Things You Should Never Do at a Bar, From Bartender of 10 Years


  • I’ve been bartending for over 10 years, and I’m still frustrated with the behavior of my customers.
  • You can’t get my attention by yelling your name or waving money around when you’re clearly busy.
  • Never assume a bartender’s sexuality. It is best not to change specialty drinks.

After 10+ years of work, I can say that bartending is not easy.We work long hours, physically and mentally hard.

Avoid these careless blunders the next time you have a pint or mulg with your buddies.

get uncomfortable trying to get the bartender’s attention

The most common offenses are waving cash at the bartender, yelling his name, or trying to get his attention while he’s doing something else.

Most of the time, just being at the bar without a fresh drink is enough to let the bartender know you want a drink.

If you don’t think the bartender really knows you’re waiting for your order, eye contact and a nod will suffice.

Step into the bar when you don’t know what you want

If the bar is busy and you have to wait to order a drink, take that time to think about what you’re ordering.

Don’t lose sight of where you’re standing next to the bartender by saying ‘I don’t know’ or turning around and asking your friend what they want. they don’t have time for that.

Assuming the Bartender’s Gender or Sexuality

Bartender pouring drinks on tap at bar for smiling customer

No need to cheat to buy a drink at the bar.

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock



Assuming a bartender’s gender or sexuality is a great way to get ignored for the rest of the night.

If they want to flirt with you, you’ll know.

order drinks without ID

Nobody cares about the story behind why you don’t have an ID.

Bartenders are usually willing to risk their jobs or get into legal trouble just to help you.

Have the bartender play music

If there is no jukebox, the bar has no interest in listening to your playlist.

Do not ask the bartender to change the music, play songs or adjust the volume. They are not DJs.

Change special cocktails on the menu

Bartender making old fashioned cocktails at the bar

Bartenders usually know best when it comes to mixed drinks.

Maxim Fesenko/Shutterstock



If you want to make your own cocktail recipe, make it at home.

There is a 9 in 10 chance that the modified cocktail tastes like garbage and is sent back. Just order the drink that’s right for you on the list.

Tell the bartender the name of the tab

When asked for a tab name, give the bartender your last name.

I know you think you’re the only Brandon here, but you’re not.

Have the bartender remember your drink order

They may remember it, or confuse it with other bartenders.

Either way, it’s better to know your order.

Waste your time asking, “What do you have?”

Can we really start listing everything we have? It’s a bar.

On the other hand, when asked, “What pilsner are you drinking?” or “What kind of gin do you have?” If you need help figuring out what you want to drink, that helps us narrow it down a bit.

take up more space than necessary

Three people drinking beer at a bar and watching a sporting event

Being rowdy and taking up too much space at a bar can be rude.

Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock



Be aware of other people’s spaces at the bar.

Do not lean over to occupy multiple seats or leave trash on the patio. Just to be on the safe side, don’t leave dirty glasses behind while it’s crowded. Bring an empty glass when you come for your next drink.

The less time bartenders have to spend cleaning up after you, the more time they can spend making everyone’s drinks.

leave only verbal hints

Bartenders love compliments, but they don’t pay the bill.

Remember we work for money. If you really think they make the best margaritas in town, show them a big tip.



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