What Your Bartender Really Thinks

what your bartender really thinks

A few months ago my buddy Jeremy and I made it a mission to find a bar we could call our own. We’re both graduates of the University of Florida and if there’s one thing college taught us, it’s having a place to knock a few cold ones back on Friday night is a requirement. By the way, Jeremy is the one who introduced The Drunk Pirate to Firefly vodka for all you fans out there. But I digress.

If you’ve read my Top 15 Ways to Save Money When Going Out, then you know that finding and building a solid relationship with your bartender is the key to strong drinks and prompt service all night. Well, following my guidelines we have indeed solidified ourselves as regulars and now enjoy some of the strongest, longest lasting drinks at the bar thanks to our two oh-so-favorite bartenders Matt and Meredith. Our recent accomplishment has convinced me that people need to know more about the people that put the happy in happy hour. Read on to find out what your bartender really thinks.

What tricks do bartenders use to cheat lousy customers?

Auto-gratuity – Many under-appreciated bartenders will turn to the auto-grat button on the cash register to ease the pain of dealing with an especially annoying customer. By automatically charging them gratuity, knowing they’ll be too drunk to notice when they go to pay, the bartender can usually guarantee a respectable tip from even the stingiest jackass.

A$$hole Tax – Run your mouth too much and that $10 Long Island might go up a dollar or five as the night wears on. Knowing that you have no idea how much a drink costs anyway, the bartender overprices the drink and pockets the difference.

Watered Down Drinks – The easiest way for a bartender to own a lousy customer is to make sure the H20 content of his or her drink is kept sufficiently high—ensuring that his or her fun level stays sufficiently low.

Oops All Gone – Sorry, all we had left was Patron—that’ll be your first born son please.

What’s a bartender’s least favorite type of customer?

1. People who snap their fingers – Nothing says please ignore me, I’m a jackass and will likely be a stingy, whiny, pompous jerk when you finally do come over here like someone snapping their fingers.

2. The guy at the bar who thinks he’s the only one who needs a drink – There’s 25 people all waiting to get a drink and all this guy can do is keep yelling out “I need a drink down here!”

3. People who order Amstel Light – You can’t be serious.

4. The guy who orders one drink followed by 6 waters and a napkin – There are people climbing on the ceiling to get another drink and then there’s this guy taking up two seats at the bar—one for himself, the other for all his damn napkins and water glasses.

5. People who don’t have the money ready. – It’s like showing up to a sorority formal without an industrial-size box of condoms—mistakes will be made and consequences will follow.

6. Whiny girls who order twenty cosmos and tip a dollar. – Sorry sweetie. Not even your boyfriend is willing to put up with that kind of treatment without a little payment.

Drinks that will get you laughed at:

1. Fuzzy Navel – Unless you’re a 17-year-old girl with a fake ID, that’s just embarrassing (The Drunk Pirate does not support underage drinking, because that’s just less alcohol for us).

2. Buttery Nipple – Repeat after me. “Just because it sounds funny doesn’t mean you should order it.” This rule also applies to Jägerbombs.

3. Michelob Ultra – Save your dignity and just a order a water with extra lemon—pansy.

4. Sex on the Beach – Like the act it’s named after, this drink is only a good idea in theory.

5. Red Head Slut – As if the name wasn’t warning enough.

6. Anything Blue – Do you really want to start down this path?

7. Anything Pink – The only people I should see carrying around a pink drink are sorority girls and Care bears. And if I’m seeing Care bears, then I had waay too much blue in my drink to begin with.

8. Anything that takes more than 30 seconds to make – Anything taking longer than 30 seconds to make and the bartender is just making shit up as he goes.

What’s the best way to get your bartender’s attention?

1. Call their name – Not to be confused with calling them a name.

2. Smile and make eye contact – Unless you’re a single guy over 50—then you’re just going to creep everyone out.

3. Look sad and in desperate need of a drink – Good alternative to the smile and make eye contact for the single and over 50 crowd.

4. Hold up some dollar dollar bills – The key here is more than one.

James also wanted me to make a note for all our fans out there that this is post number 100. So if you haven’t read the 99 posts before this one, well then get on it, because at this rate it’ll be another 3 years before we make it through the next 100.


  1. Ephemeriis says

    Gotta say, I’ll drink pretty much anything that’s blue… Reminds me of the drinks in Star Trek…

  2. says

    A note on the “no pink drinks” rule: Try ordering a pink gin. It’s pink because of a splash of bitters, and is certainly a no-bullshit find of drink.

    Pour yourself a few ounces of gin, add a few dashes of bitters. Done.

  3. dave says

    I agree with EVERYTHING on these lists except for the pink drink thing..a good cosmo should be a real light pink and those will mess you up!! I drank them for years and had to stop because I would get sooo wasted on them! Fuzzy navel and mich ultra agree!

  4. valentijn says

    hey guys,

    I’m a student from Holland and we only drink beer. We get loads of free beer. Cocktails are expensive the alcohol you get for your money is low. Some facts about Holland your allowed to to smoke and drink when your 16 years old. We don’t have any guns at oll and their prety much never gets someone killed. Everybody drives drunk when you get cauth you get a fine for 500 euros and thats it. I’ve smoked weed while talking to a police officer at the same time I was taking a leak in the middle of the streat. He wanted to fine me for the peeying but I was so drunk I couldn’t find my ID. He laught and said well okay your to fucked up so never mind just go away quik. So ere comes my advice for cheap drinking…. Get to know the bar tender just come in early and make a chat. It,s better to do this with a guy then a girls because she will probably think your hitting on her. Oh and you do know what dutch people are famous for being greedy. So this is advice from the best. But anyway it’s beautifull wetter ouside it’s 11 o clock and I have a hangover but fuck it it,s fryday. So I wish everybody loads of alcohol and a nice evening greatings from Holland P.S. Excuse me for the grammer english is a foreign languege for me

  5. Xavier R. says

    I would say just look for the specials. I live in Richmond, Kentucky and every Wednesday night at the bars it’s “Whiskey Wednesday” and all shots of whiskey are 50cents ( you can’t beat that). There have been night where I just walk in, put 5 bucks on the counter and get super smashed within 10 minutes.
    P.s. I want to go Holland.

  6. ExtraMedium says

    Decided to try the Jägerbomb for the first time a few days ago, got the ‘oops all out’ of Jägermeister. This guide speaks the truth.

  7. bandbandband says

    I also live in richmond KY! WOO go colonels! I LOVEE whiskey wednesdays, best day to get smashed!

  8. Colin says

    As a bartender, I just wanted to chime in for a minute. A lot of this is true: Ordering waters doesn’t bother me, in Wisconsin I can go to jail if cops find out I over served someone and he got into some stuff.

    Also, I don’t give a shit what you order. Pink, Blue, Dutch, Filled with jager, it doesn’t matter. I want your money. That’s it. I have a conversation with you and I agree with you because you will give more money to someone who is more like you. I generally do enjoy people, but I enjoy them more when they give me money. Order whatever you want, don’t be an asshole, and tip me well. Then everything is golden.

  9. Drew says

    I’m also a bartender.. and I’m 100% positive you left some things off the list. As Colin above me noted, its clearly about the money.. it’s a job we do it to make a living. But, there are definitely more kinds of people I don’t like:

    1. People who interrupt my conversation with another guest, just to ask for something useless like a coke or water.. and then don’t tip me for it.

    2. People who make a big deal about needing a drink and getting your attention when it’s busy. But when you to get to them, they don’t know what they want.

    3. People who talk about how well they tip(these kinds of people never tip)

    4. People who come in late, and expect to drink past closing.. as if the rules aren’t the same all over the state.

    5. People who like to spread out at the bar.. it takes up unnecessary space and takes money out of my pocket. Because now, no one can sit there.

    6. And my favorite, regulars who expect all my time. I’m working.

  10. says

    I am a traveler and I usually work as part time bartender whenever I am a different cities. I am currently interested to purchase a travel bartender kit. I hope that I can practice myself even if I am staying in hostel or rented house. I learn a lot from the site and I will be back to read more. Thank you.

  11. Somebody says

    I have never actually been to a bar. I do all my drinking at home or maybe out somewhere in nature. However I will keep this post and comments in mind if I do decide to go to a bar.

  12. Sparky says

    I am a bartender as well, and you got one thing ABSOLUTELY WRONG. We hate, hate, hate our names being called out! We are not blind, we see you. Yelling my name out will just keep you waiting longer.

  13. Joe says

    I’m a bartender at a high end night club, and if people yell my name or wave money at me they are getting ignored. No exceptions. I’m not a stripper, and I know you’re there, screaming my name out just shows me you’re a d-bag and probably won’t tip. Smiling and making eye contact are your best options, that and tip well, your next drink will be quicker.

    No drink will make the bartender laugh at you, only the frat boyfriends getting drunk on $1 night will. For the love of God though never order Mojitos or Lemon Drops.

    Ladies, smiles and cleavage don’t pay my bills. If it doesn’t fold, don’t use it for a tip.

  14. Oli says

    I agree with Joe as another high-end bartender. Give me an order for 10 mojitos and I’ll probably throw them at you. No tip, and I’ll throw them extra-hard.

    Also, waving money usually means you’re going to be a pompous ‘hole who will wait for their 5 whole pennies in change and wander off with ‘em. Some bartenders have been known to snatch notes out of the hands of people like this and walk off with them as tips. I, of course, never see this happen.

    Low-cut tops will make me serve you last so I can enjoy the show for a bit longer. These girls never tip either, so I prefer to get my (lack of) money’s worth.

    Never, ever make me wait for you to ask your horde of friends what they want, then give me a monster order with each friend thinking about what they want only after the one before has decided. When I was in a place where I could get away with it, I’d just shout “too slow” and serve someone else. Also, doing this and then asking to pay separately will probably result in death by fire.

    Again, smile sweetly and maybe give me a subtle wave, and you’ll be served quickly.

    Other than that, good article I agree with completely.

    PS. Watch “The Bartender Hates You” on YouTube. Very, very funny.

  15. someguy says

    Ive tended bar at nearly every kind of bar throughout my years.

    1. I don’t care what you order, drink what you like.
    2. Know what you want, have your money ready. When i finally get to you, and you take longer than 4 seconds to even start your order: congratulations, you’re last again.
    3. When I’m talking to someone else, kindly shut the fuck up please.
    4. Yes, we have Miller Lite. You’re in a bar in North America. Quit asking.
    5. When we have over 30 beers on tap, don’t ask me to list them off. Ask for a beer list. And if you catch me on a good day and I do list some off…
    a. you’re going to hear the most expensive ones first
    b. if you wanted a coors light to begin with, ask. don’t make me list every beer.
    6. WE DON’T CARE THAT IT’S YOUR BACHELORETTE PARTY. Yes, I’ll pretend but i see your girls EVER saturday on your “special” night. And no, I don’t want to buy a fucking sucker. (AKA WOO GIRLS)
    7. Don’t order “just a beer.” pick one. I care as much as you do and if you don’t like it, too bad, which brings me to…
    8. BARTENDERS CHOICE. If you tell me to pick a shot I’m just going to pick some generic shot to make you. Again, if you don’t like it, too bad. you’re still paying.
    9. Yes I’m actually ID’ing YOU. SHUT UP. JUST SHUT UP. IT’S MY JOB. Don’t make some stupid joke, I don’t care.
    10. The bar closes at 2? better order a drink at 1:59 and get mad when I’m asked to leave. Idiot.
    12. We make tips because we have worked for years honing a skill that you don’t have. We make minimum wage (most of us). If you don’t tip then don’t come out. Sorry, that’s the trade off.

    You can tell I got a little worked up towards the end. I could honestly write for days and still not get everything. hope this helps a little.

  16. C.T. says

    This article was obviously not written by anyone who actually consulted with a bartender. The entire section on how bartenders “cheat lousy customers” is pretty much bullshit. Unless you’re drinking somewhere that you shouldn’t. Any place that would allow this kind of behavior from their bartenders is probably cheating you from the get-go by putting cheap liquor in their top shelfbottles. So you’re asking for it already just by being there. If you decide to drink in a respectable establishment, you shouldn’t have to worry about anyone “cheating” you out of anything.
    The “least favorite type of customer” section is hit and miss. The types of people listed are obviously not the best, but we take the good with the bad, it’s a volume game, not everyone who walks up to our bar is going to order a bourbon neat, and tip 20%. There are far more obnoxious guests, and you’ve actually pointed some of them out in your “best way to get the bartender’s attention” section.
    Sorry, but if you call out our name, we’re going to ignore you. Period. Reason being, if you know us personally, you would know better than to scream our name to get our attention. So we have toassume that you either heard someone else use our name, and are trying to cleverly get our attention, or that you’re just an idiot who happens to know us somehow. Either way, you’re not going to be our first priority.
    Waving, or even holding cash out doesn’t have the slightest effect on how quickly you will be served. More times than not, we’ll just be annoyed by someone who waves cash in our face. I’d like to assume that everyone in the bar has money, otherwise, why would you be standing at my bar trying to order a drink. That being said, having your cash fluttering in my peripheral vision doesn’t do anything but cause a distraction. Which will cause you to wait even longer.
    This article had a lot of potential to be very enlightening to the average bar goer. I’d like to see what you could write, if you spoke to an actual career bartender, and not a “regular customer” or some kid that slings disco drinks for a couple of semesters.

  17. says

    Great little article and just about all of it is spot on in my experience with those wonderful bartenders. An even better way to get cheap drinks is to chill at home, make your own and play some drinking games.

  18. Will says

    I completely agree with CT. I’m a bartender/server by profession. I have made it a career (Yes that is possible. Good bartenders/servers in the right restaurant and right bar can make upwards of 80 grand a year).

    I have never once encountered anyone watering down drinks, adding extra gratuity (If they have gratuity included it’s for everyone. I’ve worked at restaurants that have mandatory 18-20% gratuity for everyone, or parties over 6 or more), or doing an asshole tax. Proclaiming we are out of something is usually reserved for time consuming drinks (e.g. coffee, espresso, cappuccinos, frozen drinks, hot tea) and sometimes we might be unwilling to go the extra mile for those drinks if the person is rude. But that’s the only one that I have ever seen, and I’ve never seen someone do that for alcohol unless they feel like they were over-served and are worried they might fight us if we say ‘you’re cut off.’

    Best way to get a bartender/server’s attention? Wait. Be patient. We know you’re there. I know it doesn’t look like it, but trust me. We can tell when there’s a new person at the bar. If you’re looking for a new drink, move your drink as close to the bartender’s side of the bar. We will get the hint. When we arrive, express whether you want to change drinks or not. If you say nothing, assume we will pour the same drink for you.

    Waving cash is kind of offensive and CT explained it best, we expect you have money to pay for your drinks.

    Eye contact, patients, knowing our name definitely helps, be a regular and a good tipper helps as well. When I walk into bars that I am a regular at, they have my drink ready for me when I sit down. That’s because I’m a regular and I tip well. I talk to them like they are people not servants, and they know I will patiently wait if they are busy. Do these things and you can possibly get free drinks too. Do not expect it every time. It won’t happen. It’s just a nice way to show we care sometimes.

    Last but not least. Know the bar you’re at. If you’re in an upscale/fine dining bar. Expect formality, specials, wine/beer/drink/liquor lists, and a slower pace to accommodate every aspect of your experience. Do not expect sports bar service in a fine dining establishment and do not expect the same prices! We charge extra for the atmosphere, better ingredients, more knowledgeable service staff, etc.

    Overall I would ignore this list. I feel like it gives true bartenders/servers a bad name. If you feel like your bartender does any of these things to anyone watch them make their drinks, and if you confirm it, find a new bar!

    Cheers and happy drinking,


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