9 Things I Never Do At A Bar After Working In The Service Industry 9 Years

These things are guaranteed to annoy your bartender.

Maeve making a cocktail behind the bar. Right: Maeve taking a selfie in her work uniform. ​
Georgia Contributing Writer

Maeve making a cocktail behind the bar. Right: Maeve taking a selfie in her work uniform.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

I began working in the service industry at the tender age of 15. Since then, I've spent nine years learning the ins and outs of both the front and back of house.

Working in this business means growing up pretty fast. Here, I've learned many practical life lessons like how to mediate adult temper tantrums, how to multi-task, plus how to survive a double shift fueled only by Red Bull, blue cheese olives and Amaro.

But another important takeaway from the experience of being on the other side of the bar is knowing how to be a patron without annoying the living hell out of your bartenders.

These are nine things I never do at a bar after working in bars and restaurants for nearly a decade.

Stand in the service well 

If a bar offers table service, oftentimes one of the wells is usually dedicated just to making drink tickets rang in by servers, while another bartender is focused on taking orders from walk-ups and customers sitting at the bar.

You can usually identify a service well by taking note of if the wait staff is approaching this area to run drinks, or if the bartender is working mostly off printed tickets.

Standing in the service well disrupts the workflow by distracting the bartender dedicated to making drinks for other customers, and blocking the path of servers trying to run drinks.

So, when entering a bar, take note of which barkeeper is taking orders from walk-up patrons. If you feel like a bartender is ignoring you, it's possible that their job is to make sure drinks get made for customers who chose to sit at a table.

Forget to close my tab 

Most people have done this at least once, but regularly forgetting to close out your tab is a bad habit.

While some bars allow staff members to automatically add gratuity to forgotten tabs, others do not, meaning the barkeeper loses their hard-earned tip.

Plus, you have to make the walk of shame the next morning, most likely hungover to go retrieve your card.

Before leaving an establishment, take the time to double-check that you've settled up before moving on to the next destination.

Interrupt to order

Bartenders usually take note of customers approaching the bar with their orders and who is next up in line to place their requests.

Yelling, whistling, or shaking your drink at bar staff to indicate you're ready for another drink is highly annoying. Interrupting servers in the middle of building rounds is also irritating and can make them lose track of what they're already doing.

Wait until a bartender approaches you to let them know what you'd like to order so you don't disrupt their flow. Patience is a virtue.

Ignore Last Call 

Once a bar has done Last Call it means it's time to down your last round, close out your tab and get the hell out of there.

Ignoring Last Call and trying to order more drinks past close is inconsiderate. If you weren't paying attention and missed it, too bad, we want to go home.

A lot of closing duties can't be completed until all customers are done with their glassware and have already left the bar. Don't be the reason someone gets home three hours after closing. Utilize Google and find another bar that's still open.

Ask for "a little extra alcohol" 

If you want a double, order a double. Otherwise, most bars measure their shots and asking for a "little extra" alcohol just makes you look cheap.

Cocktail specs are created to ensure the drinks are balanced and correctly priced. Don't expect a bartender to hook you up with any favors, and if you want your drink made stronger, be prepared to pay a little extra for it.

Tip poorly 

This should go without saying, but tip your service industry workers!

20% is standard these days, but if the service is good, or I only order one drink, I'll usually tip even higher.

Many restaurants don't even pay minimum wage, and the staff's income relies almost entirely on tip-outs.

No one owes you free labor. If you can't afford to tip, don't go to restaurants. We have bills to pay and we're all just trying our best to make a living.

Take too long when ordering 

When it's your turn to order, be prepared and try to know what you're going to get, especially if a place is busy.

Taking a long time to order can seriously slow down service. If you are still deciding when approached, just let your bartender know you need a few extra moments and they'll circle back to you.

Ask the bartender for their number 

Bartenders are there to make drinks, not be subjected to creepy patrons.

Being overly flirty, asking staff for their numbers, or making passes at the bartenders is a great way to get cut off.

Also, if you write your phone number on the receipt in lieu of tipping, you should have your bar privileges revoked. Just behave normally, and don't make it weird.

Leave behind a mess 

Before leaving a bar, I try to make a point to stack my plates and cutlery and make sure I'm not leaving any unnecessary garbage behind.

If you bring in outside trash you want to be thrown away, just ask for directions to the nearest trash instead of leaving behind a pile for staff to clean up.

Making it easier for the bar staff to buss your place at the bar can help the flow of service. No one wants to spend five minutes scraping your chewing gum off the glassware or cleaning up random garbage you brought with you.

Maeve Browne
Georgia Contributing Writer
Maeve Browne is a Contributing Writer for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on food and Internet trends and is based in Savannah, Georgia.