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Hold your tongue

What not to say to your bartender


"I know you have a great body, but those pants just aren't doing it for ya."
  • "I know you have a great body, but those pants just aren't doing it for ya."

Whether you drink to celebrate or rage to forget, there's something about having a few cocktails that makes people think it's OK to spit word vomit at the bartender. Here are a few things you shouldn't say to someone making your drinks.

Do you have any alcohol here?
Congratulations, you found the only bar in existence that only serves soda. Coke. Sprite. Diet. Sparkling pineapple juice? You seem as confused as I am. We checked your ID at the door, but you think there's a possibility we don't serve alcohol. What I think you meant is, "Do you serve liquor?" Unless the bar is hiding it in cabinets, which they aren't, if you don't see it they don't have it.

What kind of shots do you have?
You ask so coyly, as if we only serve a couple. Lemon drops. Jäger bombs. Kamikazes. I'm getting ahead of myself. I work the "baby bar" in my downtown dive, and I'm still surrounded by more than 50 bottles and 14 mixers. Do the math. That's a lot of shots.

Can I get four of your favorite shots?
Every time someone asks this, my face lights up with excitement, "Tequila!"
"Ugh, no tequila," the customer always says.
"Jäger!" I suggest.
"Anything but Jäger and no tequila," says my favorite new drinker.
"Warm gin it is!"
I'm just kidding. I wouldn't do that to you, but I know a couple bartenders who will. We all hate it when you make us pick your drink. Nine times out of 10 you don't like it, then we're the bad guy who makes you drink it anyway. If your bartender is nice, you'll probably get something normal and inexpensive like a vodka pineapple or SoCo lime, or if you're really lucky, something fruity and delicious. If your bartender isn't so nice, they'll either concoct the worst shot they know (well tequila and warm gin) or the most expensive. Either way, something tells me you won't be playing drink roulette again.

Can I tell you something without you getting mad?
Please do. I can't wait to hear what might make me mad. You should never start a conversation this way, especially when you follow it with, "I know you have a great body, but those pants just aren't doing it for ya." You came to the bar to drink (and to pick up girls). Insulting your bartender won't help you do either.

Did you drug my friend?
That can't be a real question.

Fuck off!
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Do you talk to your mother with that mouth? I understand why you're upset. I won't top off your drink with a free shot of vodka. I'm so rude. You spilled it dancing, and I won't give you another one. What on earth has gotten into me? You had 19 shots, a dozen cocktails and I'm the jerk who charged you $150. I am a terrible human being. Next time, ask for a double, hold your drink tighter when you dance, or drink less, OK? I hate kicking people out.

Lindsay Gigler is a bartender and blogger. You can check out her blog, Cocktails From the Darkside at

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