Saturday, May 26, 2012

Misadventures Moonlighting:

Pedro Moura Pinheiro
Currently I have three jobs. I’m a full time student, and a writer, but right now the only job that pays the bills is bartending. I like doing all three, but of course all jobs have their downfalls. With school the excitement of learning new things is brought down by the necessity of test taking. With writing the only downfall is when the writing stops and writer’s block sets in. But, with bartending the enjoyment I get from talking with people can be easily tainted by a number of pet peeves as the night goes on and BAC goes up. So I thought I’d share with all of you the things that drive me crazy at work. And, for those of you who are of age this is a good list of what not to do if you want good service.

1. Someone orders twelve shots, and each one is different – It takes time to grab all those different bottles and the longer I take on your order the longer other people are waiting. Be kind to your bartender, if you’re ordering multiple shots make them all the same.

2. Someone orders one shot that has twelve ingredients – It’s real easy to mix three shots of “liquid cocaine” which has equal parts of Jagermeister, Goldschlager, and Rumpleminze. It’s not so easy to measure out a third of each of these ingredients to make one shot. When I try I usually end up making too much and wasting alcohol. Some shots have even more ingredients making it even harder to make just one. Keep this in mind, if you want a complicated shot, order at least a few of them.

3. “I know you just called ‘bar close’ but, I’m twenty-one and I can be here for the next 2.5 minutes until its 2:30.” – No, you can’t and I don’t care if you’re 21 (everyone here is 21). If I call ‘bar close’ that means it’s bar close, I don’t care if it’s midnight you have to leave. There are nights where we call it a little earlier than others depending on how full/drunk the bar is. We do this because people like you can’t respect us enough to leave when we say it’s time.

4. Someone orders a long list of drinks, has a hundred dollar bill in their hand, then asks “How much?” – I’m not a calculator, and if your order something complicated or something I don’t make often there’s a good chance I don’t know how much it is. If you already know you’re going to use that c-note to pay for your drinks, just pay for them and ask me how much it was after I’ve rung it up. Otherwise I end up hogging a register just to total it up for you and in turn slow down the other bartenders as well as end up taking more time to serve everyone else.

5. “Its $30? So-and-so just got me the same thing for $25” – Then So-and-so bought you a drink, put it on his or her tab and paid for it. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do the same. Granted sometimes I ring stuff up wrong, so if you’re genuinely concerned that I overcharged you, say something. But, don’t think that because another bartender gives you a discounted price that I’m going to as well.

6. Something happens and I ask someone to leave, they reply with “I’m friends with the owner” – So am I, he’s my boss, and if you’re such good friends with him that you want to call him up and tell him all about what happened go ahead. Oh, wait, you don’t have his number? Your bartender has the right to stop serving you for any reason. In fact it’s our job to stop serving you if we think you’ve had too much, are bothering other customers, ect… So, trust me if you’re cut off, or kicked out, it’s for a good reason. And, if you think your buddy, my boss will really see things differently then go ahead, talk to him; but odds are you’re not that close with him or I would have met you before.

7. It’s Midnight on a Saturday and someone wants a Bloody – I make my Bloody Mary’s by hand, in other words I don’t just pull out a mix and add vodka, and if you come to the bar I work at you probably know this because we’re known for making good ones. That means it takes me more time to throw worcestershire, hot sauce, vodka, pepper, celery salt, steak sauce, horse radish, pickle juice, tomato juice, ect… together in a perfect mixture then to just make you a rum and coke, and on a busy Saturday night I don’t want to. It slows me down and makes other people wait longer. Be kind to your bartender and have a bloody in the a.m. like everyone else.

8. Someone orders a drink, their buddy waits until I return with his drink to then order the same thing – I can make two drinks at once, even three or four. I’m very talented. And, it’s much faster to make, say two rum and coke’s, at the same time then it is to do them separately. I once had two girls do this to me on a Saturday night with Bloody Mary’s, even though I had asked if anyone else wanted one when I went to go make the first. If you’re standing next to someone and they order a rum and coke, it’s perfectly fine to say “make it two,” I’m going to ask you if you’re paying together or separately anyway.

9. “Your bouncer is such a dick” – Why? Because he wouldn’t let you in with a fake id? Or because he kicked you out for starting a fight? That doesn’t make him a dick; that means he’s doing his job and I’m grateful for it. If underager’s get into the bar and I serve them, I’m in trouble, not my bouncer. So I’m glad my bouncers have my back because if they didn’t I could get a $400 fine and lose my bartending license. Don’t bitch to me about my bouncers; I’m the one they’re looking out for. You’re the one being a dick breaking the law.

10. “You ask for more vodka in your Ladies Night Drink” – Really? It’s Ladies Night. I just handed you a free drink. I’m hoping this one doesn’t need any more explanation then that.


  1. Good to know! I've never read a bartenders' list of pet peeves before. I'm not a big drinker, but this list could come in handy. I now know how to make one of my characters really obnoxious in a bar, I can give the scene a sense of authenticity. Think of all the money/research you've saved me! ;) Seriously, great list and great blog. :)

  2. Glad to know this will help in your writing. When I posted it I was thinking it'd be rather unrelated to the rest of what I tend to blog about, but I guess when it comes to writing, any litte odd fact can help make a character more real.


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