Just because I’m behind a bar doesn’t mean you can say/do whatever you want. Harassment is harassment & will be dealt with accordingly. Also, according to the level of harassment, know that a) you may be escorted out by security b) you may be escorted out by the police c) you may be permanently banned from the establishment. As well, you should know that the service industry is quite closely knit. Chances are that your bartender is friends with other bartenders, bouncers and club owners. Piss one of us off enough & you may just find yourself banned from every joint in town. Be careful. I’ve seen it happen before. Don’t be an asshole to your bartenders, bouncers or waitstaff. This includes barbacks. I once had someone escorted out because they were swearing at my barback. Don’t disrespect the staff.
What TO DO @ a bar:
BE NICE. Tip well ($1/drink). We all want to have a good night, share some laughs, see a good band. No one wants drama. My ideal night is this: every customer in the bar has fun, everyone likes their drink, no one fights with anyone, the one chick that was crying in the bathroom because her bf dumped her now has a smile on her face and is bopping her head to the music, people are meeting each other and making friends, the bar’s making money, I can pay my bills & after everyone leaves, all they can think about is “when can I come back and do this again? That was awesome!” <— That’s the killer part about my job. I’ve had those nights.