Every Bartender's 20 Worst Enemies

Andy Kryza/Thrillist
Andy Kryza/Thrillist

Bartenders put up with a lot of crap, and they usually do it with a smile on their face while simultaneously biting their lip. But some folks in the bar transcend awful. They’re the kind of people whose very presence can take a bartender’s night from good to horrible with one quick snap of the finger, or a puff of their vaporizer. These are every bartender’s worst enemies.

The Stalker
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The Regular/Stalker

They’re there every day, alone, dolled up, and ready to talk to their favorite bartender. They’ve friended you on Facebook, followed you on Instagram, and made casual/aggressive comments about seeing you on Tinder. They bring Christmas presents. You have no idea what this person’s last name is. They may be your neighbor, or just someone who follows you. Great tipper though!

The Tap-List Ignorer

“What’s on tap?” he asks while sitting directly in front of the tap list, then patiently waits for you to rattle off all 25 beers before ordering a tallboy. This action will be repeated several times in the next few hours.

The Gerbil

Somehow, each glass comes back with about 30 coasters' worth of torn-up paper and more chewed straws than an entire season of Hee Haw. The bottoms of those glasses are like paper mache. Weirder still, you haven’t given him a coaster or straw in several hours.

The Yelper

She once wrote a super-positive review of your bar on Yelp, and immediately asked if you’d seen it. Every time she comes in, she grows more impatient, and reminds you of that 3.5-star review while tapping her phone.

Coyote Ugly
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Coyote Ugly

As much as everybody appreciates your wish to dance on a bar in an inappropriately short skirt, nobody wants to have their drink knocked over by those tacky-ass high heels leaving divots all over the bar top.

The Dad Who Doesn’t Understand “No Minors”

No, the fact that your stupid kid is in a BabyBjörn doesn’t mean the sign that says “no minors” is negated, and that the bartender won’t incur a fine for letting you bring precious little Aiden in. Also, a 5-year-old doesn’t belong in a BabyBjörn.

The Snapper

Nope. Snapping at a human being is not a good way to get their attention. Unless by “attention” you mean wrath.

The Tapper

He’s just like John Bonham: a few drinks in and he wants to rip a massive, 20-minute drum solo. Except he has no rhythm. And his drum kit is the bar itself.

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The Third-Basers

It’s wonderful that OK Cupid brought you together. It was even cute when you shared your first kiss after discovering you both watch Vanderpump Rules. But the bar is not a good place to manually explore one another's private grooming habits.

The Weird Sports Fan

Never mind the fact that it’s the Final Four. The Women’s Curling League is on ESPN The Ocho, and he’s not afraid to grab the remote when you’re not looking.

The Phone Charger

It’s one thing to find a stray outlet. It’s another to reach behind the bar and snake the cord around the bottles without asking.

Last Call Mojito Man

He spent the past few hours happily drinking bottled beer. Hell, he was jovial about it. Then, right at last call, he switches to something complicated, often after seeing the drink station being fully sanitized. The likelihood that he’s going to ask for sliced cucumber in his mojito is increasing with each muddling of the mint. But he'll probably wait until you wash the cutting board to ask.

guy vaping at bar
Andy Kryza/Thrillist

The Vapist

He keeps hitting his vape-pen while not-too-secretly bent down under the bar, then acts oblivious when you point out the massive amount of Orange Picachi Tampico Punch vapor in the air. He keeps talking about how the vaporizer has helped him quit smoking, yet he follows customers out to the patio every five minutes.

The Infinite Smoke-Breaker

You know he’s here, because he occasionally returns to the bar, removes the coaster covering his drink, takes a sip, replaces the coaster, and then dips out again. Which would be fine if it wasn’t the busiest night of the week, and he wasn’t sitting right at the staging area. The only good thing is that the Vapist keeps following him.

Sick Boy

Bronchitis sucks. But perhaps the front of the bar, hovering over a whole trough of hand-cut drink garnishes isn’t the best place to recover.

The Amateur Mixologist

Like a hypochondriac on WebMD, this dude has a comment on everything you send out. He asks what kind of bitters are in his Negroni, and insists that Angostura is best despite no bitters having ever been in any Negroni. He spends as much on cocktails as he does on mustache wax.

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If you're going to bring a flask, or a little box of wine, at least have the decency to be a cheapskate in the bathroom stall. Nope, that class act chooses to do it at the bar, where the people working will incur a fine when they get caught. Because most bars don't sell little boxes of wine (they should though!).

The Overaggressive Drink Rep

He has some great new products that would be perfect for this bar. He showed up during happy hour, and is hovering over the drinks station, getting out 1/4 of a sentence between each drink order, clipboard in hand. He has been there for two hours. You still don't want to stock his pre-mixed Buttery Nipple shots.

The Jukebox Overloader

This dude has enough quarters to listen to the Staind CD that is, for some reason, still in the jukebox. All the way through. For about six hours. Or the duration of the shift.

The Party Busers

Every single person on this list comes pouring into the bar at the same time, demanding your attention for 10 minutes, as if the Legion of Doom decided to do a summer Friday happy hour. Like a hurricane of awful, they’re in and out in a flash, leaving behind a sea of torn coasters, vapor, and another five hours worth of Staind on the juke. It’s only 5pm. It’s going to be a long night.

Andy Kryza is a senior editor on Thrillist's Food & Drink team, and would like to thank the good folks at Portland's Radio Room for letting all these degenerates into their bar at the same time. Follow him to bar-top renditions of "Moby Dick" (the 20-minute version): @apkryza.