9 Cliched Orders You Should Avoid at the Bar

If you were raised by TV, then you’ve probably seen a lot of fictional bar scenes in your day. You’ve heard a lot of characters order drinks and you’re pretty convinced you know how to do it, too. But wait. Before you sidle up to the bar and lay your best, coolest cocktail order on the bartender, check this list because there are a lot of terms and orders that don’t belong in real life. Here, nine phrases you should never utter in a bar.

“A Margarita, topless.”

This obscure order is actually a very common one; it means a Margarita without any salt. Saying that you want your Margarita “topless,” though, might not convey that to your bartender. It might get you slapped. Stick with, “Margarita, no salt.”

Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred.”

James Bond is the only person who can walk into a bar and actually request this cliche order. If your name is not James Bond and you do not have a license to kill, you should simply request a Vodka Martini, shaken. Your bartender will take it from there.

“Beer,” or “Whiskey,” or “Vodka,” etc.

Characters on television will often belly up to the bar and simply order a “beer.” But you don’t live in a brandless world. You live in the real world, where there are many, many options. So pick one. And if you insist on ordering generic “whiskey” or “vodka,” at least let your bartender know how you would like your spirit: on the rocks, neat, up. Be specific.

“...And make it a stiff one.”

Cocktails come with predetermined measurements. You can’t ask for extra alcohol in your drink just because it sounds cool. If you want to make it a double, go ahead and make it a double. But be prepared to pay extra.

“I’ll have a Caucasian.”

It’s called a White Russian, Lebowski. And take off that bathrobe while you’re at it.

“...In a dirty glass.”

If you spent a lot of time watching old Westerns or parodies of old Westerns, you’ve seen leathery men order their drink in a dirty glass. It’s meant to make them look hardened and dangerous. But, in reality, ordering your drink in a dirty glass will just make you look like a weirdo.

“Bring me a bottle of your finest Champagne.”

Unless you have a bottomless bank account, steer clear of this request.

“Leave the bottle.”

You’ve had a bad day and you’re trying to drink it away. That’s perfectly acceptable. It’s not healthy, but it’s acceptable. But you can’t bogart the bottle. Unless you are at a club ordering bottle service for one (pretty baller move, dude) the bottle from which your drink was poured must remain behind the bar—no matter how pathetic you look.

Appletini—easy on the ‘tini.”

So, you’ve seen a lot of Scrubs. Then you should know that even the fictional bartender employed at the way-too-bright hospital adjacent bar does not approve of this nonsensical order. Get yourself an Appletini, but end the order there.