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The 9 Most Annoying Things You Can Do to Piss Off Your Bartender
Annoy the alcohol gatekeeper at your own peril.
Bartenders control the alcohol. Therefore, bartenders control the happiness. (Let’s just call it like it is.) So you definitely want to avoid any of these reprehensible barfly habits that would make your bartender less than happy…
1. Call the Bartender Like You’re Calling a Dog
Shaking an empty glass. Tapping it on the bar. Whistling. Bartenders are actually not hyperactive pets whose attention you’re trying to get. But some overeager patrons in crowded bars have a rather hard time grasping that. “It’s mega annoying when they snap their fingers, especially when they can see you’re really busy,” says Kat, a bartender from La Crosse, Wisconsin.
“People wave money in the air, like, ‘I’ve got money, so hurry up and help me.’ But it has the opposite effect. I let them stand there five minutes longer,” reveals Austin-based bartender Robin.
2. Get Lost in Your Phone
On the flip side, there are the would-be drinkers who seem way more into their Snapchat than their future delicious beverage—or the future beverages of the thirsty folks waiting impatiently behind them. “These people who are completely absorbed in their phones, which makes them incapable of ordering a drink or being aware of their surroundings while standing in line at the bar are so annoying,” Robin says. “The person who I have to yell at to get their attention so I can get their drink order.” Don’t be that person, guys.
3. Reach Into the Garnish Trays
Those tempting little containers of limes, olives, cherries, and lemons? They’re not even remotely communal. Amazingly, some wandering fingers don’t seem to realize that. “People will actually help themselves to garnishes,” says Kait, a drink-slinger from Atlanta. “We don’t know where your hands have been.” So one filched olive will necessitate the entire tray being dumped and replaced. Tragic waste of garnish life.
4. Assume You Know the Drink Recipe Better
So you’re kind of an expert at making an Old Fashioned? Guess what? So is the professionally-trained bartender who makes drinks for an actual living. “People will try to butt in with how they think the drink should be made. Thanks, I know what I’m doing,” Robin says. Save the extended bourbon-pour-technique debate for your own kitchen, where no one’s working for tips (presumably).
5. Pre-emptively Ask for Your Drink to Be Stronger
Slow your roll, tipplers. “People will say ‘make it strong’ before they even order anything. And we already make drinks strong at my bar. If they keep saying it, I’ll start making their drinks weaker after the first one,” reveals Kat.
“While I’m pouring, people say, ‘You can do better than that,’ and shove a dollar at me. I’m already being generous, but you just want more and more and more,” Robin says. “So I’ll be sarcastic and just splash a tiny bit more in.”
6. Crash Last Call
Have we as a nation learned nothing from Semisonic? Last call means get ready to GTFO, not get comfortable. “It’s annoying when people come in at last call saying they’re just going to have one drink—but then they’ll linger for long time,” says Kait. Spoiler: The bar staff isn’t that riveted by your company, stragglers. And these lingerers tend to be industry people (coming in at the end of their own gigs), who should really know better…
7. Don’t Know What You Want to Drink
By the time you belly up to the bar, you should know what you want to order. Otherwise, your bartender will be less than pleased. “Make us wait while you try and describe the drink you had last week, made by someone who was not me,” Robin states.
Or perhaps order an obscure drink of unknown composition—as reenacted by Kait: "'Do you know how to make this weird-ass shot?’ No, what’s in it? ‘I don’t know.’ Get out of here. You can have a Jäger.”
8. Ask the Bartender to Charge Your Phone
The average mixologist has more on his or her mind than your current battery life. Yet some desperate communicators persist in asking bartenders to charge their phones for them. Robin even has a canned response ready for those people flinging their chargers over the bar: “Sure, I will for a tip—and for $5, I’ll make sure not to get it wet.”
9. Always Ask What the Cheapest Drink Is
“My #1 annoyance is when people repeatedly ask what the cheapest drink or cheapest shot is,” Kat declares. Of course, sometimes quantity trumps quality (and frugality is a virtue), but it’s not a great look on you, bargain drinkers.
“When people ask what’s the cheapest thing to drink or for the ‘specials,’ it makes me think I’m not going to get a tip,” says Robin. Then it’s just sad all around…