5 Things Your Bartender Really Doesn't Want You to Do

Every bartender has myriad pet peeves stemming from hundreds of grating customer quirks discovered during every shift. Some of these quirks are only mildly annoying, but others are downright unforgivable. If you're the kind of person who orders an Adios MF on a Sunday night or flavored vodka outside of a specialty cocktail or a Red Headed Slut on your lunch break, here are five of the most heinous bar sins for you to avoid to make your trip to the bar more pleasant for both you and your bartender. That way you can still order whatever odd thing you want, but at least you won't look like a jerk doing it.

In other words, please don't:

See Also: Fernet Branca: Why Does Your Bartender Love It?

Snap, Clap, Wave, or Tap Flash your cash wad all you want, d-bag -- a bartender can only go so fast when the bar is packed three deep with thirsty customers. Plus, if cash isn't the key in a tip-based profession, that definitely means waving at bartenders to get their attention, snapping at them, or tapping impatiently on the bar won't work either. If you want a good stiff drink and the strong possibility of quicker service on the next round, be polite, clear, and patient when you get to the bar, and for God's sake figure out what you want to drink by then.

Forget What Bar You Went To Don't order complicated fancy drinks (three-plus ingredients) or shots of Fernet at dive bars (unless you're going to Shady's -- they can handle it). Don't order highballs at mixology bars. Don't order beer at a tequila bar. Don't order wine at a tiki bar. We all have our go-to drink choice, but going to a new bar means exposing yourself to a whole new set of possibilities. Why not trust that its specialty is likely the best option for you because that specialty is where the bar shines? You might just discover something new that you like. For instance, a Mai Tai when it's made the Trader Vic's way.

Order Top-Shelf Highballs To clarify, this isn't condemning a Buffalo Trace and soda or a Hendrick's and tonic. Top-shelf highballs get obnoxious when a customer asks for a spirit recommendation -- say, a good bourbon -- and the bartender takes time to explain something like "we sell Copper City Bourbon, which is the first liquor legally distilled in the state since Prohibition and is a great smooth and vanilla-y bourbon." Then the customer orders your recommendation -- with Coke. So much for being able to taste your craft spirit. Stick to the well if you can't stay away from Coke.

Try to Tell a Bartender How to Do His or Her Job If you're going to any bar worth its salt, your bartender has made a million of whatever weird drink idea you think you have. Figure out the proper way to communicate your ideal beverage in the correct bar terms and let the bartender work her magic. Asking for less ice doesn't mean more booze; it means you'll get more soda and the same pour. Get a double if you need more liquor immediately. Chances are if you don't get what you were expecting at a bar, you didn't order it right. Just because you can see the bartender doing her job, doesn't mean you get to comment or scrutinize how she's doing it -- and you can play amateur mixologist when you get home.

Stiff Your Bartender If you don't tip, don't expect perks. You'll always be last in line with the weakest drink if you didn't tip on the last round. Don't forget that being nice is not mandatory for bartenders, as it is for servers, so they won't be nice if they don't feel like it. Beer gets $1, highballs get $1, complicated drinks should get $3 to $5 depending on time spent and complexity and if you order the pricey stuff, tip like it (even if the bartender just handed you a bottle). Nothing is more unattractive than someone blowing bundles of cash on liquor and tipping like a chump. Despite all this, bartenders are forgiving, jovial folk who will likely forget about past indiscretions if you leave a generous tip the next round.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch