How to Go to a Show and Not Be a Douche to the Bartender

Getting a drink at gigs can be a nightmare -- especially if the show is sold out. You're hot, you're sweaty, you're claustrophobic, and, heck, you're really thirsty. But no matter how uncomfortable you might be, try to give a thought to the bartenders and cocktail waitresses who are trying to serve you. We tracked down a local lady who's been working in some of San Francisco's most beloved music venues for more than 15 years -- bartending, bar-backing, serving, cocktailing, she's done it all. And she has kindly volunteered to give you a glimpse of life on the other side of the bar. Here are her tips on how to not be a douche to her and her co-workers (she's staying anonymous so she doesn't lose her jobs).

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Stop with the Ridiculous Requests, Already
"Please do not ask me to get you a photo, or autograph, or backstage. Your party of eighteen that all wants separate tabs is exhausting every fiber of my being and I have no time for anything else. I don't have a lot of pull -- if I did, I probably wouldn't be serving you. Also, please do not ask me if I will 'bust' you for doing drugs or drinking while underage -- because I will. This is my job and I don't want to lose it and go to jail because I allowed you to party hardy, idiot."
If You Want to Have Sex, Go Home
"Being behind the bar and trying to serve hundreds of people simultaneously is particularly frustrating when patrons park themselves in front of you for hours. The couple who spends the entire show practically having intercourse directly in front of you makes us want to vomit even more than getting stuck with the consistently difficult guy who was already angry before he came in, doesn't tip, and scares other customers away. You're annoying. Go to the back of the venue or go home."

Don't Be a Kottonmouth Kings Fan
"Douche levels at shows vary wildly, but Kottonmouth Kings are number one in my Top Five douchiest crowd list. Young, inexperienced groups like the Pack (who had that hit song about having Vans on or something equally as inane) are in there too. They both attract raucous, angry, and disrespectful fans who damage property, staff, and each other. Why are you people doing this to us?"

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Don't Assume Your Bartender Is a Criminal
"Yes, sir and/or ma'am, when you start a tab, I do have to actually hold on to your credit card (the shock of it all!). There are hundreds of people here and you could easily walk out, leaving me with your tab to pay. Your verbal promise will not pay my rent this month. You needn't worriedly inquire whether I will attempt to go shopping or make online purchases with your credit card. I will not. Please do not attempt to give me a gift card to another restaurant or random coupons in lieu of payment. Do not yell at me and call me names because the prices are higher than you think they should be. Oh, and do not try to coerce me into giving you free drinks or, most commonly, ask me to get drinks that are 'heavy' on the alcohol. If you want a double, just ask for it and pay for it -- that's how a purchase works, you know."

Don't Treat Cocktail Waitresses Like Slaves
"As a cocktail waitress, it's really offensive when people refuse to acknowledge you, yell, wave, or physically pull you over to them. Here's a newsflash, asshole: I don't want your hands on me. It's also uncomfortable if patrons make lewd comments or gestures, especially loudly in an attempt to humiliate you. Special mention here should go to the affluent white Marina crowd who will trip the 'help' who's carrying a full tray, for laughs. Additionally, if you see me coming with a large loaded tray and I am repeating the words 'Excuse me,' just please move the fuck out of the way. Chances are you're blocking my only path. You're tired of me asking you to please move? Guess what? I'm tired of asking you too -- do us both a favor."

Keep Your Shirt On
"When cocktailing, there's nothing like trying to serve someone by, or in, the packed-tight moshpit and having to use the crowd's body oil as a lube to birth you through to where you need to be. This is particularly common on death metal nights and at 'bear' events where everyone is wearing chaps and little else. It's like being in a scene out of Ghostbusters."

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Don't Ask So Many Questions, Dammit
"People always ask if the water coolers have alcohol in them. Yes, we thought that would be a really good idea and fancied some lawsuits to spice things up a bit around the workplace. Get a clue, please. Also on my list of favorites are people who ask how much everything costs before settling on a well tequila, neat. First off -- ew. Second, you just wasted 15 minutes of my time and cost me money by making those next in line tip less than they would have if I could have expedited you away sooner. Finally, people who order Long Island Iced Teas and then complain there's no liquor in them -- I have news for you. There's booze in there, and a lot of it. I promise. Now leave me alone."

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2 comments
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Sidbenz
Sidbenz

m' lovin the bartender job really n m also takin one of course

Nathan Mcdaniel
Nathan Mcdaniel

i agree with everything said here to the fullest! except the singling out the kottonmouth kings. now i only say that because there following like lots and lots of other bands has changed dramatically. its all young nieve kids and your right they have no idea what they want and more then likely are underage anyway. but almost every show i go to especially in s.f. it seems damn near impossible to avoid this. some one should have a class on how to act in a bar or to a bartender. and yes i am an old school kmk fan and will always be a fan but i dont go to there shows anymore cause of that. but theres alot of shows i dont go to because i think of how the crowd is gonna be. i just think its kinda of inevitable though no matter who or where u go. by the way i tend bar at the zeitgeist so i do have some credibility ;)

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