Inside the Mind of Your Favorite Bartender

Buyer beware

Dear bar guest, when you decide to eat or drink at the bar of your favorite restaurant, pub, club, etc., you are not buying the friendship of the bartender. You are paying for a product, food or liquor, or service, bartending. By default, the bartender is not your friend.

There are many people that feel as if they will receive the “hook-up” if they become friendly with the bartender. The bartender is offering a service, intended to give you, the guest, a great experience to make you want to come back.

And just because you come back does not ensure that you will receive special privileges. So many times bartenders encounter guests that feel entitled to something just because they become a regular or tip in an above average manner.

Once, I witnessed an incident between a fellow bartender and a guest that almost turned violent because the guest assumed the bartender was his friend. When the guest told the bartender “I thought we were cool, I thought we were friends,” and the bartender replied, “I’m not your friend, I’m your bartender,” the guest got irate and a heated argument ensued.

Eventually cooler heads prevailed, but the damage was done. The guest then began to under-tip and attempted to run the bar staff to realize his every wish. In the end, this particular guest would low ball the bartenders on the tip line.

Caveat emptor, or buyer beware. When at the bar, you are not buying friendship. The bartender does not owe you anything. If you are seeking a place that you can come multiple times a week, with your hand out expecting something for free, beware. That is not the way it will always go.

Bartenders have a lot of responsibility, of which, the bottom line being most important. When liquor costs get out of control, the bartender has to answer to the bar manager, and subsequently, the general manager. Therefore, the bartender gets the last say so in who they show love to at the bar.

Buyer, beware, you do not have the power to dictate what the bartender does or does not do, regardless of how much you tip or how much you frequent their bar. And if you are one of the select few a bartender does decide to show love to, shut the fuck up. Don’t tell your friends, other bartenders or other guests what a bartender does for you. That shit just isn’t cool.

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