4/24/2012 02:54:00 PM

10 Epically Annoying Ways to Behave in a Bar

Behave yourself at the bar! 
A while back, we took a look at some really annoying things that you can do in a restaurant that will make your server hate you (put down those cell phones when you're placing an order!) While that piece touched upon plenty of stuff happening in the dining room, we decided that it's time to put focus on the bar. We've chatted with some of our bartender friends and rounded up ten obnoxious behaviors that come out at drinkin' time - some of these will annoy the server, some will annoy your fellow imbibers and all should be avoided. Let us know your bar-behavior pet peeves in the comments below.

46 comments :

  1. Ugh. Another condescending, smug diatribe from Miss Manners. You keep mentioning the term service employee while seeming to forget that the operative term is "service". No, patrons should not be rude to their bartender, nor to one another, but there's a world of difference between rude and simply expecting service. "Double ordering"? Really? If this upsets or confuses the poor thing then maybe they're in the wrong profession. Ditto for asking what ingredients are in a drink. Leaving your coat on the barstool? Sure, some folks can be downright clueless – or perhaps a bit too buzzed – but it's not like they puked on the bar or something. What's wrong with simply asking, "Is anyone sitting there?"

    Have we really reached the point where merely bothering to show up for work makes you a model employee?

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    1. I'm so glad you wrote this. I've never seen such a ridiculous piece of advice. Please don't bother your mixologist because he may remember he hates people and is only doing this while he looks for another job. I love bars and bartenders but whoever wrote this sounds like a 10 year old.

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    2. Agree wholeheartedly. While many of these are annoying, they're neither epic, nor changing. Disgruntled bartenders should blog, not pretend to be miss manners.

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    3. I agree with your comment, Anon. Luckily I'm not guilty of asking a busy bartender, "oh, gee, what are you making?" and if I have it's because they were cool to begin with. Bartenders and servers can be ridiculous and act entitled to their tips, but I've learned when I'm dealing with those kinds of people, I do not tip. Simple. :)

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    4. I am sure that all the replies above mine in which I am writing are very young and feeling entitled people!! I do not believe this is smug to inform you of proper etiquette when out in public in any service environment. I know the next thing you are thinking that this person writing this is in the service industry, and the answer to no. I am 54 years old and very thankful to my parents and the era in which I grew up that I know how to act in public. I can only suggest they if you are a college graduate you should continue your education in a few finishing school classes as this will serve you better in your adult years to come.

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  2. I've got to admit, I've spent 10+ minutes waiting quietly at a crowded bar, and holding my cash in my hands on top of the bar always seems to subtly but effectively work. Was a wake up call to see that as #1.

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    1. Really. Was at Super-hot LES eatery last week and was absolutely invisible at a semi-crowded bar untilI put cash in my hand.

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    2. Many, if not most, of the bartenders in LA are completely inept boobs with absolutely zero sense of subtlety. One *must* have money in one's hand to get attention - however I will concede that is very different from waving money like a flag at a football game.

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    3. As a bartender, I can say there's a difference between having your money ready and waving it around. One signifies patience, the other, impatience.

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    4. I agree with the statement above. Having your money out didn't "work" you were just the next one to order. I ignore money flappers. Usually if you are so disrespectful to flap money, you are an annoying misbehaved drunk and probably an absent tipper.

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  3. I am OK with most of the list, but to decry the "hover and swoop" is to say "I have never been out in a crowded city bar."

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  4. How about ordering at the bar before sitting down at a table, then refusing to order from the server because you "already have a tab at the bar", or even better asking them to get your drinks on the original tab? Some bartenders will transfer the tab; others won't. Cocktail servers already give a chunk of their tips to the bartender; they don't need you keeping them from making any money from the table at all while handing 100% of your tip over to the bartender. -A Former Cocktail Waitress

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    1. Right on, coming from another former cocktail waitress :)

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    2. I was not aware that this is a problem for servers. I would think that ANY service you provide (even bringing a drink that had previously been ordered on a bar tab) would be appropriately acknowledged at tip-time. I tip based on service not on the price of the meal. If you give good service you get a good tip - generally 30-35% but I'm happy to reduce that if you dont want to serve me!

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    3. Well that's where you are wrong. There is a reason that they either ask you to transfer or close out. Almost every bar works under the principal of what you made is yours, the idea of pooling all your tips is something from a 1980's diner. That's why articles like this are written to inform and ignorant public on proper form.

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    4. Some POS systems won't allow you to transfer bar checks to tables; it's not that the bar tender or server won't transfer the check, it's that they simply can't.

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  5. My pet peeve is the customer that has waited several minutes while others are being served then, when I get to them and ask what they're drinking, they give me that deer-in-the-headlights look as if they didn't realize a quiz was coming. Sometimes they ask: "What do you like?" Or, "what do you think I should have?" WTF? You walked into a BAR! Is it too much to expect that you'll have already given some thought to what you want to drink? Do you get into a CAB and ask the driver where you should go?

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    1. PRICELESS, bowing low my friend and double ordering.... blow my brains out !

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  6. Sorry, but this list (unlike the good Server one) is a bit unrealistic, even mean. A bar isn't a toll booth where people are supposed to put their money down and go away as fast as possible to maximize the bartender's income...theres nothing wrong with putting your bag on an empty stool -- somebody who wants the seat will just ask you to move it. Similsrly, where is the family whose table isn"t ready supposed to sit -- hasn't the author ever heard of just serving a kid ginger ale? As for "snappers," we hate them, too, and it's inexcusable -- but as for #1, flashing money, quite frankly, is sometimes the only thing that works.

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    1. Thank you pointing out that kids don't need to be taboo at the bar. That said, of course, they do need to behave like little angels. That is the responsibility of the parents and not of the liquor commission or the state legislators! Otherwise, these kids will wake up one day and suddenly they can buddy upto the bar and don't have a clue. As a result we are breeding a bunch of clueless and misbehaving bar patrons!

      Yes, a Shirley Temple or a plain ginger ale will do just fine!

      Maybe some of the older patrons who don't know how to behave themselves will display better manners at the bar if there is a child and future patron present?

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    2. No kids at the bar. Get a babysitter.

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    3. NO KIDS AT THE BAR. Oh no tables well stand there and wait or next time make a reservation. No its not ok to put your belonging on An empty bar stool because now it looks occupied. My pet peeve "I know the owner."

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  7. I agree that #1 is silly. It's one thing to be holding out a bill to show that you have money and you're ready to order, which you definitely have to do sometimes, without "flapping it around." As a girl, lots of times I get ignored by (especially female) bartenders unless I have cash in my hand showing I'm ready to spend it.

    The rudest bartender I can remember was ignoring/oblivious to me for quite a bit, and when he was finally at the part of the bar where I was for more than a moment, he was making a cocktail. I asked for two beers - the place only had bottles, not even draft - before he finished and ran off again, so that he would get to me when he finished the cocktail. He totally ignored me while he was busy with his mixing, so I didn't think he heard me, and when I said "two Brooklyns please when you're done," a second time, then he looked at me and snapped "I'm BUSY here, I heard you the first time." All I had needed was an "ok" or anything at all reasonably polite to let me know that he heard me. Obviously I didn't expect him to drop what he was doing in the middle of the cocktail and run and get me the beer. SO rude.

    Also, while it's one thing to give a "deer in the headlight" look when you're asked for a drink, it's also supposed to be ok, or even encouraged, to as a bartender's opinion, at least if the bar isn't busy. Many places have specialty drinks, and if a customer provides some direction about what they like or are looking for, as I understand it's encouraged, not frowned upon, to ask for the bartender's assistance in picking a drink.

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  8. As a "retired" bartender, I feel permitted to state with conviction you missed a big one - banging on the bar (to get your mixmaster's attention). This was my absolute #1 "per peeve" in the days when I swung a set of liquor bottles into the mixing cup. Wave your money, snap your fingers - fine: you're déclassé, but I'd still serve you. Hammer your fist on my bar? Instant 86!

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  9. no questions?.....know what you want?.....don't change your mind......why bother with a bartender at all....why not get a screen interface and just punch your drink order in and have a calibrated automated dispenser....sadly the whole concept of service is slowly disappearing from the service industry.....by the way...why exactly am I tipping you again?...

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    1. I love your response. This is so true in many service-related industries! Even in retail, many cashiers don't say "thank you" after completing the transaction. They hand me my merchandise along with my change and/or receipt and say "here you go" even though I am friendly and smiling. No reciprocity. This happens so frequently that I no longer feel sorry for cashiers getting replaced by self-checkout stations.

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  10. How about the "fake nice" people who pretend to instantly be your best friend so they can get "hooked up" but turn out to be super asshole/cheap when it comes to the tipping part?? Why isn't THAT on the list....

    the #10 on this list would be one of my top 3...

    For the record, there are plenty of amazing genuinely nice people that still do the shit on this list, but we will always have the ones we like, and then ones that rub us the wrong way.

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  11. Comparing the sometimes 80 seats in the dining room with the somteimes eight stools at a bar is ridiculous. Only in "Yuppie" territory will parties hog restaurant tables with menues at their paces to sit over a glass of wine for hours without giving up the table. Some people reserve a bar stool for all the hours the bar is open and many customers who have been at the bar for years never actually get to use a bar stool.

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  12. I totally understand why all of these "do nots' would annoy bartenders. Luckliy I've been guilty of only doing one of them (the coat on the stool thing). I don't understand why this list makes some people here annoyed to say the least from the some of comments I've read. Good manners is always appropriate---even in a bar.

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  13. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for more liquor in your drink. When I watch the bartender pour the vodka in at the same time as the soda, there ends up being almost no vodka in it, and then they charge you $10 for it (if you're lucky). That's an absurd amount to pay for what amounts to less than a shot of vodka. I don't understand why a bartender takes offense to making a decent drink, they'll certainly get tipped better for it.

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    1. "When I watch the bartender pour the vodka in at the same time as the soda, there ends up being almost no vodka in it"

      Totally untrue! My 1.5 oz count coincides perfectly with the amount of time the soda gun takes to top off a 9 oz cup filled with ice, and it is blended perfectly since they were being mixed in at the same time.. Bartenders are not ripping you off. See the "flavorless liquid" comment in #10!

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    2. Do you go to diner and say that your steak wast big enough and you want more but don't want to pay for it? No. Do you go in the grocery store and say you want more but don't want to pay for it? No. So shy would you think its appropriate to do at a bar? It's alcohol....the main source of income for a bar, they don't juat give it away. And please read the comment above because that is exactly the truth. It's ignorant and cheap people like you that make these list necessary.

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    3. Interesting...In 20-plus years as a bar customer, I've rarely felt there wadn't enough liquor in my drink (and it was almost always during two-for-one or discount happy hours.) If you routinely feel you've been shortchanged on alcohol maybe you have an unrealistic expectation if what the drink should taste like.

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    4. First, vodka is not a "flavorless liquid." If you drink it straight up, you can tell the difference, and some cheap vodkas are like turpentine.

      Second, while it is admittedly bad form to ask for more liquor in your drink, try being on the other side. I've ordered an old-fashioned at one bar, and the bartender made it great. Another place, it was insultingly watered down, 90% soda water, and at least 12 bucks. If I could, I would go back to that bar and ask for free liquor just to spite you, ignorant second replier.

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  14. No kids at the bar. If they allow kids, it ain't a bar but a holding room. Yecch!

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  15. I have been a bartender for 27 years and none of the above seem to be a consistent bother. This is a service industry and you are there to serve the customer ... Full Stop! What has been a consistent bother to me is getting my attention after a few minutes and not knowing what to order for yourself or the others you are with. Take the time to know what you and your friends are drinking. This will speed service and avoid annoyance. For the love of god, have some money ready ... You are buying a drink ! Nothing could boil my blood more than waiting for people to fumble through there pants and hand bags in a crowded bar atmosphere.

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    1. Aha! So waving money IS a good signal. Just yankin' your chain...

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  16. I mostly see younger (as in under 25) doing this but what irks me more than anything is the pay with plastic guy/girl.

    Paying with plastic is fine, as long as you arent making the bartender close it out everytime you order a round. Do you not trust your friends to settle up the tab later? Do you not know if you will be at the bar for another drink? This irks me as a customer too because everytime you order your 6 red headed sluts I have to wait for your card to be rung, receipt printed and signed all while you are spilling your drink everywhere fumbling with your phone, card and reciept.

    Its called an ATM you idiot. My favorite bars are all cash only.

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  17. There is a common etiquette to be applied in the bar. It is it's own set of rules that, of followed, allow for a smooth flow at the bar. You are all there to have a cocktail and mingle amongst other bar goes there to do the same. Get to the bar, wait for the bartender to see you..because we do..know what you want, have money ready..but don't wave it or call our names (especially if you don't know us personally) and be considerate of others trying to get a cocktail. Don't take up more space than necessary, and of you see the bartender is slammed, don't be offended if they don't drop what they're doing to have a conversation with you. We are at WORK and are busy maintaining the flow of the bar. By nature, most of us are social and like talking to people, but when we are actually really busy, we have drink orders to remember, tabs to close out, change to give..along with all the other stuff to keep track of behind the bar..going on in our head. It's not that we are snobs and can't be bothered..it really is a demanding job. Anyway....you aren't usually at the bar specifically to hang out with the bartender, unless you are a personal friend. Even then, respect our job. Be friendly, be considerate...and you'll get the same in return. If I ask you how are you, don't say you'll have a jack and coke. We are people attempting to provide service with a smile. And I can't speak for all bartenders....some are just not cut out for that position, and won't last very long in the industry.

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    1. Thank you for shedding some light on what it's like from the other side of the bar. Really professional bartenders remain cool and make the job look so easy, as customers we have no idea how much is going on in your head. I will not forget your comment about remembering drink orders, closing out tabs, and giving change, and will be sure to share this with any patron who acts impatient or comments that they are being snubbed.

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  18. I much prefer the guy/gal who has cash in hand (never waving it) to the one who waits until I have delivered and they have sipped their drink to even reach for their pocket to get the wallet, then ignores the first time I tell them how much it is asks again while looking distractedly for the card they feel like using.
    If there are no patrons waiting, by all means, take your time. But if there are, use that time you were waiting to 1) think about what you want to order 2) take out whatever means of payment you will use and 3) find out what your friends are drinking so the rest of the bar doesn't have to come to a screeching halt! I can't move on to the next customer since until this transaction is completed.
    To you who are offended:
    You'd be annoyed at the grocery store if the person in front of you in the express line got to the front and then couldn't decide what they were buying, waited for their friend to stroll up with their purchase, and waited til the teller told them the price to get out the wallet, right? Same damned thing at the bar! And we bartenders then get to face all the angry customers who think it's our fault they are waiting so long for us to get to them. Whew.

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  19. #1 is wrong. It is actually considered PROPER bar etiquette to have cash in hand. It's a flag of sorts to show you're ordering, out of the many people packing the bar who are not. Plus, I do feel in bars with multiple bartenders where the order of patrons waiting is not tracked, it helps get you back to the front because the next open bartender would prefer to transact with you, cash ready, than with someone who might not be ordering or be ready to order, and might be paying via card.

    Now if it's a quiet bar and not busy, it's not necessary to have cash in hand. But for a busy bar, there's no other way.

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    1. Ha ha. Would love to see someone waving around their cash at the country club! Anyway, I agree with you and the advice from the bartenders: be ready to order and pay. It's a flow thing in any busy place. Next!

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  20. Obviously we're talking about two different types of bars.A restaurant/hotel bar and a club/lounge bar. Smaller bars tend to be more relaxed and more one on one with the customer and the bartender is generally more experienced. The faster club bar is all about slinging drinks and generally the bartenders are kid or less experienced. With the two, there are always differing scenarios but there is one thing the same, a rude customer who thinks they are the only one in the place. They can be rude to other patrons as well as the bartenders. Like mentioned in the article, I've seen them all. Add alcohol to the person and watch the problem increase 10 fold.

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  21. One of the most "epically" annoying things to me is the ridiculous overuse of "EPIC".

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  22. RE: #7, it is also annoying when a bar does not have a place to put your coat/bag, especially when the floor is dirty. Hooks under the bar are a good thing.

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