I work in a bar. Now before I start, don't get me wrong, I love my job. And I love the customers. I love meeting new people and I get a sense of satisfaction when I give great service with a bright smile. But there are a few things customers can do that make me want to scream. So to make sure you always get the great service with a bright smile, do NOT do the following at a bar.
1. Do NOT pay for every drink with a card. Do you know how much time it takes to run an EFTPOS transaction through? A lot longer than it takes to throw a note in the register and hand you some change. Don't have any cash? That's fine. Accept my offer of cash out the first time. I notice when you come back and pay with a card. Every. Single. Time. Run a tab or get cash out!
2. Do not order one drink at a time. When I come back and ask "Was that everything?", it's a courtesy to make sure you don't want a cheeky pack of salted peanuts. Getting your drinks one at a time is exhausting. And if you finish with "and a Guinness", I may not really have the time to let the Guinness settle and give you the perfect pint. And I don't like handing over subpar pints anymore than you like receiving them. So work with me!
3. Conversely, don't bark a list of drinks at me and then give me a smug look that says "Go on, ask me to repeat it. I know you can't do that order first time." Because I won't. And I can. But I won't be happy about it. My skills as a bartender are not a party trick for you to test. And if I do have to ask you "was that a pepsi or diet pepsi on that last Southern Comfort", I now feel like an idiot. Treat me like a human being. Got a list of six drinks? Tell me the four beers and when I hand you them, tell me the two mixers.
4. If you have a preference for a wine, tell me straight up.
"A large glass of red wine, please."
"Do you have a preference for which one?"
"Yes, the shiraz."
This whole conversation could have been skipped if you had of said "A large glass of shiraz, please" to begin with. If you don't know, that's fine. I'm happy to help. But if you do, just say it up front.
5. If you have given me a complicated order and I have kept my smile in place and everything is fine, when I say that will be £14.95, standing there waiting for your 5p change is insulting. It may not be much to you, but if more people let us keep the change, at the end of the week, we bartenders would have a few pounds to split between us and that would make us happy. We don't get paid as much as you think you do and tips, even as small as 5p, help to keep the smile in place for the rest of our nine hour shift.
6. Have your order ready when you come to the bar - especially if it's busy. When I have a lot of people gathered around the bar trying to get their drinks, I don't want to be standing around while you and your friends debate if you should have a Becks or a Peroni and whether there's enough people drinking wine to warrant buying a bottle. It's not that I mind waiting so much, but I do mind making the other customers wait. And you would mind if it was you waiting too.
7. Don't leave your glasses at the table if you walk past the bar on your way out. I know we get paid to collect them, but we work hard and we're on our feet all day. Seeing someone place their empty glasses on the corner of the bar on their way out is as good as a tip. It makes me happy. Same as when you bring your previous empty up when you buy your next drink. It really is appreciated.
8. Do NOT hang around for ages after the bar has closed. We call for last drinks. If you can't or don't want to drink that last drink rather quickly, just finish up your last drink and head on home for the night or just buy a half. We appreciate your patronage but we are looking forward to finishing up for the night and we can't do that until you go home. We don't want to rush you, we know you're having fun. Half an hour after last drinks is fine, but please don't make us ask you to hurry up and leave. We hate doing that as much as you hate hearing it.
One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.
You don't have to go home but you can't stay here."
9. When you order a drink that comes from a bottle, I will give you a glass of ice. If you choose, you can pour that bottle into said glass and that's fine. But do not hide that empty bottle behind a menu or a post on the bar. Same goes with your glass. If we don't notice it for a while from our side of the bar, the rest of the customers have spent their night looking at a gross, dirty, empty glass. You don't want to see that, nor does anyone else. Just put it in plain sight and carry on with your evening.
10. During the whole transaction of you exchanging your money for me pouring you beers, there is one thing you can do that insults me more than anything else. It is so rude that it actually makes me want to threaten violence. Do NOT put the money on the bar and stand there. Do you have any idea how cheap that makes me feel? I am a human being and you can hand me the cash like an equal. You hand me cash, I hand you a beer. That is how this works. Neither of us is better than or above the other. Yes, you may have to touch my hand. Yes, you may have to wait 7 seconds before being able to pick up the beer I have just poured you. But do NOT make me pick the money up off the bar like some kind of cheap whore slipping the fee off the nightstand. (And trust me, this is not me being snobby. This is a real thing amongst bar staff.)
If you are guilty of doing any of these things, you probably never knew it annoyed bar staff - because we smile, we're friendly and we enjoy our jobs. Outside of pouring pints, we're all intelligent, fun, witty, hard-working people. Try to remember these tips and we'll all get along just fine!
Miss SAMawdsley xx