5 Things You May Do That Secretly Piss Off Your Bartender
(Even if you have good intentions)
As a New York City based bartender with over 14 years in the industry, I’ve seen it all. Everything from an old lady dancing atop a table to 13 year olds trying to buy drinks with fake IDs. I’ve laughed on the job, cried more than once, kicked people out, been asked out, and utterly enjoyed each moment I jumped behind the bar to begin another thrilling shift.
However, being a bartender isn’t all peaches and cream. It can be an extremely taxing job made worse by the fact that everyday people with good intentions do things that utterly piss us of. Below is a list of 5 habits to absolutely avoid if you don’t want your favorite bartender to secretly hate you.
1. The flag down
I get it, you want your drink really bad, or maybe you just want to tell me a stupid joke. But it’s extremely obnoxious when I’m working to have someone flailing around trying to get my attention. Believe me, I am well aware of the drink levels of all my guests. Also, I have other tasks on hand - like making drinks for the restaurant tables. And no, I will not stop my important work to hear your slightly uncomfortable one about St. Peter and the Rabbi. Sit down and be patient and rest assured that your wonderful bartender will be with you shortly.
2. Anything less than 20%
In the USA, bartenders and servers do not get paid minimum wage. Therefore, it’s imperative we make tips to survive. End of story. Yes, you may think the system is unfair and strange, but it’s the sad reality and, if you have any ounce of class, you tip at least 20% . I have had many occasion where a man will flirt intensely with me or ask me out only then to leave a measly tip. One time, a couple even invited me to there hotel room only to then leave me a $13 tip on a $100 bill! So much for sexual experimentation (then again, if you are that absent-minded about tipping, how good could you be in bed?)
3. The relentless flirting
As previously suggested, bartenders get a lot of attention. For the most part, the attention is fine, fun, and appropriate. However, a relentless assault of "why won't you go out with me?" is unattractive, obtrusive, and inappropriate. I get it, your bartender is just so nice and gorgeous. The fact is that if he/she was into you, believe me, he/she would make it known. That's not to say that NO flirting is allowed. After all, it is a bar. And yes, I have slipped a few men my number on their receipt, so it does happen!
4. Asking to "make it strong"
Asking for your drink to be made strong suggests to me that you are both a cheapskate and have a drinking problem. Too harsh? Okay, I get it. It may have been a long day and you desire an extra pep in your step. However, bartenders are usually under very strict portion rules. We are often required to use jiggers that measure ounces with precision. Every bar I've worked at has emphasized continuity and consistency with drinks. Additionally, bars do inventory and we could get in trouble if our "pouring" is off. Cut the whining, sit back, and have confidence that your bartender will make you a delicious beverage that hits the spot.
5. Closing out multiple tabs
"Would you like to close your tap?"
"Yes" you answer.
"Okay" your bartender replies.
She then swipes your card and hands you the receipt.
This transaction is perfectly acceptable once. However, many well-intentioned people buy multiple rounds and close their tab each time. Now, each time we swipe your card, the bar has to pay a credit card fee. As you can imagine, those fees add up after we've swiped your card three, four, five times! Not to mention, we are busy and each transaction takes us time, waste paper, and yes, makes us secretly despise you, no matter how funny and cute you are.
Overall, avoid these 5 rules, be a decent person, and your bartender will enjoy your company (and may even slip you that coveted phone number). Happy Drinking!