In last year's Restaurant Guide, we provided you examples of how not to eat out with our piece "Guilt Tip." Put simply, it was rants from the mouths of local food service folk, and was so wildly popular we figured, hey—why not do it again, but with bartenders?
The following stories come to you from local drink-slingers, some of whom you've probably even met and been served by (though all names and locations have been omitted to protect them from the general public—and management). Just remember these words the next time you're out on the town—these people work hard and don't deserve any of your crap. Oh, and tip generously.
Make it Strong
The overwhelming taste of booze doesn't mean good.
"I think, in general, the request to 'make it strong' is always annoying. Next person who tells me to 'make it strong' is going to get shot out of a cannon into the sun. I can make a crazy-strong drink that doesn't taste just like booze, and one of these 'make it strong' people is going to make a comment. A good cocktail shouldn't taste like straight booze, people! I also had a guy ask to sample all my super top-shelf tequila ($20-$50 per 2-ounce shot), and it's like, 'There is nothing you can learn from a drop of liquor!'"
Who among us hasn't vomited now and then?
"This actually happened just tonight—gave a group of guys a shot and one of them chugged his, then threw up in his glass. The perfect, same amount as the glass. Threw that shit away."
Make Up Your Damn Mind
I'm beginning to think this was the plan all along!
"I once had a woman order a pale ale and drink most of it before deciding she didn't like it. That's OK, that happens. So I let her switch to an IPA—even though I warned her that it would be far more bitter—without charging her for the first beer. She drank most of that one, but didn't like it either. Being the nice guy I am, I wanted to make sure she enjoyed her experience, so I offered some less bitter suggestions, we settled on something light and she drank all of it before, big surprise, she decided she didn't like that one, either. She didn't want to pay for any of them, because the way beer tastes is obviously my fault, but after a tense exchange, she said she'd just grab her wallet out of the car. She never returned. I don't think it's crazy to assume people will pay for the drinks they drink, but she clearly did."
Don’t Make the List
Behave yourself while ordering.
"So far I've just thought about things that annoy me:
-Making out at the bar while trying to make an order
-Yelling for a bartender then ignoring them
-Snapping, whistling, yelling, creeping
-'Keep the change, babe,' when, in most occasions, there's zero [change] or not enough to cover the bill."
Know Where You Are
Oddly enough, the bartenders don't often decide whether or not a place serves food.
"This guy says, 'What kind of food do you have?' and I say, 'We're just a bar. No food.' We stare at one another for quite some time before he angrily says, 'Well, why the hell not, asshole?!' and storms out."
They aren't doing it to mess with you.
"It's pretty rare, all things considered, but every now and then you'll have to cut someone off. This never goes well. I've had everything from screaming patrons, negative Yelp reviews and, once, a lady tried to take a swing at me. They never seem to realize that, not only am I covering my own ass, I don't want them to go out and hurt someone or themselves. Remember that we have to take classes to be licensed to serve alcohol, and we also can wind up paying huge fines if we don't take it seriously."
This is Not a Joke, Sir!
How not to dad it up.
"I work in a restaurant, but we have a bar, too, and I remember this one guy who tried to order a margarita for his clearly underage daughter. But I figure that I'll just ask for an ID, and when she doesn't have it, that'll be the end of it. So the dad says something like, 'It's OK, I'm her dad!' as if that means it's cool for me to break the law. Well, it's not OK. I explained I could get fired, pay fines, go to jail, so they begrudgingly agreed to let it go. The dad still ordered a margarita for himself, and a few minutes later I notice he's sneaking sips to the daughter, so I go to take it away from the table. And somehow I'm the jerk. At first he laughed it off like it was nothing, but when I told him I was serious and I couldn't leave the drink … Well, I've never seen someone so full of rage over what was obviously their own fault, and I actually fear for that girl going through life with a dad like that. It shouldn't be that difficult—if someone is underage, they aren't drinking."
Do Not Dos
Just try to think about whether you'd be annoyed by these actions.
"Not so much a rant so much as a couple things I wish people would stop doing. Like that little 'check, please' gesture where people mimic a signature in the air? Please stop. And don't get me started on frat-types who act like waiting an extra minute is the end of the world. Nice backwards hat, bro. Oh, and don't order crazy-complicated drinks like it's impressive. It just makes my whole night harder and you probably prefer beer anyway."
Keep Your Feet on the Floor
No dancing, please.
"A time I particularly enjoyed was [during] Mardi Gras. A lovely woman decided that it would be a real hoot to hop up on the bar and dance Coyote Ugly-style. I repeatedly asked her to get down, and my co-bartender was screaming 'GET DOWN!' at her from behind me. But she refused to comply. I took the soda gun, put my finger over the nozzle so as to increase the pressure, and shot club soda straight up her sequined mini-skirt. Guess who got down with a quickness?"
To Be Young and in Love
That escalated way too fast …
"It started out with a couple that came into the bar on the first night of their honeymoon, fresh off the plane. The guy is a little boisterous, and I think nothing of it and remind them we are at [a high] elevation and to be careful and drink lots of water. Fast forward to three drinks and a couple shots later, the guy is screaming at everyone that walks into the bar and literally falling off his stool. So I cut him off and he gets super-pissed. His wife the whole time is mouthing 'I'm sorry!' to me and being very apologetic. So she pays and says, 'Let's go back to the hotel room,' but he refuses to leave, crosses his arms and starts pouting. I relate to him that he can either leave by his own free will or me and the door guy are gonna drag his ass out. He proceeds to spit on me and yell, 'Do you know who I am?!' That's when things went south. We struggle with him and finally get him out the door, but he's grabbing onto everything in sight (akin to a cat going to the bathtub). As I'm sitting on the ground, holding him so he doesn't try to attack anybody, his new wife is screaming, 'Why do you always do this?!' He starts pulling at her dress, and grabbing her and yelling. It took, like, 10 whole minutes of this, and by the end his wife was mostly naked. I think he finally had a sobering moment and realized his wife was showing everybody the goods, because he just got up, said 'Sorry,' and walked off. Don't know what became of them."