Bartenders can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When you really think about it, they hold a great amount of power, and can be the difference between having a great night and one that crashes and burns. Bartenders are master mixologists, unofficial therapists, and great conversationalists. In short, we love bartenders, and depending on if they’re good or bad, can make or break an establishment. A survey performed by Harris Interactive, for Sailor Jerry Rum, found that 76% of respondents value a good bartender more than how trendy or stylish a bar is.
That said, you have to know how to treat a bartender right, because if you’re completely obnoxious you might find your bar experience isn’t nearly as great. The Cheat Sheet spoke with New York City-based bartender V Bella, who has over eight years experience working in a variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs. Bella reveals how to treat a bartender right and breaks down the things you should never, ever say.
“The majority of people know how to behave. But its those assholes that really make it harder for everyone else,” Bella said about her patrons. And also lucky for you gentlemen, you may not be such bad bar customers after all: “Women are majorly worse than men. Most women are cheap and don’t know what to order. I feel like they need their hand held through the ordering process. However every once in a while I’ll get a women who sits down and orders an old fashioned with rye… Respect.”
Don’t show disrespect, you’re not “above” them
Bella notes that this is one of the biggest offenders, because as people know (or at least hopefully most know), bartenders make money off of tips: “DISRESPECT! The biggest offender for me is when someone walks in and asks: ‘What in here is cheap?’ and ‘You’ is usually my response. If you can’t afford to go out and tip your bartender. You probably shouldn’t be going out in the first place.” Harsh, but true, so don’t do this.
Don’t assume your bartender knows what you want, even if it’s a simple request
Be direct and don’t side-step around what you want. It’s OK to ask questions about a particular drink if you’re interested in what it tastes like before ordering it. Also bear in mind, bartenders are trying to get to all of their customers as quickly as they can, so don’t waste their time, unless the establishment is dead-slow.
“When people ask me ‘Can I get a beer?’ my response is ‘Sure what flavor?’ It’s not like the movies where you walk up to the bar and order a beer from the bartender and they hand you one. No. Also, ‘What’s good here?’ ‘Nothing, what do you want?’ The most annoying thing that I find is when people don’t know what they want and they expect me to somehow know what the perfect drink for them will be. Like they want me to be psychic or something. They need to create a course on how to order at the bar. Be ready… with your money and your order. Know your limits… don’t get wasted to where I have to hand you a water. Don’t disrespect anyone at my bar least of all the bartender.“
Guys, don’t be crude
It might just get you kicked out of the bar if she doesn’t like your advances. “Guys try to flirt with me too in the most annoying ways as well,” Bella said. “There was this flamboyant guy who used to buy everyone at the bar a round of drinks and then proceeded with groping just about everyone that he bought a drink for. You really see the underbelly of people sometimes in this industry.”
The take away? Be respectful, and treat your bartender right.