Comment of the day: a veteran bartender speaks
November 16th, 2010
04:45 PM ET
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Why yes, we do pay quite a lot of attention to our commenters (even the ones who take time out to call our editor a "self-entitled rube" with a "horrible name" - a lovely way to start the day) and we're always happy to show off the ones who take time out of their day to share smart thoughts on hot-button topics.

Boomer Barkeep is one of 770+ readers who had a thing or ten to say about Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark's recent 5@5 on the topic of not pissing off your bartender.

Sir, the floor is yours - when you get a chance.

I tend bar in a business-class hotel near a major airport and have some thoughts on the points in the article.

"WHEN YOU GET A CHANCE..." doesn't bother me at all. That puts the guest into my mental queue of things to be done, and I will get to them as soon as I can. That's better than them wanting or needing something, and getting frustrated because I'm not reading their mind (or maybe can't see that the glass they're clutching to their chest is empty).

What irks me are the people who just start barking out their order as I'm on my way to do something else or serve another guest. I'd much rather have someone say, "When you have a chance, I'm ready to order" than bark out "I'll have a rum-and-Coke...." as I'm hustling to the other end of the bar to deliver a drink.

Finally, I agree with others: PLEASE don't snap your fingers or whistle at me. In my bar, all the bartenders and servers wear nametags; it's a nice touch to notice our name and call us by name when you need us. In fact, the overwhelming majority of my guests do exactly that.

TIPPING: Certainly, the tip should reflect the quality of service and if your bartender is rude or provided poor service, a small tip (or NO tip) might be exactly right, though you should also bring it to the attention of a manager. Otherwise, a tip of 15% is considered "decent" while 20% is "good"; a dollar a drink should be the absolute minimum.

HIT ON THE BARTENDER: Hey, I'm a guy and a Baby Boomer, old enough to be the father of many of my guests. Hasn't happened to me and likely won't! That said, in addition to the inebriation level of the customer doing the hitting, a roll in the hay (when done right) requires a fair bit of energy. After we've been on our feet for eight hours or so, there's precious little energy left. (OK, I'm old; I admit it!)

LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS: I don't really care WHAT you're drinking, but I very much care HOW MUCH you're drinking. LIITs have more alcohol than a standard double, so I keep a close eye on people who order them. But I also watch the people who are ordering doubles, too. We bartenders have to; it's our job and our responsibility.

BARFING: Not something that happens in my bar but I agree: unless you've just come back from Mexico where you picked up an amoeba, it's a sign of immaturity (no matter how old you are) and is bad form to exercise that little self-control.

My personal pet peeves include people who want me to "pour it strong". I don't own the bar and don't make the rules; I have to follow the rules, which include how much alcohol is in a standard pour. If you want a double, ask for a double and be prepared to pay for a double. Same goes for a glass of wine. Our standard is a six-ounce pour, which means four glasses plus an ounce or so per bottle. If you're good to us bartenders, you may occasionally get that extra ounce.

If you’re in a bar that offers table service and you’re sitting at a table, wait for your server. Don’t order at the bar and take the drink to a table. If you order at the bar, sit at the bar.

Finally, if we’ve given last call, don’t try to cajole us into “just one more!” “Last call” means LAST CALL.

Filed under: Bars • Buzz • Comment of the Day • From the Comments • Sip

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. irommolve

    Охуенный блог! Давнешенько искал блог на схожею тематику с моей, и мне кажется я его нашел! Будем друзьями? :)

    December 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  2. Erin

    One thing that struck me as odd – "Finally, if we’ve given last call, don’t try to cajole us into “just one more!” “Last call” means LAST CALL." Yup last call means last call which means this is your last chance to order a drink before the bar closes. Isn't that why bartenders even bother to say that?

    November 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • erin, small point...

      i think his point was the people who get their last call drink, finish it, then try to get another one.... the drunker a person is, the less they think you meant it when you gave last call.

      November 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  3. Lee

    someguy, obviously you've never heard of the Dram Shop Theory (Law depending on where you're at.) But basically stated, if a bartender (host/hostess at private parties) continues to serve someone who is obviously (being PC here) "impaired" will get you some responsibility for any/all incidents/accidents this person has after leaving.

    California (where I was a bartender for 8 years) arrested, tried and convicted a bartender for accessory to vehicular manslaughter for continuing to serve to a patron. Perspectives, someguy...a prowerful insightful tool when used smartly.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  4. RichardHead

    Which one?

    November 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants@Truth, Head

      The "It's National Fast Food Day"

      November 16, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
      • RichardHead

        Still there under Breakfast Buffet.

        November 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants from his iPhizzle

        Oh. Missed it.

        November 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
      • RichardHead

        Have a good evening and lite on the Vodka-tomorrow is a work day and new challenges will arise.

        November 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      Still got my daily recommended amount of Vitamin V, but I ate 3 squares yesterday, unlike Sunday's sole plate of Nachos.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:02 am |
      • RichardHead

        You need a Texas size plate for them nachos and this kinda stuff won't happen. Wonder dog loves 'em.

        November 17, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  5. someguy

    This bartender seems a lot less whiny than the bartenders in the previous article, and way less self centered than the other bartenders who commented on the previous article. I commend him. Frankly, I lost a LOT of respect for bartenders in general from reading the comments on that previous article.

    I mean getting pised off because someone orders a LI Iced Tea? Because you think they are somehow trying to "gyp you" out of the premium money for alcohol? Guess what? Some of us just like the drink, and can actually consume them responsibly.

    The ordering at the bar and taking a drink to the table is a problem of the house! If you are in a restaurant with an attached bar, HAVE THE HOSTESS ASK ABOUT IT WHEN THEY SUMMON CUSTOMERS FROM THE BAR!!!
    It's YOUR business, not theirs, and they don't know what your standard operating procedures are.

    November 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • Erin

      I too was surprised by the comments about Long Islands. They are pretty expensive drinks (usually around $12 at the bars near my house as opposed to $3-4 regular drinks). I personally don't care for them but growing up my family members always reserved Long Islands for special occasions in classy restaurants. Oh we're going out to this fancy place, ok then I can splurge a little on a Long Island. When did they become the red flag for a cheapskate?

      November 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  6. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    We defended your Honor, Kat.

    November 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      And I adore you for it!

      November 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants@Truth, Head

        Did that article get taken down? Comments got a little rowdy?

        November 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
      • Kat Kinsman

        Nope – still there. It just doesn't show up in the list on the right if it's in that spot on the main page. Weird technical quirk.

        November 16, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  7. Ricky Martin

    I'd hit that!

    November 16, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      That's 5@5! Too early, Truth!

      November 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
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