If you ever wondered why a date hasn’t gone well, you needn’t look beyond the disapproving glare of your bartender. I should know — after a decade of bartending in NYC, I consider it my crusade to make the bar a better, safer place. It may not be your intention to bite the hand serving you booze, but poor manners and a lack of self-awareness are a recipe for a cocktail so vile, you can barely keep it down. Trust me, you don’t want to live your life as the Long Island iced tea of bar patrons — and you don’t have to.
Your bad behavior doesn’t go unnoticed. We see you, as does your date. And since a bar’s entire business model is to drink and be merry, it’s essential that everyone gets their shit together so we can ALL have a good time. If you’re part of the growing epidemic of annoying customers — shame on you. However, this right here is a chance to do better, be less annoying, and keep both your bartender and your date happy.
You don’t know how to order a drink.
Don’t worry, it’s our job to know more about booze than you. However, mansplaining a cocktail standard or insisting you know what you’re talking about when you clearly don’t is a waste of our time. Do this, and we reserve the right to make fun of you with your date while you go to the bathroom, or at least in our minds.
You’re acting needy AF.
You aren’t the only one who needs a refill, and we know you know that. Yet, you still rapidly follow us around the bar, sneaking into any open crevice to increase your visibility. Do not snap your fingers at us, do not whine, and please do not talk about us as if we can’t hear you. The more thirsty you act — literally — the more inclined we are to ignore you, just like your date.
You arrived wasted.
Real talk: If you’re slurring your words or can’t successfully sit in a bar stool, you have no business ordering a drink. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving or not, alcohol poisoning is a real thing. Bartenders are held accountable for anything you do while you’re drunk, that includes getting alcohol poisoning. We may still hate you, but we want you alive. Your date probably feels the same way, even if there is a 100-percent chance they never want to see you again.
You’re killing everyone else’s vibe.
It’s not that we don’t want you to discuss politics or your personal beliefs, but we expect you to do so with with your inside voice in order to maintain an emotionally safe place for our other patrons. Do you really think everyone wants to hear your ignorant opinions on women, immigration, or welfare? Think of the rest of the bar as someone you’re on a first date with. This should give you an idea of what to disclose and not to disclose — and at what volume.
You ordered a mojito.
It should go without saying that most bartenders are bringing some skills to the table. We’ll go off menu, but for the love of everything good and pure in this world — please do NOT order a mojito unless you see it on the menu. It’s too much work for a stupid drink. And I promise you: no one wants to be on a date with someone who’s slingin’ mojitos all night. Too much rum makes for poor volume control and lack of spatial awareness. Save that for a beach date, not a bar date.
You’ve mistaken the bar for your bedroom.
Never in my life have I heard a bartender say, “Make yourself at home.” Why? Because this is not your home. By all means, make yourself comfortable, but do not set up shop. Don’t stand on the furniture, don’t leave your crap everywhere, and please do not feel inclined to go to second base with your date. If you need to do any of those things, feel free to gtfh.
You treat us like the help.
If you talk to us like we’re the crap you stepped in on your morning run, please know that it will be etched in our minds forever, and we will tell everyone that you suck. Talking to anyone in the service industry, bartender, busser, or host is a great way for your date to gauge how you’ll be talking to them in the future. Change your ’tude or you may find yourself without a drink or a date.
You didn’t tip.
In my opinion, one should always factor in an 18-to-20 percent tip when dining, dating, or drinking out, at least in the States. If you have $40 to spend? Newsflash! You actually only have $32, excluding tip. Bartenders are considered tipped employees which means they make less than the minimum wage in that state. Over 13 million people work in the restaurant industry, so it’s highly likely your date has worked a service job and finds your lack of tip just as cringeworthy as the bartender does.
You’re acting like a creep.
It’s all fun and games until you get a creepy dude at the bar making everyone feel uncomfortable. Any gender can be a creep but, in my experience, cis males tend to be the biggest offenders, and if you’re scoffing right now, it’s likely you’re one of them. So listen up, because I’m talking to you: A bar is definitely the place to flirt, but it is not the place to lurk. Keep your grubby hands to yourself, do not force drinks on your date when they decline another round, and when someone tells you they’re not interested, walk away. Do not make us cross the bar to tell you to back off. Being drunk does not give you an excuse to act like a monster.