This Is Why Your Bartender Hates You

Michael Procopio's hotly debated piece on restaurant patrons' "breaches of dining behavior" got us thinking about pet peeves among San Francisco's drink slingers. To find out, I queried some of the city's best bartenders about what drives them crazy, expecting to hear stories of alcohol-fueled stupidity, or about offenses like blocking the server's window.

Amazingly, those things never came up (nor, thankfully, did any stories specifically about me). The top complaint had to do with how patrons order, as seen in this viral video making the rounds in the bar community. Contrary to popular belief, bartenders don't really care WHAT you order (they know you love vodka and soda, and they're okay with it, even if it is the tofu of the cocktail world). It's all the other crap you do that drives mixologists to drink.

You get uppity when a bar doesn't stock the brand you ask for.
A quality establishment typically devotes its back bar space to smaller, artisanal brands of spirits, and might not carry the megabrands that take out glossy ads in Details. A good bartender is happy to tell you what he does carry. Relax and enjoy the many great spirits out there you've never heard of.

You're impatient.
Waving money, snapping your fingers, or shouting, "Hey, hey, hey!" at a crowded bar won't get you a drink any faster ― it only pegs you as annoying and aggressive. Leave your paranoia at work: No bartender is singling you out to be ignored.

You order a drink while you're on the phone.
Extra scorn points for wearing a Bluetooth earpiece ― no one knows who you're talking to.

You order a drink, then wander off.
Stay put and be ready to pay.

You ask a bartender what's good, or what her favorite drink is.
If you can't decide what to drink, tell the bartender what spirits you like. A good one will make suggestions, and probably introduce you to your next favorite drink. Remember, you're the one doing the drinking, not your bartender.

You don't know what the hell you're ordering.
If you order "cranberry and vodka" you'll receive two drinks: a glass of cranberry juice and one of vodka. If you order "vodka and cranberry," you'll get one glass containing both.

You help yourself from a bottle you didn't buy.

Believe it or not, this happens. You will get thrown out.

You order your drink "strong."
If you want less mixer, say so, but unless you're ordering a double, you're implying that your bartender makes weak drinks. If that is what you mean to imply, order a beer instead, or go to a different bar.

You make out with somebody.
Dude: Get a room. No one wants to see that.

You whip out drugs at the bar.
Just because it's okay to get shit-faced at an establishment doesn't mean it's okay to get high there. Openly.

Prior rants:
This Is Why Your Whole Foods Cashier Hates You
This Is Why Your Waiter Hates You

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie.
My Voice Nation Help

Restaurants and bars are owned mostly by investors who exploit workers and customers at the same time.  They are in the business to profit even further off the labor that produced the products, who were already exploited by monopoly corporations.  Why would you not be on the side of the customer?  Owners and investors in the catering/restaurant industry are asking $7 for a cup of ice and a few milliliters of alchohol from a bottle that cost them $10 to $20 on average.

Bartenders and waiters, who admittedly work VERY hard, are essentially parasites off of the working class by not joining unions and sticking with them in solidarity and demanding that other working people "tip" them.  They are opportunists and panhandlers.  They create wealth for the very people that are exploiting them 9the owners) by accepting less than $3.00 an hour for their hard work and then get pissy with customers because the customer doesn't leave them enough tip to pay for half of their telephone bill.

Why don't you direct their criticism at the people who are oppressing you with slave wages?  Who is that?  The restaurant OWNERS!.  When I worked behind a bar I would tell people to help themselves to an olive or a little extra tonic or ginger ale .  I'd pour them a double or triple.  Even then the owners are extracting a handsome profit.     

The working class in the United States, being disciplined and indoctrinated into accepting the interests of the ruling class and private owners, have completely lost touch with their own interests .  They want to blame a customers at Trader Joes, or drinker in a bar.  Seek and alternative point of view.  Proletarian TV on youtube is the best place to start!

Edward Coffman
Edward Coffman

shut the f*ck up and make my drink exactly as i ordered it!

Galser Marcos
Galser Marcos

San Francisco is the only town I've been too where being an absolute asshole passes as 'edgy' customer service.

Alex Dierkx
Alex Dierkx

Mindless articles about mindless people....


Yes, know what you're ordering. A vodka and cranberry is called a Cape Codder. 

Mary Littlelamb
Mary Littlelamb

I was a stripper in San Francisco on Broadway for 5 years. I was in the bar business for 18 years as a stripper. Bartenders I think they are God. They are in charge of the alcohol so they feel their patrons should bow down to them. I am one of those girls that shouts their or tries to wave them down.. I'm not trying to be an asshole but its either because it's extremely loud or the bartender is flirting with one of the guys on the other side of the bar and hasn't taken a second to look around behind them to see that there's somebody waiting for a drink. If they don't like to be in the customer service industry or don't like to feel like they are servants they should get out of the bar business. I was treated like a stripper when I was one and that was fine because I was a stripper. If I got pinched on my butt I didn't make a big deal out of it I am a stripper what do I expect out of a strip club customer?

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