Happy Hour

10 Things to Never Say to Your Bartender

Like with any job, bartenders sometimes find themselves dealing with people who are just plain annoying. Not really getting a good vibe at the local watering hole? Maybe it’s you. Here are a few things to never say to your bartender.

1. Can I plug in my phone? It’s a bar, not a charging station. There is a lot of commotion and liquid being thrown around, which means it’s no place for a personal belonging that costs a ton of money and has all of your information. There are emergency situations, of course, but in general, don’t ask.

2. I don’t know what tab I’m on. It sounds crazy, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who order drinks with no intention of paying and without knowing who actually will. All they know is they are there and ready to party. This is especially common in large groups for holiday parties, weddings, etc. It’s common courtesy to know who is paying for something you order.

3. I’m drunk. Even if you’re joking, this is not something you should say. Technically, bartenders shouldn’t serve a drunk person, so if you come out and say, “I’m so wasted,” or something similar, you should be cut off.

4. Ummmm… It’s OK to ask a question, but don’t call a bartender over without knowing what you want to order. That is one way to ensure a significantly longer wait for your next cocktail. (The bartender will want to make sure you’re ready next time, of course.)

5. What’s the price of this, this, this, oh and … ? It’s totally fine to ask a few questions, especially in swanky joints where drinks can be $20 or more, but limit yourself to two or three questions and then make a decision. If you want to find a deal, go to a happy hour.

6. Table for two?
There is a place to find a seat in a restaurant. It’s called the hostess stand, and it’s a pretty common practice. A bartender doesn’t have the time, knowledge or resources to help you get a table.

7. I don’t have my ID. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Just bring it, and don’t complain about showing it. Bartenders can be held legally responsible for your actions.

8. I want to change my food order. On a busy night, this can really set back the flow of the entire restaurant. If a bartender has to stop what they are doing to rush back to the kitchen and tell them to hold the dressing, it will make service take longer for not just you, but everyone.

9. Make me something good. ‘Good’ is such a wide-open term. Give me a little something to go on. Do you like vodka and hate gin? Most professional bartenders are usually drinking something straight or obscure, so what you both consider ‘good’ is probably different.

10. What do you like to make? I’ll admit, making cocktails can be fun. There is a time and a place, but usually, I’m just trying to do the best I can to give you what you want. This experience is not about me, it’s about you.

Anthony Geary is sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.