Food & Drink

15 Surefire Ways to Get on Any Bartender's Bad Side

Published On 10/21/2013 Published On 10/21/2013
Mad bartender

There are thousands of ways to get kicked out of a bar: start a fight, do some inappropriate touching, inappropriately touch someone during a fight. But there are even more ways to just get under the skin of your favorite bartender, transforming you from your favorite watering hole's Cliff Clavin to its Chuck Bukowski. Here are 15 ways to immediately get under your bartender's skin... things you should never do to the person who controls the trajectory of your night.

Leave chewed-up straws and torn coasters everywhere

You are either nervous or part hamster, and because of you bars are littered with remnants that make it look like they were attacked by booze-crazed rats. Somebody has to pick them up, which sucks because nobody wants to touch spit-covered anything.

Snap or whistle

You snap and whistle at your dog. Your dog thinks you are an a-hole. Imagine how the bartender feels.

Turn the bar into a sex hotel

Making out in a bar is one thing. Making out at the bar is quite another... especially when the bartender has to discern an order you're making with somebody else's tongue in your mouth.

Maksim Fesenko/Shutterstock

Order bartender's choice

When it's not too busy, it's never a bad thing to go omakase at a bar. But when the place is slammed and you don't know what you want, just hang back and make a choice. Forcing a busy bartender to make it for you is gonna get you a shot or, even worse, a watered-down gin and tonic.

Step behind the bar

Some people get so comfortable with the bartender, they'll actually cross over to the other side to place an order. Don't be this person. Ever. You are crossing into a special place from which you are expressly forbidden.

Order a tall drink, then complain that it isn't strong enough

Tall means more mixer, not more booze. Don't be surprised when your drink tastes more like Coke than rum… and next time, order a double. Or just not a rum & Coke. Or both!

Ken Felepchuk/Shutterstock

Be shocked that this bar doesn't have what the last bar you were at has

What? It doesn't have that delicious 30-year-old Scotch you had at the upscale bar earlier? Of course it doesn't. You're at a brewery.

Order one drink at a time

If you're ordering a shot of tequila, a mojito, two beers, and a chocotini at a busy bar, order them all at once. Don't wait for one to come, then order the next. And the next. Most bartenders have two hands. Bartenders who don't have learned to adapt.

Maksym Poriechkin/Shutterstock

Scream out your order

Bars are loud. A good bartender has learned to tune out the noise and read lips. That's why she's gonna be pretty perturbed when you lean in close like you're gonna kiss her, then scream your order in her face.

Be impatient about a wait, then don't know what you want

This specimen of bar amateur will stand at the bar and loudly scoff every time another patron gets to place an order before him. Then, when the bartender finally gets to him, his grimace turns to a blank face, and he has no idea what he wants.

Horribly dominate the jukebox

Look, your love of Semisonic is yours to share. But when you toss $10 in the jukebox and play their Greatest Hits album straight through -- twice -- you're also basically doing the musical equivalent of Chinese water torture to your barman. Also, does Semisonic even have a Greatest Hits album?

Jim Barber/Shutterstock

Graze the garnishes

The maraschino cherries, olives, oranges, and lemons are drink garnishes, not buffet items you should contaminate with your gross fingers.

Close a tab, then start a tab

Sure, maybe you changed your mind about that last drink and opened another tab. It was fine until the fourth closed tab of the night. Now you're just wasting paper, and racking up charges for the bar, and generally being as annoying as possible. You shouldn't have used all your cash to play "Closing Time" four times in row.

Say, "I'll tip at the end"

Yeah, we know you will. You'll order expensive, complex drinks all night under the pretense of, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you before I leave." Then you'll order a $3 beer, leave a buck, and call it good.

Complain that your 3/4-finished drink is wrong

Did you seriously not realize that your Manhattan was actually a White Russian until it was almost gone? Usually, a bartender will gladly rectify a mistake. This is not that time.

Andy Kryza is a senior editor at Thrillist who is convinced he has never angered a bartender. Ever. Follow him to torn-up coasters and mojitos @apkryza.



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