The 3 Most Irritating Things People Do To Bartenders
My Grandfather Herman Mau had two great sayings. The first was “You speak German to your horse and French to your mistress” (he was German by the way). The other was “There are three people you keep around; a good barber, a good lawyer and a good bartender”.
Herman was shop manager at the Cadillac dealership on Nob Hill in The City from the 1930’s until the 1950’s, a fine example of mid-century West Coast cocktail chic and an absolute gentleman of the first order. He regarded bartending as a true calling, a noble pursuit and one that was to be valued as much as the services of a well-heeled attorney.
Fast forward five decades and here I am, an avid fan of both sides of the bar and a proud member of the mixologist brotherhood. I started bartending as a matter of necessity and as time goes on still do so regardless of my other pursuits. During my time in the visual effects industry and slugging it out at the tail end of the dot.com boom I was pouring drinks and dodging punches at Linda’s Doll Hut. Even when chefing at my own shops I still bartend because I love it so. People rarely show up at the bar to have a lousy experience and once you get the screwballs figured out bartending isn’t really even work. You’re getting paid (sometimes quite well) to hang out, be social and have a good time. It’s good work if you can get it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If I was slinging frozen drinks to idiots at a TGI Fridays or Joe’s Crab Shack I’d be suicidal, but my shops have always been independently run and had their own rules. We don’t put up with lousy attitudes or self-entitled clients and the exit is conveniently located to have either or both of them leave. We also get our fair share of rookies who may or may not share Herman’s vision of the profession.
A lot of people don’t realize that your bartender can make or break your night (and I’ve done plenty of both!) depending on your attitude. Piss him/her off and your are likely to get a short pour, finger in your drink or much worse. Here are the top three rookie moves that piss a bartender off.
1) Ask “What’s good?”-You know what’s good? Booze. Booze is good. Hovering at the bar with your eyes all glazed over and drool coming out of your mouth while the bartender waits is just plain insulting. At the very least say “I need a moment’, it’s common courtesy.
2) Tell the bartender to “Make it strong”-Ooohhh, this one’s irritating. Want a stiff drink? Walk in, order and tip the bartender 30 bucks. I guarantee you’re gonna get 60 bucks worth of booze back over the course of your evening. Or just man up and order a double in a pint glass.
3) And the most aggravating thing to do to your bartender? (….drum roll….) This one’s just for you ladies! Don’t stand there all poopy and confused when the bartender asks you to pay for your drink. Even worse is when chicks start digging through their purse/junk drawer looking for their wallet while everyone waits. When this happens I just throw their drink away and move on to the next person. I’ve got drinks to pour dammit! Have your wallet out and money ready. Please.