Tip #8 on Being a Good Bar Customer

17 Jul

And the customer education mission continues!  Be sure to check out my other tips if you haven’t already.  Mostly they’re funny.  Tip#1, Tip #2, Tip #3, Tip #4, Tip #5, Tip #6 and Tip #7.  Enjoy.  Share.

So I work in a bar that has 15 taps, which these days isn’t really anything to write home about, and a lot of brown liquor.  A lot.  There are so many choices. So many fun and interesting things to try.  So many possibilities.  So I get it, it can be sort of hard to figure out what you might want to drink.  So please, take your time and consider your options but keep this in mind:  choosing what drink to purchase is not like buying a car, it is not like picking a college, it is not like deciding on a career.  Those things will impact your life well beyond the making of the decision whereas choosing a drink really only makes a difference during the drinking of the drink itself.  It might be unpleasant to drink a beer you don’t like but you know what?  I get it.  Sometimes things are yucky.  Be cool.  I will hear your complaint, pour the offending drink out, serve you a new one and you know what?  If you’re nice during the whole interaction and don’t act as if I purposely mixed some foul tasting substance in with your beer specifically to fuck with you I won’t even charge you for it.  Isn’t that great? You know what will not get you a new drink?  Acting like an asshole like this girl did this past Saturday.  Let me explain.

So this past Saturday around 4:30 PM, give or take, a couple walked in and sat at a hightop.  They made no move towards the bar so after a few minutes I politely informed them that there was no table service and that they would have to come place their order at the bar.  Upon hearing this they did what people often do when I give them this information: they gave me nasty looks and acted as if they already knew there was no table service which I knew to be a complete lie because from the second they walked in the door and took their seats they were looking at me expectantly.  Whatever.  Some people just can’t be wrong.  No matter.  About a minute later the female half of the couple came up to the bar and ordered the champagne cocktail I had specialed for the day (I’ve been trying to use up that damn cassis for like, 4 years) and a rum and coke.  I made the drinks, she paid me and took them back to their table and we all carried on happily with our day.  Or so I thought.

About 1/2 hour later the girl comes back up to the bar with a completely untouched rum and coke and says to me, in one of the snottier tones I remember hearing recently (and this after I complimented her on her sandals!),

“Um…what did you make this with?”
Me: “The rum and coke?  Well…with rum? And coke?”
Snotface: “No, what kind of rum?  He says he can’t drink it.”
Me, upon lifting up the bottle of Rico Bay rum: “The well rum.  In any bar you go to if you order a ‘rum and coke’ that is what you will get.”
Snotface, in her best ever imitation of a small, bratty child: “Not any bar.”

I took a moment to calm myself and think about what bars she might frequent that don’t use well rums in their rum and coke. I thought maybe he had a very discerning palate and perhaps he just didn’t like our delicious Rico Bay.  Then I thought that was unlikely because he ordered a rum and coke.  Then I thought maybe they usually go to fancy bars that use call liquor like Bacardi for their well. I mean, her sandals were really nice so it was possible.  I decided it didn’t matter.  So I asked her, trying to do my best imitation of someone who thinks the person she is talking to is a complete bitch,

“Well, what kind of rum would you like, then?”

She turns to her companion to see what he would like and you know what he said? Cuervo.  I looked around the bar to see if anyone else was hearing this because it was hilarious.  She then turned back to me and, in a completely serious tone, repeated,

“He wants Cuervo.”
Me: “Um…tequila?  He wants tequila and coke?”
Snotface: “No, he wants rum and coke.”
Me: “That’s great except that Jose Cuervo is a tequila so I don’t really know what you want me to do here.”

Her companion then started hysterically laughing.  I guess he wasn’t such a bad guy.  Wish he would have ordered the drinks in the first place.  She looked terribly upset that she was not in on the joke.  He then, through fits of giggles, said to me,

“I want Captain Morgan!”

So you guys.  Spiced rum and regular rum taste really different.  This is mostly because spiced rum has spices in it.  Spices like vanilla maybe and some cinnamon.  A spiced rum and coke probably is going to taste different than a rum and coke.  Also, I don’t know of a bar worth its weight in salt that uses spiced rum as their well because you know what would happen? Someone would order a rum and coke and end up with a spiced rum and coke and it would taste weird and they would send it back because that is not, in fact, what they ordered.  Anyway, since she was such a fucking snot I made her pay for her new drink.  So anyway, the moral is if you screw up your order, don’t blame it on the person who made it for you.  Blame it on yourself.  Because it was, in fact, your fault.

Oh and then sort of on the same topic.  Here are three other drink ordering related things that drive most bartenders up the wall. You know, jut for your own edification.

(1) The people who come in when the bar is packed, wave you down (HUGE no-no), and then when you arrive to take their order they turn around to ask their friends what they want.  If you are going to commit the faux pa of waving, snapping, or hollering at your bartender then at least have your order down.  Otherwise you will drop down to the end of the drink line.

(2)  The people who walk in and then stare at the beer board, or taps, or drink menu for fucking ever and when you walk over to see if they are ready they’re all, “um? I need a minute?” as if part of your job is reading minds.  So you make an effort to pass them by every minute or so, looking at them as you slow down to see if they are ready and they either ignore you while staring blankly at the beer boards, taps or drink menu or they give you nasty looks.  Then, all of a sudden, they are ready!  They know what they want!  And they are incredibly agitated if you are not standing right in front of them at that very second for their order.  They act as though the amount of time it took them to get a beer is your fault as opposed to the absolute inability they have in figuring out what they want to drink as if it is the hardest and most important decision they have made ever in their entire lives.

(3)  The people who walk into a non-cocktail bar and when you ask them what they want they say “you tell me.”*  No, I’m sorry, that is not how it works.  You actually tell me. I do not want a description that’s like “I want something pink with some berry notes and a finish of bandaid.”  I want you to tell me the beer you want or the vodka you want or ask me my advice on what sort of whiskey or bourbon might be fun to try.  I will then pour that into the appropriate glass and give it to you.  And then you will like it and give me money.  And then maybe we’ll make some jokes and I’ll listen to you talk about your job and everything will be right with the world.

So yea, ordering.  It is one of the easiest things to do and yet people, regularly, get it oh so wrong.

*And, actually, in my experience cocktail bartenders don’t really like this either.  Generally they like you to at least give them a liquor and a general idea of sweet or savoryness.

10 Responses to “Tip #8 on Being a Good Bar Customer”

  1. Jamie Wallhauser July 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    My past relationship with bartenders has been complex; a good tipper always but a nasty drunk on occasion.they were always nice to me and one even drove me home a few times and he was straight! I miss my bartenders, but not that pesky habit they have of serving alcoholic beverages…not at all. Chin up you are loved by many for your vocation
    , no matter how nasty the occasional snotface.

  2. lionsdenbarschool July 20, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    HEY, WERE YOU AT MY JOB LAST NIGHT??? Because this is exactly what happens every night!!!

    • FranklyRebekah July 20, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Well, at least people are consistent…or something?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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