The Ugly Truth
Bar and Nightclub Etiquette
What Not to Do:
- If you go into a busy bar…BEFORE you order, know what you are ordering. I have never understood how people wait for a drink (say they have been waiting forever, maybe 90 seconds) and when the bartender finally asks what they want they either don’t know or they proceed to “string order” (order another and then another after the 1st verbal order, order all at once people). What were you doing for the eternity you had to wait for a drink? Pondering the weather? Also have your form of payment READY…and don’t split the payment 5 ways (cheap ass) or have the bartender check to see if there’s $ left on your broke ass debit card. There’s not.
- Bartenders aren’t match makers bro. If you are too much of a pussy to go up to someone and talk to them, don’t send them a drink. Just go home. You have no game. I’ve had to flat out get security for a dude to pay me because the girl walked away (as they often do) after getting her free drink and I said to the guy paying “look it ain’t free because you didn’t score.” The tool lost his shit!
- If you are married and come to Las Vegas for bottle service…why? I mean maybe for a bachelor party, but still…why? You are married. That’s a single man’s playground. If you do come and you are married do not wear your wedding ring and then proceed to take it off when you get “white girl'” wasted. Someone has already spotted that ring on you (most likely your bottle service waitress) and you just became super gross. This happens more then it should. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” was a quote that was probably coined pre-smart phones. No one can get away with anything anymore. And frankly, why get married if you want to bone other chicks anyway?
- Don’t ask employees at bars and nightclubs for drugs. Many times we would have someone who would sit down for bottle service and asked an employee for drugs right off the bat. We then proceeded to take their credit card and charge the full amount of their table minimum to their card. Have them sign it, and have security escort them out. Even if you have not had one sip of your 3 bottles. Sorry loser.
- Don’t claim YOU are a bartender too. Just because you made some below average moscow mules at your friends birthday party one time or you worked at some shitty bar for two seconds, eight years ago, doesn’t mean you are a bartender.
- Don’t say hook it up, we know that means NO TIP. Also any good bartender can make a short pour look like a longer pour. It’s the same amount of booze people.
- Don’t ask for less ice, this means more juice or soda in your mixed drink and your drink becomes weaker not stronger. It should be obvious, but apparently not.
- Don’t expect non alcoholic drinks for free, except tap water. If you go into 7-11 and grab a coke or a Red Bull you have to pay for it or you are stealing, correct? It’s the same thing at a bar. And if YOU do ask for tap water, it’s ok that you can’t afford bottle water, but you have to wait your turn. Unless your friend is puking, there is no reason why someone who is ordering something for free, that is not tipping, and most likely hasn’t been to the bar all night, gets to jump the sea of people waiting patiently for a drink and be first served. Your last.
- If you have to ask how much a drink is, you probably can’t afford it.
- If you cannot afford to tip, don’t go out. A lot of employees get zero dollar paychecks and have to claim a certain amount of tips for tax purposes on their sales. If you tip zero the bartender is paying you to drink. Not cool.
- Don’t return your drink and ask the bartender to make it more strong, especially if it’s a pussy drink. They will not “fix” it (add more alcohol if it’s a nightclub under any circumstance unless you pay for an extra shot). A restaurant may let you. In cases like these, I use to add alcohol only inside the straw so all they could taste was booze in the first sip. It would shut them up. Another bartender I worked with “remade” a drink I originally made, these girls hated me for no reason, because they said their Sex on the beach wasn’t strong enough. Seriously? He took it back put more cranberry in it gave it to them and they said it was “perfect!” No lie, you can’t make this shit up and it happens all the time.
- Don’t ask Your Bartender or Server on a date. It’s awkward and corny. It is this person’s job to be nice to you. There are extremely rare exceptions, but chances are pretty slim they want to hang out with you.
- Do not come to a busy bar during prime time and expect a seat. If you HAVE to sit down make a table reservation in advanced, cough up the money for bottle service, or stay home if you want to be cozy. ***Also Do Not move chairs around. This isn’t your home. Why would you go to a place of business and become their own personal interior decorator? Entitled much?
- Don’t order craft cocktails at a nightclub. They usually won’t have them, and if they do it takes a lot longer to make so be patient and tip for the service you are being provided. It’s not AS infuriating getting a shitty tip off a few beers or vodka sodas then a drink that takes precision and extra care and time to make.
- Be patient. You came to this busy venue because you knew it would be a good night. If the bartender has 14 drinks lined up in front of them they have to make, it’s not like they are having a picnic over there and ignoring you on purpose. (Unless of course your an entitled dickhead that doesn’t tip and string orders)
- Waving at someone is never an appropriate way to get a bartenders attention. EYE CONTACT people. If someone ever waved at me I would wave 👋🏾 right back and say hi very sarcastically and then go back to what I was doing. This is a method that my grandpa used to get the waiters attention many many years ago, and it was still mortifying even back then. My grandfather was born in 1914. Don’t be a muppet. Times have changed. It’s rude.
- You cannot be served after last call. I don’t care who you are, if you just got there, or you are going to “tip me fat” (yeah right). It is illegal. This job pays peoples rent and puts food on the table. Why would a bartender or server chance breaking the law and getting fired for you? Even if you are an amazing tipper. Unless you are giving me maybe 30-50k (it fluctuates depending on how much I like where I work) it’s not worth it. I have to go look for a new job, and it usually takes awhile to find the perfect spot for me, so I am going to be out of work and I need to pay my bills. No one has ever taken me up on that offer, but it shuts them up.
- This is not a Barter system. The bartender did not just pull a drink price out of his ass. If he says it’s $12 for a Jameson and ginger ale, that is what it really costs. Would you go into Nordstrom’s and state that you will give them $46 for a $55 dollar shirt? No because it isn’t a flea market where you expect to find a deal. And yes I know, at your favorite dive bar in Ohio you can get a Jameson and ginger ale for $7. We are not in Ohio sweetie, and I’m sure the rent and overhead of that dive bar is a hell of a lot cheaper then say the 20,000 square foot piece of prime real estate you are standing in right now.
- Realize once again this is a job for people. The main reason they don’t over pour your drink (make it ridiculously strong) is because they will probably get fired if they do. It’s considered stealing, my friend. Also if you are getting constantly stiffed on the tip it feels like you are working for free. Do you go to work for free? I didn’t think so.
Two Very Important Sidenotes
I know this is not everyone, and there are a number of great regulars and guests that come into these venues all the time. And thank you! Because of people like you, a lot of hospitality employees are able to make a great living and actually enjoy their job.
Unfortunately there are a lot of terrible bartenders and servers out there, so this doesn’t actually apply for them. It sucks if you get them, but it sucks worse for the next good bartender that serves you, believe me.
I know a lot of people that have never been in the industry that ask me questions like…”Why is that bartender so mad or stuck up?”
If they are a shitty bartender it’s probably because they are stressed out, can’t handle it, and hate their job because they aren’t good at it.
If they are a Rockstar bartender it’s because they have just dealt with a lot of situations from 1-19, see above