Things you can relate to if you’ve worked in a bar

By: Michelle Bourke

Working in a bar can be great fun, but when it’s bad, it can be really bad. You realise that some people are a lot more dumb than you thought possible. I could probably rant all day about this but that’d get a bit boring, so here are some of the things that get on bartenders nerves, so now you know, you can stop doing them.

1).  People walking in after you’ve closed.

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While I understand that if we’re closed the doors should probably be locked, but we’re only human, and every now and then someone forgets. I don’t understand however, how someone can waltz into a bar that is completely empty at 2 O’Clock in the morning, and think it’s still open. If every member of staff is cleaning something and there’s not a single customer in sight I think it’s pretty obvious we’re closed, so please don’t walk up to the bar to order a drink. Just leave.

2). Ordering Coffee at last orders.

Chances are your bartender has started closing the bar before people have left so that they actually get out of work at a reasonable time. If you’re to choose between cleaning down the beer trays or the coffee machine, you’re going to choose the coffee machine, because who is drinking coffee at half 12 on a Saturday night? If you’re one of those people that orders coffee at ridiculous times at least have the decency to not beg them to turn the machine back on. While you might get to walk out of here at 1 am, we’ve to stay and clean up after you, so please don’t give us more work.

3). People that think you care about their life story.

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I get paid to be polite and serve you alcohol. I don’t get paid to be your psychiatrist too. So please save the life stories for someone else. I know bartenders are there to chat to, but when it’s a busy Saturday night, I don’t have time to be consoling you. There’s people waiting to be served alcohol, which is actually in my job description.

4). Ripped up beer mats.

Beer mats are there to stop mess, not to create a bigger one. Yet, for some reason, people find it fun to take more beer mats than they need and to rip them up and leave them all over the table. Sometimes they’re even considerate enough to shove them down the end of their pint glass, so I get to stick my hand in it and fish out the soggy pieces of beer mat at the end of the night. If you’re one of those people, please stop.

5). People that ask for their phone to be charged.  

People think for some reason that we keep one of each type of charger behind the bar just for them. If you want your phone charged do it before you leave, but please don’t ask for a charger off us. Every now and then someone might have a charger for you, but chances are we’re too busy to be running around looking for a charger to suit your phone. If you’ve the charger for your phone and just need a socket to charge it in then no problem, if not then please don’t even ask. We sell alcohol, we don’t lend out chargers.

6). People wanting to pay separately.

I’ve no problem with people wanting to tell me their order all at once, in fact it’s easier sometimes, if you know you’re all ordering the same drink then it’ll make it quicker. But let me know you’re paying separately before I put it into the till as one order. If you’re all paying by cash and the bars not too busy then it’s ok, but when one person wants to pay by card and the other two by cash, it becomes messy. Please just buy in rounds, or make it clear at the start that you’re paying separately. I’ll be honest, I’m a bartender, not a mathematician. Maths was never my strong point, so trying to divide an order into three when I’ve ten people staring at me waiting to be served isn’t going to end well.

7). People with children being shocked that they’ve to leave at a certain time.

During the day pubs are fine places for children, a lot of the clientele are just getting food and maybe the one pint. There’s a reason why at a certain of night, if you’ve children with you, you’ll be asked to leave. Because let’s be honest pubs at night aren’t really the place for children to be. So I don’t understand how some parents act so put out when they’re told to leave. It’s something that I’ve seen time and time again and it just baffles me. It’s the law for them to be out by a certain time, so no amount of arguing with bar staff or bouncers will change it.

8). Ordering a stout last.

This is probably on every ‘what bartenders hate’ list ever, but it’s so true. If you order a Guinness last and then stand there glaring at the bartender while they go and serve someone else as they wait on your pint to settle, you are the worst type of customer. If you’re going to order it last expect to be left waiting. Unless you don’t care about the quality of your pint, in which case I’ll top it off right away….

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