15 Things You Should Never Ask a Bartender
Everyone loves a good night out, and everyone loves a good bartender. They give us drinks and commit their nights to making sure we have good ones.
There are a few rules and guidelines you should follow to stay on your bartender’s good side. So, the bartenders of Reddit helped narrow down the top 15 things you should never ask or say; how many are you guilty of? (Just keep the tasteless inquiry on page 9 to yourself.)
1. Can you make my drink stronger?
Bartenders usually pour drinks with a pour count method to ensure you get the appropriate amount of liquor in your cocktail. So when you ask them to make your drink stronger, the answer will always be no.
Reddit user jtemperance has a trick for patrons who send their drinks back or ask them to be made stronger. “This means you get the tiniest drop of alcohol right in the straw. When I bring the drink back their reaction is amazing. It’s always something like, ‘Wow, that’s a strong drink!'”
Next: Bartenders aren’t matchmakers.
2. Will you send them a drink on me?
Bartenders may be split on this issue, but the general consensus is no, they aren’t matchmakers. “[Don’t] expect me to be in on you hitting on that girl. We are not a team. You creep me out, imagine how she feels,” said Benjizee.
Next: Closing time doesn’t mean your bartender is close to leaving.
3. I know you’re closing, but can I have another?
Last call has a purpose beyond pushing the drunk people out the door; once your bartender stops serving, they still have a lot to do before they can go home.
On Reddit, bartenders explain this frustration. Often their drawer is taken away to be cashed, their liquor license only allows them to serve during a set time, or they’ll lose their job for serving after last call.
Next: Bartenders get this tech-related question more often lately.
4. Can you charge my phone for me?
“We’re a bar, not your … living room,” a bartender said on Reddit. User deezle made a good point about how messy a bar can get. In fact, a fast-paced bar is likely the last place you want to leave your cell phone.
5. Can you take a picture of us?
Not only is your bartender probably trying to, well, bartend, but they probably don’t have time to make sure the lighting is just right and everyone’s eyes are open for your picture. This question could slide if it’s a quiet bar, but ask considerately.
Next: Wait it out or regret it.
6. Why is my drink taking so long?
“If you order 13 drinks, I’ve got to pour you 13 drinks. I’m only human. Screaming ‘where’s my order already’ doesn’t increase productivity,” ThatGuyJim said.
A complicated order will cost you more time. Fancy cocktails may taste delicious, but they’re labor-intensive for your bartender. Good drinks come to those who wait.
Next: Don’t ask for something for free.
7. Can I get this on the house?
A long-time bartender and bar manager had a few complaints about annoying things customers do. Near the top of the list: Asking for free drinks. “It’s the people who are nice and are good customers that end up with an ‘on the house’ drink,” they said.
Next: Respect the rules of identification.
8. Do I really need to show you my ID?
The answer will always be yes. If you look 30 or younger, there’s a solid chance you’ll be asked to show identification. It’s the law. And the repercussions for not asking can hurt your bartender or even your favorite watering hole long-term.
Next: Keep this tasteless observation to yourself.
9. Is this your real job?
After a couple drinks, people often ask, “Is this what you actually want to do?” or “But you seem so smart.” These questions, along with, “So what do you actually want to do?” all make Buzzfeed’s list of 61 things you should never say to a bartender.
“Last time I checked, I get paid, pay taxes, clock in and out, have meetings, get promotions, deal with bosses and get vacation time … sounds like the literal definition of a job,” Kate Byrne, a bartender, wrote for TimeOut.
Next: Don’t flirt with your bartender.
10. Will you go out with me?
Next: The bartender doesn’t know what you want.
11. Can you make me something good?
User CobraCornelius admitted they dread hearing this from a customer; “I don’t know what I want. Make me something good. You decide.”
While your bartender may not mind being creative or coming up with a drink for you, you’ll need to give them some direction. Do you want beer, wine, or liquor? If liquor, what kind? Have an idea of what you want to drink before you get the bartender’s attention, especially on a busy night, and don’t expect them to read your mind, let alone your taste buds.
Next: Don’t be a high-maintenance customer.
12. Has this place changed?
Milkusa had a few complaints about customers who thought they ran the bar. “I want two vodka sodas and we are gonna split it on two cards, run the cards because I don’t wanna forget the cards, and charge my phone for me because the other bartender did it last time for me and I come here ALL the time how do you not know me, are you new? Ugh. It’s my friends birthday, can we have some strong but sweet, cheap shots for her? Wait, I have to PAY for them?! This place has changed.”
Next: Don’t make repeated requests of a busy bartender.
13. Can you grab me ketchup from the kitchen?
… After you’ve run back and forth at least twice to grab them silverware and mayonnaise. While your bartender wants you to enjoy your dining experience at the bar, leaving the other patrons multiple times to serve one person gets in the way of them doing their job.
Next: Don’t mess up their workflow.
14. Anything when it’s not your turn
Bars can get busy and everyone wants to be served as quickly as possible. Just because you’re able to wave your arms or interrupt someone doesn’t make it your turn to order.
While it’s not a question, we wouldn’t recommend trying to flag down the bartender either. “Snap your fingers at me, yeah…you’re not getting that drink anytime soon,” said a Reddit user.
Next: Don’t demand the impossible.
15. Can you make me something strong, cheap, and good?
Cheap and strong? Check. Good and strong? Check. You can rarely have all three.
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