Things Bartenders Hate

A lot of people do really annoying things when trying to order drinks, and I think ignorance is to blame.  So peep game.  Understanding what not to do at a bar will lead to better, faster, and friendlier service.

1.  Above everything else, BARTENDERS HATE WHEN YOU DON’T TIP.  In most high-volume bars and clubs, essentially everything bartenders earn come from tips. We DO NOT have an hourly wage.  Or if the bar does pay hourly it’s some bullshit like $2/hour.  So when you don’t tip, that means we’re working for you for free.  What’s more annoying is when you say “thank you” and don’t leave a tip.  Your “thank you” can’t pay my rent.

2.  In my eyes, if you’re paying cash, $1 tip per drink is a good starting point if you’re ordering something simple like a beer or a high ball (a “high ball” is one liquor plus a mixer, e.g. vodka and tonic).  But if you’re ordering something that takes more time like a Mojito, or if you’re ordering 15 drinks for you and all your friends, I’mma gonna need at least 20%.

(2a. DON’T order drinks like Mojitos in a crowded bar or club.  Bartenders hate that person.  Order that shit at a restaurant.)

3.  If you have a tab the tip should be at least 20%.  And don’t make multiple trips to the bar, pay with card, and close out each time.  Leave your tab open or bring cash with you.  Bartenders remember that person that closes out each time, and we call you bad names and curse your family each time you want to close out.

4.  Know your ENTIRE order when you come to the bar.  Don’t start ordering drinks and then turn around to your friends to ask them what they want. I need you to quickly list your order in a succinct fashion (e.g. “I need a vodka soda, 2 Jack and cokes, and 3 Vegas bombs”).  Otherwise you’re wasting my time.

5.  Closely related to #4, don’t raise your hand to get my attention because you’re impatient, and then not have your order ready.  That’s annoying as hell.

(5a.  NEVER reach over the bar and/or yell “Hey!”  That shit’s rude.)

6.  Also related to #4, don’t order one drink, and after I go get it and come back to you, add another drink to the order, and after I walk off and come back, order another drink, etc.

7.  Don’t try to haggle prices.  This isn’t a freaking yard sale, and I don’t know you, so why the hell would I try to hook you up?  When you ask for a hook up that tells me you’re cheap and probably a shitty tipper, so there’s even less incentive to hook it up.

8.  Don’t tell me to “make it strong.”  I have to keep my pours consistent to keep my job, so if you’re not happy with the strength of your drink, either order a double or go to a different bar.

Keep these things in mind next time you go out.  If the bartenders are happy, they’ll definitely make sure YOU are happy.

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2 thoughts on “Things Bartenders Hate

  1. Michael says:

    Problem with high volume bars is the service is mediocre AT BEST and often not even that… Unless you’re cool with the tender/tendress.

    You essentially are asking for a good tip for mediocre job. You recommend tipping well to get good service but the tip comes after the service; and furthermore you dont want us to come back after closing as per point 3.

    A tip is mandatory but the amount is subjective and I’ve rarely been inspired to hook it up when the tender/tendress hasn’t preciprocated.

    • mrcabbyjames says:

      You raise valid points, and I’d rather have a shitty tip than no tip. But I know for damn sure I’m a good bartender, and more often than not my good service has been less than adequately rewarded. I’ve had MULTIPLE people tell me I’m the best bartender at Taps, and a few say I’m the best on Washington. Even then I’ll get something like a 10% tip or less. I’m just putting this out there to vent and so people know what gets on bartenders nerves (and not just limited to the tipping situation).

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