What Not To Do At The Bar (By A Bartender)


I love my job. I get paid to intoxicate the intoxicated all night and watch them unknowingly confuse twenties for fives on my bar table while a nipple, or perhaps two, slips out for a crowd of cheering admirers. Night after night, I get drinks purchased for me from drunken high-class men, and hell, when I don’t, I make them for myself after I cry into a rando’s Captain and Coke from lack of self-assurance. But besides those nights, which are definitely few and far between because let’s be real, I’m a smokeshow, I have the time of my life working in a bar. I’ve done everything from bar backing and lugging ice to cocktail waitressing in a tight corset. I’ve tended bars in glorious shithole college towns and upscale nightclubs where everyone gels their hair and gets Chanel lipstick stains on all my shot glasses. Now you’re probably thinking, “Hey Anna, wow! You rock. You must be so intelligent and stuff. You get people drunk for a living. Congrats, you uneducated, little-boobied ginger.” Well guess what, idiots? I’ve learned a valuable skill that any Fortune 500 company would feel blessed to have dance across their marble tables on my piece of shit, yet extensive resumé. I’ve learned what not to do at a bar.

Don’t Say You Know The Manager

“Hey! Can I get two Vegas Bombs, heavy on the whiskey, light on the Red Bull. Oh, and I know [insert owner, manager, downstairs bartender’s name here].”

I’m not sure if you’re trying to get a discount out of me, or name things that we have in common. I’m gonna go with the latter and spit in your drink while I’m at it so we can have something else in common: my saliva. I’m not an idiot; I know you don’t know my manager/owner/mother/bouncer/fucking name, or else he or she would’ve given me the heads up or come up to the bar with you. Stop trying it. Pay your 14 bucks, you wannabe industry moocher.

Don’t Order Drinks That I’ve Never Heard Of

“Um, yeah hi hey can I get a Yellow Flying Bird Titty Bang?”

What the fuck is that? I know every drink in the book and that ain’t one of ’em.

“Oh my god. No one knows how to make it. Ugh. This bar sucks. You suck. It’s such a simple drink and you’re a bad bartender.”

No I’m not. That’s just a ridiculous drink that some bartender at another place three years ago made up just to fuck with your drunk ass one night. My guess is the main alcohol was gasoline and you were too banged up to realize it. If you want your stupid drink with 10 different mixers, just tell me what’s in it and I’ll make it for you.

“Fine. I’ll just tell you how to make it. It’s peach schnapps and OJ. Like, how did you not know that? Have you ever bartended before?”

Yes. And that’s called a fuzzy navel, you pretentious asshole. Here’s your damn princess drink.

Don’t Act Like You’ve Never Ordered A Drink Before

Hot chick with lots of hot chick friends walk over to my station and lay their bowling balls of cleavage on the bar in front of my over-eyelinered and forever envious eyes. “[Giggle giggle] Can I get a vodka cran, but like, looooots of vodka hahaHAhahAHaha!”

How am I ever going to make this drink when my arms can’t reach the liquor well because the huge boner I have is in the way?! OH WAIT. I DON’T HAVE ONE. Your bodacious lady parts don’t overwhelm me in my bathing suit area; they just make me hate you for being so beautifully proportionate. You’re getting a cup of ice, a regular 4 count pour of the scummiest vodka to ever hit the western hemisphere, and a top off of watered down cran. Next.

Hi can I get a cup of alcohol, please?

You’re underage. Get you and your construction paper Maryland ID out of my face.

Know When To Use Cash, Know When To Open A Tab

Smoking hot man with blue eyes and a strong jawline at a crowded college bar comes up to you and says, “Wow you’re a hardworking, good looking bartender. Can I please have a bottle of your cheapest, fraternity friendly beer? Man I’m so excited to tip you because I appreciate your service so much!”

Wow. What a 10. AND he’s wearing a bow tie. Maybe I’ll buy him this beer. Will he ask for my number? Of course he will. You’re a hardworking, good-looking bartender whose service is appreciated. But it’s his first beer…yeah, better make him buy it. That’s like sleeping with someone on the first date and you’ve totally never done that except a couple times.

“No problem! That’ll be $2, I have [insert shitty beer] on special tonight just for you, handsome.”

Strong jaw-lined man reaches his manly hands into his perfectly tailored J. Crew pants, only to pull out a credit card.

Congrats, buddy. You just went from a 10 to a borderline 1.5. And that’s me being extremely generous. If you are at a busy bar do not, I repeat, DO NOT use a credit card. Credit cards are only acceptable when starting a tab at a bar where the crowd isn’t shoving to get a measly hand on the table. Instead of handing me two dollar bills that I can throw into the cash register faster than you can say Betty White’s wrinkly tush, I now have to open the computer, find your damn drink in the world’s most convoluted menu, enter it, swipe your card, check your faded name and expiration date in a room lit solely by a flashing BUD LIGHT sign about 30 feet away, print off your receipt, stuff it in a sticky fake leather menu book, AND FIND A DAMN PEN. Maybe it’s just the bars I’ve worked at, but pens in a bar are like a note that’s not “a little bit pitchy” to Randy Jackson’s 2000s American Idol ears. They don’t exist. And even after I’ve found a pen, it is most likely A) not going to work because I found it on the floor in a puddle of 30 different liqueurs or B) not going to work because it’s brand new and still has the plastic ball on the tip but we are both too drunk to even realize it. And now I’ve got to wait for you to sign it. Oh gee wiz, thanks strong-jawlined man, for the dash you put on the add tip line! I’m currently looking at your receipt and mentally making a note of your first and last name so I can stalk you on Facebook in the morning and spread a herpes rumor about you.

Email this to a friend


Topanga is a contributing writer for Post Grad Problems. Lover of red wine, mediocre gossip, and Corey's whipped ass.

10 Comments You must log in to comment, or create an account
Show Comments

For More Photos and Content

Latest podcasts

Download Our App

Take PGP with you. Get

New Stories

Load More