7 Things You Should Really Stop Doing At The Bar, According To A Toronto Bartender

Don't ask for extras if you aren't prepared to tip.

Sam Doll with a drink. Right: Bartender mixing a drink.

Sam Doll with a drink. Right: Bartender mixing a drink.

There are so many great Toronto bars to explore in this city, but everyone knows a friendly bartender can really make or break a night out. So it's in your best interest to make sure you have your bar etiquette down pat.

From mixing endless cocktails into the early morning to lending an ear for customers down on their luck, bartenders do a lot to make your night epic, but there are some things they really don't appreciate.

Narcity spoke with the seasoned Toronto bartender and content creator, Sam Doll, about all the faux pas bartenders want customers to stop doing immediately based on her ten years in the industry.

So next time you're at your favourite bar, do your bartender a solid, and avoid making these seven mistakes.

Don't ask your bartender to "surprise you" when it's busy

If you can see, the bar is packed with people you may want to stick to ordering from the menu.

Doll told Narcity that when someone comes into her bar and asks for a "surprise" or "dealers' choice," they're getting a vodka soda with juice, especially when it's busy.

"I don't know if when people say 'surprise me' they actually hope to be SURPRISED, but I'm not going to make my most elaborate drink just for you to say 'Oh, I don't like pineapple' or 'I don't drink Mezcal'" said Doll.

"So just stop doing that. We can't read your mind, we don't know what you like, and honestly, you're throwing off our workflow!"

Don't order a drink if you don't know what it is

This one may seem intuitive, but if you're ordering a drink, make sure you actually know what it is or just ask your bartender.

"It’s shocking how many times someone without hesitation will say, 'I’ll get the sauvignon blanc,' and then after I pour it go, 'Oh — I wanted red,'" said Doll.

"If you’re not sure, Google it or ask — that way, you can save us both time."

Don't line up at a busy bar if you don't know what you want

"A personal pet peeve of mine is when there's a huge line up at my bar, and I finally get to someone, and they act surprised that it's their turn to order like they haven't been standing there waiting for 5 minutes," said Doll.

"All I'm asking for is the smallest bit of forethought before asking me what we serve at a bar."

Don't ask for extras if you don't tip

The next time you're bugging your bartender for extra olives in your martini, you may want to think about the extra money you're leaving them.

Doll said customers don't have to tip, but they shouldn't expect extra work if they don't.

"If I’m serving you all night, and you keep leaving me a big ol’ goose egg, do not ask or expect me to do anything above and beyond for you. 'Can you put an extra bean in my Ceaser?' No? Why would I do anything extra for you when you’ve done nothing extra for me?"

Don't pester your bartender if they say no

Bartenders and bars have liability when it comes to serving people, and Doll wants customers to know sometimes a request is out of a bartender's control.

"Trust that your bartender doesn’t have a vendetta against you if they say no to certain things, sometimes, it’s just the rules, which we have to take seriously. #noliabilityzone."

She said her current bar has a "very strict liquor license," so there's no chance of turning someone's drink into a triple, no matter how much they offer to tip.

Don't talk down on their work

As a rule of thumb, don't talk smack about someone's job.

Doll said while the majority of people are great, some customers still snub her profession with off-handed remarks.

"There are still those who shoot us one-off comments like 'Didn't you go to school?' 'Why do you work here?' 'I could get you a job making a lot more money than this.'"

So if you're going to pass judgment on someone's job, Doll recommends you keep it in your head because bartenders actually like their jobs.

Don't be a jerk if you get cut off

Getting cut off can suck but take it with grace.

"I take no joy in cutting people off - it's actually one of the more annoying parts of my night. Especially as a girl, and especially if I have to cut off a guy," said Doll.

"I'm basically setting myself up for an altercation, but I simply have to cut you off if I think you're too drunk."

Doll recommends if you get cut off, just take the water and go and if you don't think the judgment call was right, try your luck at another bar.

Narcity does not condone the overconsumption of alcohol or other substances. If you're going to drink alcohol or consume cannabis, please do so responsibly and only if you're of legal age.

Brooke Houghton
Brooke Houghton is a contributing writer for Narcity Media based in Toronto, Ontario.