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How to Get Your Bartender to Ignore You

Updated on July 27, 2011
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Theories on Bartending

It is my firm belief that every person in the United States should be required to work for one year in a bar or restaurant. Screw the military draft, we should have a service industry draft.(Before I get raked over the coals for this one: I am by no means trying to undermine the sacrifice that the men and women of the military make on a daily basis.) Ok, bartending isn't rocket surgery or brain science, but I believe most people fail to realize how difficult working in the service industry really is. I also believe that most people who go to bars were put on this earth to test bartenders' patience and generally be a pain in the you-know-what.

Don't Tip

Based upon the number of people who do not tip, I am going to lay this out for you. Your bartender works for TIPS. Sometimes they make $4.25 an hour, many times they work for nothing but tips. (It may not be legal, but it happens all the time) In addition, they are often required to tip out (that means give a cut of their money, in case you don't know) to their support staff. When you go out to a bar, tipping is part of the deal. The amount you should tip will vary depending on what type of establishment you are in and what type of drink you order (and how many), but a good average is at least one dollar per drink. EVEN IF THEY ARE FREE. Free drink nights are the bane of every bartender's existence. A little secret? Tip each drink, when you say "I'll get you at the end" it means you are not going to tip, or will tip very little. I will get to you much faster next time if you tipped me.

Yell ANYTHING at the Bartender

BOSS!, DUDE! , HEY!, lil momma! (my personal favorite), YO, Over here! , Can I get a drink?!

Or anything else you in your endless imagination can come up with. The quickest way to tick off your bartender is to yell at them. We see you, we know you are there. And, believe it or not we have a lot to do and everyone wants it done ten minutes ago. I am really sorry you just walked up to the bar and just HAVE to have a drink. So shut your mouth and wait your turn. Want a little secret? If you do happen to get skipped by mistake, we will be far more likely to toss you a free drink or pour yours a lot stronger if you were patient.

Wave Money in the Air or Pound the Bar

The quickest way to get sent to the mental back of a bartender's mind besides yelling? Wave a twenty in the air. We know you are not going to tip us a twenty. And pounding the bar? That is the fastest way to get a bartender to completely refuse to serve you. Hope there is another bartender in the place willing to serve you. If not, enjoy being the designated driver because you suck as a human being.

Ask for a Stronger Drink

If you want a stronger drink, ORDER A DOUBLE. Call it a "top off" or an "extra special" drink or tell me to "make it good!", it is all the same. Do you go into a clothing store and ask for a second shirt for free because you bought one?

Don't Decide What to Order BEFORE Getting to the Bar

This is particularly important at busy bars. If it is slow and there is no one waiting, most bartenders won't have a problem suggesting new drinks or helping you figure out what you want. But when the bar is five deep and we finally get to you only to hear "Well...I don't know." Then look at your friend and ask "What are you getting?". We are already on to the next person. Another secret? If you often go to busy bars, have a "regular" drink. If you go often enough, we will have it ready for you before you even get up to the bar.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I'll be the first to admit there are plenty of bad bartenders out there. And sometimes really good bartenders have really bad nights. It happens. But most of us are busting our butts making sure you and your friends have a good night. And alot of us do it sober. Think about how annoying it is to be the designated driver on a night where all your friends get sloshed. And multiply that by five or six or even seven nights a week. The golden bar rule? Don't be rude to the person who controls you alcohol. We are a spiteful bunch by nature.

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    • danielleantosz profile image
      Author

      danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for all the positive responses, it means alot. I like writing in a sort of memoir style and glad everyone enjoyed it. :) Sadly, working in this business seems to bring out the worst in most people.

    • profile image

      GreggH 5 years ago

      EXACTLY! I don't mind the names though, as long as you're not rude and know your place.

    • THEHuG5 profile image

      THEHuG5 5 years ago

      Wow this was fantastic I am enjoying reading your hubs so much! I've only been to a bar once (I don't really like alcohol) but whenever I do decide to go again I'll be sure to keep all of this in mind. Excellent job!

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 6 years ago from New England

      I enjoyed reading this article from your perspective from behind the bar. Your tone's very matter-of-fact and respectful "tell-it-like-it-is" tenor, with some humor and cheeck, was very enjoyable to read.

    • profile image

      Tom 6 years ago

      Think thats bad? People in Ireland rarely tip at all! They still make horrendous pests of themselves too..

    • lukecore profile image

      Luke Chant 6 years ago from Manchester

      Many times I've been waiting patiently at the bar while some creature has been shouting, grumbling and waving his cash around while the bar staff decide to serve the reasonable human beings first, and back in the day the staff at The Viaduct used to start pouring my pint when they saw me coming to the bar. While the tipping thing doesn't really translate over here (tipping is not really part of our culture) this article is spot on. Patience and politeness go a long way!

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 6 years ago

      In my experience working with the public can be one of the most challenging aspects of a job. Throw in a bar, alcohol and a queue and those same patrons become demons. I worked in a bar when I was studying at college and it wasn't my fave job.

      Have to agree with you about the tips. Most people don't think to tip the bartender.

    • saif113sb profile image

      saif113sb 6 years ago

      Great hub.

    • LadyFae profile image

      LadyFae 6 years ago from Under the Stars

      Fantastic hub!!! And so on it.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Perfect!

    • profile image

      fashion 6 years ago

      Interesting hub.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

      I agree that working in any industry where you serve the public has a great many challenges. Almost as many as the people you serve I'm guessing.

      Congratulations on the Hubnugget nomination.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Although I've never bartending, I did work for years as a waitress throughout high school and college. It is a tough job that takes a lot of organization and patience. And we are all very underappreciated! I make sure that I always tip well for both because I know that the base pay stinks. You have to be really bad at your job for me to tip you poorly. Nice job and congrats on your nomination.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I believe if we can be in someone else's shoes for the day we can be sure we can start to value their work. Thanks for this hub.

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! To view the festivities, follow me: http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub...

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      This is an awesome hub.

      "Boss" - in Texas that is jail vernacular - any time I'm in jail anyone that is NOT an inmate is automatically "Boss."

      I am fond of "lil momma" though, that's just modern vernacular cuteness, or something.

      You know - I've always wanted to be a bartender, and probably I'm best suited to that sort of industry, as I'm possibly one of the world's finest bull shitters, and can typically either entertain or intimidate anyone.

      The crazy - I've had it topped off, and made special, it's like pre loaded software, or something.

      I've never actually seen a bartender setting still, unless, of course I got their way too early.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I share your belief- and really appreciate the things you've outlined here. Great Hub!

    • YWB profile image

      YWB 6 years ago from Netherlands

      Great stuff. I don't work in a bar so I don't really have experience with being able to pick your own customers and stuff, but I do work in a restaurant and like agsawan says, nothing like working in hospitality if you want to learn about human nature. The ways people treat their servers/bartenders, or the things they do to hotel rooms.. Unbelievable.

    • .josh. profile image

      .josh. 6 years ago

      There is absolutely nothing like working in a restaurant/bar, some of the best times of my life - despite the fear of Gordon Ramsay coming in and telling me I'm a pig and my food looks like a dog's dinner, owning a restaurant is near the top of my bucket list.

    • danielleantosz profile image
      Author

      danielleantosz 6 years ago from Florida

      over all katewest it is a blast and it is pretty good money!

    • KateWest profile image

      KateWest 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I'd actually enjoy trying my hand at bartending.

    • mcrawford76 profile image

      Matthew I Crawford 6 years ago from Greeley, Colorado

      It's funny because it's true.

      The one thing in life I could tell everyone about bartentders is simple. They will remember the customers that TIP WELL. And they will ALWAYS remember the customers that STIFF them. Everyone else, unless you are extrodanarily charming, witty, funny, or beautiful will be forgotten on the next busy night.

      You want your bartender to remember you when you belly up. Be polite, FOLLOW ALL THE RULES LISTED ABOVE, and tip generously. Otherwise, you'd better hope you have a really good bartender who makes their rounds quickly.

      P.S. I have almost 20 years in the bar/restaurant industry. 5 years behind the bar. I know a little about what I'm talking about.

    • agsawan profile image

      agsawan 6 years ago

      I agree, forced bartend, or waitress. I did this for years, learned A LOT about human nature.

    • .josh. profile image

      .josh. 6 years ago

      Amen. Blows my mind how some people treat those in the service industry...

      Should probably note that those not drinking are often the DD's though, so they do allow the others to drink their faces off and ring up the bill.

    • danielleantosz profile image
      Author

      danielleantosz 6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks frugal! I am OK with redbull on the rocks (my fave is redbull and vodka!), but yes we get burned by those ordering non-alcoholic drinks! ESP. people that continually order water(I know it is free, but I still get paid under minimum wage to make it!). Thanks for reading!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Very funny. I've noticed another one..many bartenders I know get upset when I order non-alcoholic drinks...or maybe its just the one drink I like (Redbull on ice.) As a patron, I've gotten pretty annoyed with those yellers and pounders too. They really think its a turn on to show their rude side?...Hoping many large tips come your way!

    • danielleantosz profile image
      Author

      danielleantosz 6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks izetti! Bar/serving isn't rocket science, but its not easy either! Glad you liked it!

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Irwin 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I couldn't agree more right away on the first statement you made here about everyone should be required to be a bartender or server at one time. I've been both and about 12 years total. I really can't stand the ones that seem impatient and yet when it's their time to order they don't know what they want. Great hub!