Food & Drink

The Top 20 Things That Piss Off Your Bartender

If you’ve been in a bar even just a handful of times, there’s a good chance you’ve made some kind of slipup, whether minor or major, without realizing it. There are the obvious errors, like not tipping enough or standing in a bartender’s way; but there are also more subtle behaviors and comments, like asking if a cocktail on the menu is “sweet” or unloading about why you voted for a particular political candidate. Here’s a handy guide to the things customers do and say that annoy bartenders, straight from bartenders themselves.

Waving Down the Bartender

”The whole waving your hand or cash to get a drink—I suppose the job is already as close to prostitution as it gets, but we have feelings. We have eyes and ears. We can see you.” —James

“Is It Sweet?”

”The ‘sweet’ thing is constantly annoying. ‘I want a cocktail but not too sweet.’ ‘How is this drink? Is it sweet?’ They all have sugar. Your body metabolizes alcohol as sugar anyway. I'm guessing these people are ordering cocktails at dive bars with sour mix. But why are you ordering a cocktail at a dive bar? You should be getting a beer and a shot. But they're ordering a cocktail here without giving it a chance.” —James

“Hey, Sweetie”

“The first one that comes to mind for me is being called ‘sweetie,’ which I hate so much. It’s hard because you want to correct the person, but you also want tips. I think I might’ve once addressed it and been like, ‘Oh, by the way, my name is Rebecca. You can call me that.’” —Rebecca

Conversation That Gets Way Too Serious

“I think guests shouldn't impose their political or religious beliefs upon their bartender or server, especially since we are existing in such a tense period in history where I encounter international guests on a daily basis.” —Dominic

“What’s Good?”

“When a customer asks, ‘What's good?’ or, ‘What do you like?’ My response is Jameson, and Jameson.” —Maggie

“What’s Cheap?”

“When a customer asks, ‘What is the cheapest thing in the bar?’ My response (in my head) is, ‘Most likely it's you, if you’re asking that.’” —Maggie

Asking for It “Strong”

“‘Can you make this a little stronger?’ No, we have a standard count. You can order a double, and that costs twice as much. That shows just a total lack of understanding of how it works.” —Rebecca

“Can I Get a Free One?”

“When people walk into a bar and ask about a buyback and I'm like, ‘Uhhh…’ I've thought about having a bottle of vodka filled with water. If you're drinking your first beer and you're asking about a free one? No.” —Brendan

Bare Feet

“When someone thinks it's cool to take their shoes off in a bar. Um, there is the possibility of broken glass, vomit, and all sorts of yuck on the floor around here. Plus, please act like an adult.” —Maggie

Wearing Sunglasses Inside

“It makes you look creepy. The only exception is if you just had retinal surgery.” —Maggie

Holding a Bartender Hostage

“Someone will approach the bar and tell you to hold on while they get their friends’ drink orders. So you're their personal property until they get their friends’ drink orders.” —James

Asking to Taste a Liquor

“This one is just ridiculous. I think maybe once or twice I’ve had people ask if they can taste a liquor the way you taste a draft beer. ‘Oh, can I just taste a little to see if I like it?’ No, that’s expensive, you can’t do that.” —Rebecca

Extracurricular Activities in the Bathroom

”Don't get me started on people doing drugs in the bathroom. It's never fun to deal with. What you do in the bathroom is your business, so just don't make it obvious to me. Don't go into the bathroom with five people. Then they say, ‘We're not doing anything.’ Yeah, except committing a felony right in front of me.” —James

Trying to Be Helpful in the Completely Wrong Way

“People, especially if they’re moving from a table or think they’re doing a nice thing by bussing for you, will stack glasses, and two glasses that won’t fit inside each other, like a Highball inside a pint glass, get stuck. They will break if you try to pull them apart. It creates a major hazard.” —Rebecca

Requesting Music

“‘Oh, put Beyoncé on!’ What in the world makes you think I would play Beyoncé? Nothing against Beyoncé, but if I wanted to play her, it would be playing already.” —James

Picking Up Your Drink Too Soon

”People reach for their drink before I've finished it. I'm making three drinks and garnishing a Negroni with orange, and they just grab it.” —Diego

Playing With Stuff on the Bar

“[Imitates playing with a bar spoon] ‘This is so cool.’ If you want to see it, I'll be happy to show it to you and explain it. Or when people reach for an extra lime. Just ask me what you need, and I got it.” —Diego

Leaving Your “Art Project” on the Bar

“People will slowly peel off the entire label of the beer bottle. And tear up the coasters. And then they just leave it. I’m cleaning anyway, but it’s a little annoying, and it gets on the floor, and it seems like a small hamster has been in the bar chewing shit up and spitting it out of their cheeks.” —Rebecca

Asking for Something You Don’t Actually Want

“I sometimes wish people were a bit more forthright about their Martini orders. Three ounces of vodka stirred and served up isn't a Martini. It's three ounces of vodka. If you want to get your drink on, don't be shy. We got you.” —Kyle

Not Paying Attention to What’s Right in Front of You

“I hand them a menu, and they go, ‘What beers do you have on draft?’” —Diego