Bartenders Are Not Your Friends

Despite what you think, bartenders aren't your friends and you probably piss them off. Here's a list of things to keep you from being an asshole.

There are a lot of lucky bastards out there who are pals with someone who tends bar for a living. When my close friends come in to visit me at the bar where I work, their presence is essentially a pass for me to ignore them. It helps me focus, knowing that if I do need some encouragement to maintain the barrier between myself and all the needy asshole strangers who are making my night not so great, he or she is right there.In return I give them “discounted” drinks; this is our silent understanding.

If you’re not so lucky as to have a generous bartender friend who feeds your alcoholic tendencies, I am here to help. Through my years of barslaving, I’ve experienced some good and bad times, and now I’m willing to share what I’ve learned to get bartenders to treat you with kindness instead of disdain.  

The list of ways to get the bartender to like you is short and simple: TIP, dipshit! We’re not in this line of work to make friends. We’re here because we want your money. The more you give us, the more we like you. If you’re out boozing it up you should have enough money to throw a few to the bartender. If you can’t afford to take care of your bartender, drink at home and save your money. Or quit being so goddamn lazy and figure out a way to earn more.

When I go out to bars, I always make sure to tip well. I like to think that I’ve gained the reputation for over-tipping, and in return I get free drinks and am noticed before the rest of you jerks. It speaks volumes about your character if you don’t tip (i.e, you’re a cheap piece of shit).

If it’s a busy bar, don’t come at me with some complicated drink, especially if you don’t know how to make it yourself. Yeah, yeah, all you self-righteous assholes can say, “Oh well, it’s the bartender’s job to make me a green dragonfly with whipped cream if I want one.”

You know what? Yeah, it is my job. But it’s also my privilege to decide if I want to put up with you. If you’re asking me for a drink that requires muddling and shaking some bullshit—and there are ten people behind you—you can choose between a vodka soda with a splash of shut up, a nice cold pint of get-the-fuck-out-of-my-face summer ale, or one of my famous top-shelf forgot-your-order-infused drink specials. I was working a busy New Year’s Eve when someone asked me at 11:58 PM for five dirty martinis. My natural response was to laugh in his face and respond, “Yeah buddy, wait till next year.” A simple order of beer, wine, or whiskey-ginger can get that buzz you came here for. If you want the other stuff when it’s busy, pretend you’re Ernest Hemmingway and go to a cocktail bar or, even better, pretend your Jonathan Safron Foer and visit a mixologist.

The next thing you need to know: Always wait for the bartender to make eye contact (be patient and don’t talk to your friends or diddle around on your phone), and be prepared to order as soon as this happens. The whole “when you get a second” passive-aggressive neediness is annoying. I had a second, and you just wasted it. Most bartenders are used to people trying to buddy up to them. It’s transparent and I see straight through that crap. The last thing you want to do is brown nose. Impatience gets ignored. Snapping your fingers and waving is the easiest way to stay sober. And if you have the nerve to treat me like a dog and whistle at me, don’t be surprised if I come around from behind the bar and piss on your designer jeans.

Also, this isn’t TGI Friday’s. Nobody cares that it’s your birthday. Sorry you didn’t plan anything better than being stuck at this lame-ass bar to celebrate another year of your pathetic existence. Assholes act like their birthday is a pass to be obnoxious and get free shit. Don’t be an asshole. Also, no adult goes around announcing it’s their birthday to strangers. If I wanted to know your birthday, I would’ve asked for your ID.

Now that we’ve established that we’re not friends, stop telling me personal shit about your life. I don’t give a shit about how you miss the way your ex would blah blah blah... If you are so lonely that you’re talking at the bartender about your emotional problems, chances are there is nobody else in the entire world that can stand the sound of your voice without getting paid for it. Get therapist and work through your issues. Or pay me like a therapist and maybe I will pretend to care.

Sorry I had to be so real with this, but trust me: Follow these simple rules the next time you’re at a bar and we will all have a better night. Thanks.