10 things your bartender wants you to know

Previous bartender Madison Bainbridge lets you know how to be a good customer

12th March 2018

When there is drinking involved, bad habits tend to be amplified; particularly during exchanges with service staff. Throughout most of my university years I had to work part-time as a bartender to pay the rent.

This experience was enlightening for me, and I was often left wishing customers could know what I am thinking when their bad habits present themselves. Therefore, for the sake of all bartenders everywhere, here are ten things we wish you knew when you enter a bar.

I am not blind.

You may assume that the reason I haven’t served you yet is because I can’t see you, but it’s not. It’s likely that there is a queue of three or four people ahead of you who need serving first. So please don’t wave your money, or click your fingers at me. And don’t shout your drinks order across the bar. I’m already trying to remember another person’s order whilst making sure I pay attention to the bar. So it is best not to distract me, because it will only take me longer to serve you.

I will smile if and when I want to.

You might think that you’re doing me a favour by reminding me to smile. But you’re not. I’m frowning for a reason. I’ve already been here for nine hours, cleared up sick, and had to pick broken glass out of my feet twice. I’m not in the mood to smile, so back off.

Don’t give me attitude when I ask to see your ID.

If you look under 25, don’t get annoyed at me for asking to see your ID It’s the law, and I’m not going to prison because I served you.

If I smash a glass, please don’t yell ‘whaaaaay’.

There’s nothing more embarrassing than having a bar full of people waiting to be served, only to smash a glass. So please don’t draw more attention to it. If you feel the need to say something, then ask if I’m OK. Do not instead act like a deranged ape; thanks.

I’m not psychic. Be prepared with your order.

Please do not arrive at the bar before you have decided what it is you want to order. Or then turn around to ask your friends what they want. There’s nothing more annoying than having a bar full of customers, and waiting 15 minutes for you to decide if you want a large or medium rose. Time is money. Be prepared.

Don’t ask me to ‘surprise you’ with your order.

Firstly, I’m not a mind reader, and I don’t know what you like. Secondly, if you ask me to surprise you, I will likely get you a shot of the most expensive spirit on the bar. So, say this at your own risk.

You’re not an alcohol connoisseur, so don’t act like one.

Realistically I’ve undoubtedly been working at this bar for at least a year, and so my alcohol knowledge is probably better than yours, especially when it comes to the drinks we serve. So, please do not tell me how to pour a Guinness, or tell me I’ve given your pint too much head. I know how they should be served. Also, don’t pretend you understand the difference between peated and unpeated whiskey, because you do not.

I don’t care if it’s your birthday.

I’ll get fired if I give you free drinks. Seriously. Don’t ask.

Yes, your round of drinks was expensive, but I don’t set the prices.

If you’re unhappy about the cost of your drinks, ask to see a manager. Please don’t lecture your bartender on the economics of the service industry. I already know the drinks are expensive. But I don’t set the prices. Nor can I alter them.

Finally, last orders means last orders.

No I will not serve you. No, you cannot flirt your way to another drink. The till’s been locked, the money counted. And I am probably exhausted after a long shift, and desperate to get let off. Piss off and go home.

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