11 Easy Ways to Piss off your Bartender

This may come as a surprise to some people, but bartenders (and by association, those employed in the service industry in general; waiters, baristas etc.) are people too. I know that our abilities make us seem like mindless, octo-armed automatons, kind of like a cross between Shiva and Iron Man (Iron ShivaMan?) but we feel happiness, we get upset, and we can sure as hell get angry, just like everybody else.


I suppose that the one thing standing between bartenders and customers is in fact, the bar itself and the power that comes with it. Don’t get me wrong, some customers are awesome people and I’ve had great thought provoking conversations with 99% of them. However, having been a barman for a whopping grand total of *inhales* 8 months now, I’ve managed to compile a list (with the help of a few colleagues) of things that 1% of clueless patrons have done, and that, if you’re a thoughtful human being, should not do upon entering a pub/bar. Or, that you should definitely do…if you want to be shown the swift end of the door that you came in from. Here are the easiest ways to piss off your bartender:

11 Easy ways to piss off your Bartender

#1 – Don’t order drinks one by one in a round (ideally, order them all at the same time): This seems simple doesn’t it? It’s also the number one thing that most eejiotic customers overlook. This may seem unfathomable, but bartenders can handle more than one drink at once, both mentally and physically. We may not have a super-computer brain or as many arms as Ultron, but we have tills to make lists and pride ourselves on being able to carry more than one drink at a time (a friend of mine can do five glasses at once, but she’s just weird). Therefore we do not need customers to add drinks to their order every time that we return to them…especially if it’s one drink at a time. Strangely, there are other people in the bar and they need serving as well. Asking for and ordering your round at once, or in larger groups, not only means that your server can move on to help another customer (and y’know…do their job) but you also get your drinks quicker. Everybody wins.

Iron Man + Shiva = Ultron (a six armed robot with a bartender’s temper)

#2 – NEVER order the Guinness last!: If there’s one that’s more annoying than drinks in a round being ordered in singular intervals, it’s the last drink of that order being “…and a Guinness.” This grinds my gears to the point where they are rock polished by the time that they’ve finished grinding. Anybody that drinks Guinness on a regular basis knows that the beverage needs to settle twice before being served (a massive marketing ploy that went a bit too far, but hey *shrugs* what can you do?). By ordering it last, the only thing you accomplish is further angering your bartender by moaning and badgering constantly with the phrase “Where’s my Guinness?” Know this; if you order the Guinness last, your bartender will probably just take their sweet time pouring it and make you wait. Order it first, and “surprise surprise,” you’ll get it quicker/at the same time as your other drinks. You get a drink , the barman can move on, we all go home happy (except the Guinness). Order it last…and well…don’t be surprised if the bartender goes Super Saiyan.

the usual reaction to “…And a Guinness”

#3 – Don’t try and argue with your bartender whilst intoxicated: Seriously, you won’t win. If you’re as pissed as a newt and your barman is stone cold sober, I’m afraid to say that you’re on the losing side. The barkeep’s decision is final, always. I’ve been called various names, had a pepper pot thrown at me and even somebody threaten to call their solicitor because I had refused them service. One for being rude, the other because they were so drunk that Bambi on ice would have looked more sober. Customers, realise that your bartender reserves the right to refuse service. They do NOT need to give you a reason. If they think that you’ve had too much to drink, the odds are that you probably have. If you’re horrible to them, then surprisingly, they can be a horrible back, and unfortunately their power outweighs yours. I’m not saying that all bartenders have the authority to be bastards without reason, that’s just abuse of power. I’m just saying that, maybe, in your inebriated state, think before you start arguing and hurling abuse at the person who’s been running around like a blue-nosed fly serving you drinks all night.

Tapper makes it look so easy

#4Do not try and order drinks after the last bell: You will not get served. Full stop. No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it. When the last bell tolls, it’s “Goodnight Sweet Prince.” A bartender’s evening doesn’t end when a customer’s does, ie: when drinks stop being served. They still have the venue to close down/clean up, as well as homes to go back to (just like you! Our world’s a strange place, no?). Most places have a concrete closing time and they stick to it, and no kind of protest from customers is going to change that, whether you go on hunger strike, or organise a march through the pub, closing time is closing time (it’s like it’s in the phrase or something…weird).

There’s always one

#5 Do not snap/whistle/wave money at your bartender: Some of us my look it, but to quote The Elephant Man, we are not animals. You will get served when it is your turn. Believe it or not, bartenders do have eyes, and can see the order in which people arrive and therfore who to serve next. They do not need you jumping around like Tigger on ecstasy waving money in the air like you’re in a strip club. We will serve you when the time is right. Patience young Padawan. While I’m on the subject of waving money in the air, nothing seems more flippant than sliding your money across the bar. By doing this, your cash is going to practically bathe in beer (something I am greatly jealous of) and not be very pleasant to handle when it comes to cashing up at the end of the night. Put it in our hands, where it belongs.

#6 – Do not bunny around with money: Make sure to have your method of payment ready to go. Don’t faff around with change that “you might have” and definitely don’t tell the barman that you have exact change AFTER they’ve cashed off your order (this one’s mainly for me, as my maths is shockingly bad). In short, this saves time.

seriously, some people have more coins than Scrooge McDuck

#7 – Don’t put crisp packs, cigarette buts and used tissues in glasses: we may wash all of our glassware at regular intervals, but somebody’s got to get all of that rubbish out beforehand, and I’ll give you three guesses who (no, not Ultron). I know that we look dirty, but shockingly bartenders are hygienic people/have to keep health and safety at a certain level, and as a result do not want to fondle your dirty, snot filled tissues and used crisp packets. There are bins. Use them.

no other words

#8 – NEVER reach into the tip jar: If I was to reach into your wallet and take cash out, you wouldn’t be too chuffed would you? I believe some would call that theft. Trying to take tips is the same, regardless of whether or not it was meant in jest. Reaching into the tip jar is a good way to lose a hand (some bartenders aren’t as cute’n’cuddly as me).

#9 – Don’t move furniture without asking: I’m not talking about altering seating. I’m fully aware that group sizes vary and despite what you may think, bartenders are not all furniture Nazis. HOWEVER, shifting tables around is a good way to anger those serving you. Not all bartenders can be built like the Incredible Hulk on TRT, and when you’ve cleared out of the pub, it’s us that have to put everything back the way it was ready for the next day. Accompany this with tables jamming and in some cases breaking and you can see why we get a tiny bit miffed when customers have played Tetris with the tables.

it’s kind of like this, but with tables

#10 – Do not reach over the bar: It’s there for a reason, to separate inebriated customers and the people serving them. Never reach for drinks on the other side of the bar, and definitely do not reach for any of the bar staff. Bartenders always work as part of a team…well, more like a wolf pack really. If you try to touch one of us, then the rest of the pack will be all over you like a Spartan stampede. Keep your hands to yourself, things are much better that way.

You have been warned

#11 – The customer is not always right: Unbelievably, your bartender has, at some point or another, been taught the legal limits and requirements for pints, wine and spirit mixers. Do not try and alter this or you will be the recipient of a permanent stain from the shit-list paintbrush or even the ban hammer if you continue. Some glasses are pint to rim, others are pint to line to allow for a larger head. A “pint” as a unit of measurement is a volume, and the container it comes in can vary. Asking for a top up in a marked glass cannot be done, so don’t ask, simples. If you ever use the phrase “The customer is always right”…well:


Well, that’s most of the venting out of the way. Obviously, I could go on forever, but I have things to do and drinks to serve. Of course, these are not things that ALL customers do. I would have quit bartending a long time ago if that were the case. My main point is, well…put yourself in the bartender’s shoes the next time that you’re in a pub, or your waiter/waitress’s in a restaurant, no matter how beer soaked and food filled they might be. Appreciate that these guys are being paid basically peanuts, until London living wage becomes compulsory (hell, a peanut or two would be great compared to minimum wage, especially living in London), that tips aren’t great because “it’s not British culture” (another comment that I’m tired of hearing) and that for six hours a night they are, more often than not, running around like Sonic the Hedgehog trying to get everybody served. On the flipside have a chat with your bartender, especially if you can clearly see that their shift has gone horribly. You never know how much that can brighten their evening up.*phew* Rant over. Pint anybody?



2 thoughts on “11 Easy Ways to Piss off your Bartender

  1. I found like blog super informative! (Especially the part about how full the reciprocal should be changes with each different pint!!).
    Although, I don’t feel like I am guilty of any of these, I will be sure not ever to be.
    And in answer to your question. Yes, let’s always go for a pint.

    Much love xxxx

    P.S, I love how Ultron is a tag (great references!)

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