Tag Archives: bartender rant

Rebekah… Shalom.

5 Nov

So one of the things about tending bar (that rejiggering of words is for you and your hoity-toity preferences, Ben) is that you have to deal with The Public.  Tending bar is not the only profession in which this is the case, obviously.  I could work for the Department of Motor Vehicles, say.  Or I could work in a retail store, as a police officer, or perhaps be a park ranger.  Although in some of these other professions I might be forced to deal with The Public while they are under the influence on occasion, as a provider of liquor the odds of my dealing with slightly to majorly intoxicated people increases exponentially.  It just goes along with the territory.  Sometimes, this is both horrifying and funny, like the time that I was accused by a legitimately crazy man of stealing his Budweiser when I confiscated it after he attempted to drink it on Atlantic Avenue right in front of my bar while mounting his bicycle.  Other times, I am threatened with violence like the time this really small lady attempted to punch me over the bar after drinking her weight in Brooklyn Lager.  And occasionally, it results in me attempting to break up a Fireman brawl by dousing them all with water and the only result is confused/angry Firemen and a soaked coworker.  When I walk into work I never know what sort of events the day might bring.  What I do know is that I will have to, at some point, deal with some incredibly annoying people.  And that is where this story begins.

As a quick aside let me just say that most of my customers are really great.  They teach me all kinds of things.  They make me laugh.  They gossip with me about the neighborhood staples.  They ask me, over and over again, what I plan on doing with me recently acquired degree.  (The answer, still, is that I will do something…eventually.  Just as soon as I figure out what that something is.  I’m fairly convinced that I’ll know it when I see it.)  Sometimes, they even become my real life friends.  Some of my customers, though, are really hard to deal with.  I don’t know if they are really lonely or if they don’t understand what the word “interesting” means or if maybe they make a sport out of seeing how many times they can make me raise my left eyebrow or cause my eyes to glaze over due to complete and total boredom.  I mean, these people are skilled.  There is one person in particular who fits this mold.  I will call him Tim.

This is a customer who has annoyed me late night pretty consistently for at least 2 years.  He turns up right when I think I’m safe.  Sometimes he’s alone, sometimes he brings in people who are way too drunk for me to serve and then he tries to secretly buy them drinks.  Other times he stands in the corner for prolonged periods of time and weeps.  (Okay, that only happened once but it was very bizarre.)  What he always does, every time, is talk a lot and say very, very little.  On a recent evening he came into the bar and asked me literally a half a dozen times in a 10 minute period what was new.  Finally I got frustrated and said to him,

Nothing.  Nothing is new.  So if you want to ask me again in the future what is new, I would like you to refer back to my previous responses of nothing.  Save us both some time.

Then something amazing happened.  For the first time ever in the history of me and Tim interacting on any level whatsoever, he took the hint.  He realized he was annoying me.  It was a revelation.  He gave me a big, final-seeming salute and marched his way out the door never to be seen again.  Or so I thought.

The following night, much to my dismay, Tim was back!  My coworker and I were absolutely shocked by this unexpected turn of events. I approached him and asked him if he wanted a beer.  He ordered a Heineken.  And then the following interaction occurred:

Tim, while staring at me with a very odd expression: I was told today that you are a member of The Tribe.

After a pause of about 30 seconds in which I stared back at Tim with my head cocked to the side in confusion sort of like a small puppy he continued.

Tim:  Do you know what I mean when I say you are a member of The Tribe?
Me:  Yes.  I am just trying to figure out under what circumstances my religion would come up in conversation.
Tim: No, it’s good.  You know what? I have never met a Jewish bartender before!  This is just great!  I mean, this is breaking down barriers!
Me:  Um…? I’m sorry.  You’ve never met…
Tim: You know, I went into a bar nearby and tried to get a job and they wouldn’t hire me.
Me:  I don’t think that had anything to do with the fact that you are Jewish (I wanted to add that I could think of a few other reasons but I thought that unnecessarily rude.)

At this moment, thankfully, some other customers came in and I was able to abandon my conversation with Tim and go about my evening.  Eventually, seeing that we weren’t going to discuss the Torah or sing the Hava Nagila, Tim went on his way to, I can only imagine, torment some other non-Jewish bartender in close proximity.

Fast forward about 2 hours.

The owner of a nearby bar (and a friend and occasional blog reader and commenter under the assumed email “OBTampons”) walked in, sat at the bar, ordered a Bud Lite and decided to unload his guilt.

OB Tampons: I think I might have done something wrong.  I told Tim you were Jewish

Well, at least the mystery was solved.  After a bit of verbal berating I decided to just accept my lot in life.  I was stuck with Tim.  I would just have to deal with the unavoidable face-melting at some point every single Thursday night for the rest of the foreseeable future.  But the thing was that on this particular week I was working two night shifts in a row.  And wouldn’t you know it, the next night at 9:30pm, a little earlier than usual, in walked Tim. He ordered a Heineken from my coworker (but not until she checked with me to make sure I serve him because “he seemed like a person I wouldn’t serve..” She clearly knows me too well).  I walked over a few minutes later to check and see if he needed something else and he looked at me, with a very serious expression and said,


He promptly walked out into the night.  My life.  Sometimes it is just too much.

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.

Tip #2 on Being a Good Bar Customer

18 Dec

(You can read Tip #1 here.)

Never argue with your bartender about the price of your drink.  Especially when your bartender is not actually in charge of setting the prices, the management is, with a fair amount of input from the cost of the bottle or the keg itself.  Bars, the good, fair ones at least, do not just pull prices out of their asses.  They are calculated considering the number of shots, neat pours, or pints expected to come out of the given bottle or keg, taking a certain amount of waste into account.  Bars are businesses, after all.  Some bars have to charge more because of their location and the subsequent higher inputs to keep the bar running.  We do not have to do that which means you, the customer, are getting a completely fair price for whatever it is you ordered.  If you want to drink cheaper, drink at home.  Here’s a story.

I just arrived at work and the bar was a little busy following an office Christmas party earlier in the day for a big group of our regulars.  (Read:  everyone was trashed and being super loud.  But that’s okay because it’s a bar and that’s what people do there.)  I had come straight from the library and had a little bit of a headache but was trying my best — not sure how successful I was at this — to come across as a relatively pleasant person.  One of the veins in my right eye was super red and pulsating.  Transitioning into the bar was going to take a little bit of an adjustment period during which time I planned on smiling at people and getting them their drinks, saving all meaningful conversation for a little later.  One of my customers was being, as usual, extremely loud.  Like, crazy loud.  Like yelling to someone who was literally 2 feet away from him loud.  So I made a joke to one of his friends, in good fun, that went a little something like this:

He is talking to someone right in front of him, right?  He’s like one of those guys from those old 90’s commercials for hip-hop compilation CDs where the dude explaining the product is like SCREAMING and you’re all like, “why are you yelling?  I’m right here!”

It was a joke.  I made it obvious that it was a joke.  But I think it pissed off one of his other friends, who had had WAY too much to drink, who was not even the person I was telling the joke to.  Anyway, this guy, we’ll call him Steve, ordered a whisky.  The same whisky he has been drinking for like 3 years.  I poured him his drink, took his twenty, put 8 of it in the register because that is what this particular drink costs, and gave him his $12 change.  He gave me the stink eye.  Even before he looked at his correct change he gave me the stink eye.  Whatever.  He felt like picking a fight.  So then this interaction happened:

Steve:  Um.  A Bulleit Rye is $8 now?

Me:  A Bulleit Rye has always been 8.  It’s 7 during happy hour, which ends at 8 o’clock, so now it’s 8:30 and so the Bulleit is $8.

Steve:  That’s too expensive.

Me:  Well, I don’t see how it’s too expensive today but it was fine a week ago but, you know, I don’t set the prices.  So, if you have a problem with the price, you have to talk to the boss.  I have nothing to do with it.  I just charge what I am told to charge.

Steve:  I hope you know that I just paid barely twice as much as what you just charged me for 4 drinks.

Me:  I highly doubt that’s the truth.  But maybe you got one for free.  Also, it was happy hour so they were a buck cheaper.

At this point I am getting more than slightly irritated but trying hard to hold my temper.  Trying to give him a little drunk wiggle room to fix the way he was coming across.  He ignored the wiggle room.

Steve:  (In the rudest most condescending voice ever) Well, you need to learn how to take care of your regulars.

Okay.  I’m sorry.  What?  So, again, I refer you to Tip #1 during which I explained how it is not okay ever, under any circumstance, to ask for a buyback.  You know what that does?  It means that the bartender never wants to give you a buyback again.  And you know what?  That’s her prerogative (totally never knew there were two ‘r’s in that).  The buyback, as I believe I have mentioned before, is a privilege, not a rule.  It is me as a bartender, and my establishment as a bar, telling you we think you are awesome and want you to keep coming back all the time.  And you know what this interaction was?  Decidedly not awesome.

Me:  (Hands shaking with anger.  Also, at this point I have slid his $2 tip back towards him and told him I am not interested in his money)  So let me get this straight.  I just got here. I have now served you 1 drink and you want me to give it to you for free?

He wouldn’t look at me.  So I turned on my heal and huffed down the bar.  And then I decided I couldn’t let it go because, really, when can I?  So I got the price book, took out a red pen, highlighted the cost of the drink he was arguing with me over and shoved it under his nose.  (This, I admit, was overkill.  Sue me.)

Me:  See?  Eight dollars.  Deal with it.

I then restormed off down the bar and seethed.  But, as a bartender, I obviously couldn’t seethe for too long so, after a few choice comments to a friend of mine, I went about my business, deciding not to let Steve ruin my night or the night of any of my other customers. I would venture to say I was more smiley than usual, to prove a point.  Then Steve called me down to the end of the bar.  I didn’t expect an apology but I expected something along the lines of “blah blah blah, that got out of hand, are we cool?” which we wouldn’t have been but I’m about keeping the peace for the most part so I probably would have lied and said we were.  But no.  In his hand he had another 20 which he then shoved toward me and said, in a snide tone,

Take this.  It isn’t about the money.

Clearly it is about him, the righteous one, teaching me how to do my job.  It is him teaching me how to treat people. It is him informing me about the way that service industry people should treat their customers, without for a second giving thought to the obligation the one being served has to treat their bartender, waiter, barista, as a human being.  I, obviously, didn’t take it.  Not when he tried to give it to me, and not when he gave it to his friends to give to me.  That money was rude, condescending, asshole money.  Not interested in that kind of money.  I only like sparkling, happy, money.  I’m picky.  Also, it made me feel dirty.  Maybe I am analyzing something through a gendered lens inappropriately, but there is something about being a woman and having someone prove their point by shoving money at you that just feels…icky.  Maybe it’s the case for everyone.  Who knows.

So we’ll see what happens next time I see him.  But, for now, I leave you, friends, with this tasty nugget:  a few years ago this same Steve was arrested for pissing on the outside of a bar after he and his friend, who were behaving badly (surprise!) got kicked out of said bar.  So, there’s that.

Tip #1 on Being a Good Bar Customer

10 Dec

Don’t ask for buybacks.  Under any circumstance.  Ever.  Buybacks are a privilege bestowed upon you by a bartender who thinks you are awesome and who thinks you are deserving of a free beverage.  (And, let it be said, also thinks you will tip them appropriately for the gesture, maybe even enough that they can put some of said tip into the register.)  The second you request that privilege, it disappears.  Poof!  Quite possibly never to be seen again.  Here, let me give you an example about how to get a buyback.

I have a customer who comes in often, does work on his computer, drinks some stuff, leaves.  Sometimes he feels like chatting, sometimes not so much.  I pretty much leave it up to him.  He is always polite.  I like him.  He’s nice.  I never have an overwhelming urge to roll my eyes when I see him walk through the door.  Generally, I give him his third drink on the house.  Sometimes he has a shot.  If I haven’t had a lot of long-staying customers that day I might give him the shot on the house, also.  (I usually allow myself a certain percentage of the ring in buybacks, and if I haven’t bought many people things that day, I throw a little extra the way of my regular customers, you know, to say “thanks, I think you’re great please never stop coming in because you’re nice and you help me pay my rent.”)  Sometimes he leaves me 10 bucks.  Sometimes even more.  Either way I am happy.  If I feel as though the tip it too generous, say 20 bucks, I might put 10 of it in the register.  Then the bar wins, I win and the customer wins.  Everyone is happy.  So now let me give you an example of how not to get a buyback.

I have this couple that comes in on Sundays.  They’re pleasant enough but just sort of irk me.  Especially the female half.  She has this entitlement thing about her and she thinks we’re best friends.  Also, sometimes she carries around this little plastic squirt bottle full of water and she randomly sprays her hair with it.  I guess she thinks it makes her hair look better.  I think it makes her hair, and her, look weird.  I usually buy her and her boyfriend back a drink or two not because I particularly like them, or because they are good tippers, but because they are pleasant enough and, although I do have an urge to roll my eyes when I see them coming through the door, the urge isn’t overwhelming and I think that says something.  Also, my boss likes them.  That’s the real reason.  It’s like a professional courtesy.  Anyway, so yesterday.

Yesterday I got to work and found the bar a complete mess.  Apparently, the plumbers were there to replace the toilet in the ladies room and to fix the pipes in the mens room, pipes that were threatening to spew yucky stuff everywhere at any moment.  I was annoyed with the mess but was happy with the fact that they had placed the old toilet from the ladies room on the curb, giving me hours of entertainment as I watched passersby (and my own customers) pose with the toilet and take photos.  Anything for a good laugh, I say.  Anyway, when they finished working they decided to stay and have a few beers.  Okay.  I figured I would get them a few rounds because (1) they had done work on the bathroom which was appreciated (2) they seemed to want to drink a lot and (3) they were responsible for the placement of the toilet on the street which, as just mentioned, was hilarious and great.  So, okay.  I decided to look past the occasional inappropriate comments being made by the older of the two plumbers.  I also decided to try not to be annoyed at having to refuse a drink about 15 times.  I just thought “okay, he just had his hands all over a toilet (ew!), I will cut him some slack and not really talk to him.”  So, as a mature person, I just decided to avoid his side of the bar entirely unless I saw he and his younger, more polite, friend was in need of a refill.  It went more or less okay.  Then he noticed the couple I was talking about before sitting on the other side of the bar.  Apparently, the male half had given the names of these plumbers to my boss, hence the job.  So, the plumbers bought the couple a few drinks and, eventually, made their way down to the end of the bar to hang out with them.  After all was said and done and the plumbers asked for their check, they had been there, drinking, for at least 3 hours and, with their beers combined with the ones they bought for the couple, they had amassed a sizeable tab, especially considering nothing anyone in the foursome drank was particularly pricey.  I added the tab all together.  It came to just under $100 and I was fairly certain I had forgotten to write down a few things.  I decided, after taking the above listed reasons into consideration, to charge them $72.  That’s called a deal.  I walked over to where they were sitting and said,

“Hey, I got you a few rounds.  Cheers.  Oh, and thanks for the toilet on the street.”

I then walked away to give them some time to sign their tab and do all that.  As I walked away I heard the female of the couple say,

“Wow, that’s a lot of money.  I bet she didn’t give you anything free.  You have to ask her.  That’s just too much.”

I was mad.  So I decided to avoid that side of the bar in order to not have to deal with what I knew was coming.  Also, what did she know about what, how much, and for how long the plumbers had been drinking.  She herself had racked up a $20 tab, most of which the plumbers were paying for!  So rude!  Eventually, the couple called me down to the end.  The plumber then looked at me and said

“Did you include the last round on here?”

I gave him the benefit of the doubt.  I thought to myself, self, maybe he is just making sure he is being charged for all the things he ordered.  Maybe he thought his tab was too low and wanted to make sure that I had put everything on there, that I wasn’t going to charge the couple for any of the drinks.

“Yup.  You told me to put the round on your card, so I did.”

The plumber looked at me, confused.  He then looked at his company, confused.  Then the lady, who I guess decided she would help fix the situation because she is so incredibly beloved by the staff of my bar and therefore so deserving of all the drinks for free, clarified for me.

“I think he meant did he get anything for free.  Like, did you buy us all some drinks.  You know, free drinks, because we had a lot.”

Commence deep breathing exercises and a whole-hearted attempt to keep my left eyebrow, which has a mind of its own, under control.  Pretty sure my face turned pink because my ears felt hot.  Deep inhale, and

“I already told you I got you some of your drinks.  And just so you know” at this point I looked around the group of them, stopping meaningfully on each one of them, a skill I learned from my uncle, “the more you ask for buybacks, the less you’re gonna get.”

I walked away.  I might have stormed.  Whatever, details.  As I walked away I heard the lady say,

“Well, the other bartenders here are really nice.”


Seriously?  First of all, as I believe I have said before, there is not a magical force field that separates the bartender from the patrons, although sometimes I wish there were.  I can hear you.  Second of all, I don’t even like you!  I don’t even want to give you buybacks ever!  You give me a headache!  You expect me to make you our $5 bloody marys with Stoli and charge you the same as if I made it with the well.  Why?  Because you’re a jerk!  And you don’t understand that the bar is a business.  Am I the nicest bartender in the world?  No.  Am I a little bit surly at times?  Yes.  Have I put up with your shit for the last 4 years?  Yes.  I think I deserve a medal.

Don’t Be An Asshole

3 May

Last Thursday night I was, as I am every Thursday night, behind the stick of the bar in which I work.  It had been one of those days.  Specifically, it had been the day that I was harassed by someone in, and on my way home from, The Home Depot near where I live.  I was not in the mood.  But, in an effort at being professional, I tried to put my day’s anger out of my mind.  After all, it wasn’t the fault of my customers that some asshat in an SUV had stalked me through a hardware store and then tried to give me a ride home.  The night went along more or less without a hitch…until about 3:15.  We have this customer who comes in after his restaurant closes most nights of the week. I find him incredibly annoying.  Also, weird.  Annoying and weird.  But as long as I ask him how his night went, give him the 5 tastes of beer he wants and then the actual pint he decides upon, everything is more or less okay.  I try not to talk to him much but to be pleasant when do.  Generally he only stays for one or two, generally he is gone by 12:30 or so.  This past week was different.

He, I’ll call him Daniel, came in at the usual time with a few of his coworkers.  They were celebrating the return of one of the other employees of the restaurant who had been injured the week before.  We were all happy he was back at work and smiling.  Daniel had his customary two beers and then the third.  After the third beer, about 2 1/2 hours after he originally showed up, he decided to go home.  I was happy.  Then, 15 minutes later, he was back.  That is never a good sign.  Generally I find that people who come in late night looking for that one last drink are the most problematic of them all.  Sometimes you don’t know how much they have had and that last one puts them over the edge.  Sometimes you know how much they’ve had but, since they have been there for awhile and you know them, you feel a little bad cutting them off even though you know you should.  You don’t cut them off and you always, every single time, regret it and swear next time that happens you’ll do it.  But then it happens again and you don’t.  Vicious cycle.  Anyway, I have no idea of what this guy’s tolerance is whatsoever.  I only ever see him have one or two.  But I knew when he walked back in the door that this was the drink that was going to do it.  He ordered a Guinness.  With a 4.2% ABV, I figured this was a safe and smart order.  He started asking my coworker a question.  She said she didn’t want to talk about it.  Then he did the thing which I find that men often do:  he asked her again.  Again and again and again.  He phrased it differently.  Tried to guess the answer.  Over and over and over.  Finally she, and I, had had enough.  It was my bar – she was barbacking – so I decided to step in and ask him to drop it.  As I see it, as a bartender, it is my job to make sure that my clients and coworkers feel comfortable and safe and not annoyed.  He argued with me, told me he wasn’t talking to me, that I interrupted.  She fled to the bathroom, I walked away to the other side of our very long bar, leaving him alone.  A few moments later a song came on that sounded more appropriate at a funeral than in a bar, so I walked down the other end, past Daniel, to skip to the next one.  He started up with me again.  I ignored him.  And then, again.  Clearly this is a man who doesn’t take no, or drop it for that matter, for an answer. Finally, after another pointless back-and-forth, I got so annoyed by his condescension and accusatory tone that I asked him to finish his beer and go.  He said he could go somewhere else.  So I said fine, and I took his beer and pulled it in front of me, a sign that it was no longer his to drink.  He looked at me and said,

“Are you drunk?”

“No,” I responded, “but I’m fairly certain you are.  I’m working.  This is me doing my job.”

And then he said it, “go fuck yourself,” and he stormed off.

Now I have been a person far longer than I have been a bartender, but 95% of the times I have been told off in one way or another have been when I have been behind the bar.  And 95% of those times have been by men.  It’s something that I never get used to and something I completely don’t understand.  Being called a bitch.  Told I am “disrespectful.”  Informed that if a girl at my bar has a tattoo on her lower back that is exposed it is someone’s “right to take a photo of it,” that if she didn’t want it looked at she wouldn’t have gotten a tattoo there.  Being instructed to “smile, it’s not so bad.”  Having dollar bills hurled at me over a bar as if I were a piece of trash.  I am told by friends not to let it bother me, and it’s not as if it diminishes my feelings of self-worth or anything, but it still doesn’t feel good.  All I am doing is trying to create an environment that is safe and enjoyable to the majority of people in it.  If you are the one that is standing in the way of the obtainment of that environment, then I am going to ask you to stop and, if you don’t, to leave.  And your meager tips aren’t going to stand in the way of me holding you accountable.  I don’t need the money that badly and I don’t need you to come back.  I find that the people I stand up for, the people I step in for, make much more loyal customers than the drunken idiot I tolerate.  That’s the way it is.  That is my job. Don’t blame me for the fact that you misbehaved, blame yourself.  Go home and think about it.  Figure out why it is that you are not able to act like a normal person in the world. Alcohol is not an excuse and it’s not a license to do, and say, whatever you want, even though a lot of people think it is.  All you have to do is abide by one simple rule:  don’t be an asshole.  Now is that so hard?