How to Upset Bar Staff

10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff
(and guarantee you wait longer)

I have worked as bar staff for years, on and off. I thought when I became an estate agent, my days of serving a customer were over. Then I met M, and became a Pub Wife. So I still have to serve front of house, occasional evenings and weekends.

I’ve done it all. Pubs, restaurants, nightclub, coffee shop, rugby stadium, champagne reception at the Brits, you name it. I have so many fantastic memories of these times but those positive memories are all of the great people I worked with.

Not all but most bad memories are of customers. People so often forget that their servers are not just robots that produce food and drinks magically from thin air, we are people too!

When you’re out with friends and family having a good time, maybe having a few (too many) drinks, sometimes behaviour can slip. So in order to make sure you don’t ruin the day for someone else, here’s a list of things that we can’t stand, and that you can stop doing today to stop being a dick.

1 – Not knowing what you want when you get to the bar

The bar staff have rushed to get through the 4 previous orders because they can see you’re waiting, and stand in front of you. Don’t stand there looking like a deer in headlights because you came here to ask for something and you don’t know what it is. Most likely you’ll drink what you always drink. A customer asking for recommendations on brands or beers is always welcome though!

2 – Putting chewing gum / rubbish in an empty glass

You chose to have chewing gum. If you are not prepared for the disposal of your chosen gum when the time is right, that is your problem, Mr Customer. To put it into a glass makes you one of the worst types of human. The person who clears your glass away is now going to have to spend 10 minutes trying to wash it out (and probably get soaked in the process) or spear it out using a straw, so that it doesn’t go into the dishwasher and end up in someone else’s glass.

3 – Clicking / Whistling 

If you click at bar staff to get their attention, you can pretty much guarantee you’re going to wait a lot longer than you would have. Servers are humans, not animals. Clicking at them the way you would a cat or a horse is not going to entice them to you. It’s basically scientifically proven to induce amnesia, in fact, with a person simply forgetting which customer was next just from hearing the click.

4 – Being vulgar

This is mostly one for the straight men among you. Just because I work behind a bar, doesn’t mean I’m promiscuous. Even if I am promiscuous, it doesn’t mean I want to sleep with you. I might have put make up on this morning because I feel like it. I might smile at you because being friendly is part of my customer service ethic. That does not, however, invite you to make lewd comments about my body. It does not allow you to ask for my number, ask if I fancy a nightcap, ask for a “pint of you” or anything along a similar vein. 

Please, just let me do my job without the borderline sexual harassment. 

Annoy Bar Staff

5 – Forgetting your manners

Saying please or thank you won’t cost you any money but will guarantee to make a difference to the bar staff’s day. Being impolite will most likely bring negative karma to you too. Why would someone go out of their way to enhance their service to you, if you’re being rude? Please take your bad-mannered self out the door and away from me, thank you very much.

6 – Getting in the way

I’m not saying don’t stand at the bar and enjoy your drink. We welcome you to take a look at the artefacts in our site, to soak up the history and atmosphere. However, if I’m trying to walk through the pub holding 4 plates of hot food, that are probably making my arms ache and burning my skin off, dear lord Please don’t just look through me. Be kind, take a step to the side and don’t make me undertake acrobatics to get these fish & chips to table 14.

Keep Bar Staff Happy

7 – Interrupting a serve mid serve

The gentlemen I’m serving just asked me for 3 Kronenbourgs, 2 Kopperbergs, a vodka lime and soda, a vodka lemonade and blackcurrant, a mottle of Merlot with 3 glasses, 2 glasses of pinto blush, 3 fish and chips, 2 bags of chilli crisps and four portions of olives. If you interrupt with “can I just have a …” I am definitely going to forget all of the order. My customer will already have forgotten. He’ll have to ask his entire group again what they want. This will all lengthen the process, just leaving you longer to wait for your cube of ice.

8 – Sighing and moaning because you weren’t served next 

99% of the time, I’m right in who I serve next in the queue. Unlike a shop, bars don’t have an ordered queuing system. Everyone gathers at any point they like at a bar that can be anywhere up to 30 ft long. Having done my job all day and night for years, my peripheral vision and 7th sense is pretty good. Occasionally, I am wrong. I might go to the man to the left of you who arrived for seconds earlier. Maybe he was actually looking at me when I came to who was next and you were chatting to the person behind you, facing away from me. Either way, I’m just a person who isn’t perfect. I’m also a person who has to work another 9 hours on my feet. You’re the person getting to enjoy the beer I will pour for you in under two minutes. Just chill bro.

9 – Tell me how fun it must be to run a pub

As bar staff, our job is to create an environment for other people to have fun in. That does not mean our job is fun. Yes, sometimes we get to have a laugh with each other or listen to a cool new indie band or enjoy a massive glass of wine that a regular bought. The rest of the time, it’s 13 hour working days, climbing over people who won’t move, guessing that you actually wanted a vodka soda and not the lime soda you ordered, changing a barrel of cider and getting showered in sugary spray, shouting at the chefs and guessing which pie is vegan and which nuts are which. Fun is an adjective rarely used to describe our job.

10 – Try and convince us to have a lock in

It’s midnight. We’ve rung the bell for last orders 15 minutes prior. We’ve also rung the bell to announce closing time. Don’t now try and come and order more drinks. Please don’t try and ask for free drinks and a lock in. If I came to the bank you worked in at 6pm and asked you to stay open till 5pm and give me £100 cash for free, how would you respond? We’ve been open 12 hours. We were here for 3 hours before that. Please, just let us sweep up the garden, wipe down the tables, refill the fridges, stock the shelves, polish the cutlery, tidy and mop the bar and go home.

Have you ever worked in a bar or restaurant? Feel free to vent all your frustrations in the comments below! 

Keep Bar Staff Happy
10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff - Honestly Holly
10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff - Honestly Holly
10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff - Honestly Holly
10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff - Honestly Holly

Gin! Glorious Gin! Every day is a Gin Day!

Gin cocktails, Best Gin, Glorious Gin! Honestly Holly
Gin cocktails, Best Gin, Glorious Gin! Honestly Holly
Gin cocktails, Best Gin, Glorious Gin! Honestly Holly
Gin cocktails, Best Gin, Glorious Gin! Honestly Holly

We Love Gin!

I never used to drink gin. Ever. My mum has always drunk gin (with coke, don’t ask). I go through phases with drinks. In my late teens, when I thought I was super knowledgeable and classy, I solely drank Tia Maria and coke. At uni I progressed to lager and sambucca (separately) solely on a cost factor. Eventually I found the original love of my life – dark rum. I’m no expert on rum; I’ll drink anything from golden to dark – though never light or spiced. Considering my partner runs a pub I should probably know more. Show me mercy, please.

Then, when I met M, I jumped on the gin bandwagon. She drinks gin like it’s going out of fashion, excuse the contradictory pun, it’s very much the fashion now. Enjoying a good quality gin is one of her favourite ways to end her day.
In the early days of our relationship, I was attempting to impress her. I turned to gin to try to turn her to me! Turns out she thinks I’m perfect the way I am and I didn’t need to try – who would have thought?! Now she’s a huge inspiration to me!
So now, if I’m just having a drink or two (which isn’t very often), I’ll have gin. Rum is still my number one girl for a Big Night Out but gin is my day to day friend. I am, however, pickier about my gin than I am my rum. Now, I’m learning a lot about different brands and different types.
 

Mass Produced Gin

Mass produced gins seem to all taste the same top me. They’re pleasant but nothing to get excited about (though Aldi’s own brand gin is award winning, delicious and doesn’t hit you hard in the wallet). Side note – I went to an amazing PR event (which I actually paid for) by Bombay Sapphire about 18 months ago, and I wish I had HH23 then, it was a blogger’s dream!
The pub M runs is owned by a corporation who jumped on the gin bandwagon last summer and we suddenly had 10 gins on sale. Brands like Bombay, Hendricks and Gordon’s mass produce these. I guess they would have to, to keep up with the demands of a huge pub chain.
The menu changes every winter and summer and now we’ve got a new gin menu! Their new summer drink is an “Ultimate T&T”. It’s a Tanqueray 10, with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic and a slice of grapefruit, with plenty of ice of course. Tanqueray 10 is a premium of the mass-produced gins. I have to say, I’m pretty bloody impressed with it. The bottle is so pretty. The taste is paired so well. The softness of the tonic and the sharp cut of citrus in the grapefruit just work! I accidentally had 3 before I could go home!
Though we are a branded pub, I’m also very big on supporting small businesses. I love products that have a more personal touch to them.
 

Small Batch Gin

So we’ve been investigating other small batch gins to see the difference. The first that we’ve tried is 1606 – a small batch London Dry distilled in the UK and distributed by the British Honey company. They only make 300 bottles per batch and they’re not always available but we got the timing right for the latest batch! We bought a bottle through a friend and decided to crack it open when my mum came for a weekend.

The bottle is classic and striking; much like this juniper-led gin with strong scents of the Sicilian oranges used in the distillation. We chose to pair it with the classic fever tree light tonic, with slices of oranges. I actually forgot to take pictures of the drink, as I got carried away drinking them.
The gin is easy and delicious to drink. I find some gins can be quite aggressive in taste but this is perfect for summer. Light enough to quench thirst in a pub garden on a summers’ day. Heavy enough to combat the end of a bad day!
The second is Tiger Gin, which I found through Instagram. I was scrolling through several accounts that are followed by The Gintern. She has probably the best job ever. Imagine a week in her life! I got my hands on a small bottle – enough for 2 drinks – and thought I’d try a normal light tonic and a flavoured tonic.
I didn’t have any ice which made the whole experience odd. On first opening the bottle, I noticed it smelled very boozy. Not a bad thing, in my opinion, but perhaps a little strong for those of you couldn’t drink enough to sink a ship and all its pirates, like I can.
I also didn’t have any garnish so apologise for being uncouth. With just the light tonic, it was fairly standard but with the elderflower tonic, it was much fresher, lighter and more enjoyable. My favourite Fever Tree tonic is the Mediterranean (which just so happens to have the prettiest bottle) but I think with maybe one of the rose or orange infused tonics it would be just as great!
Having originally though that it was a little strong, it seemed to disappear really quickly from my glass. I had my gin with dinner (because gin is for all occasions) of a chicken fajita type concoction and it was really pleasant too, didn’t overpower the flavours of my food at all!
Then I sat and listened to the Women’s Hour podcast all cosy in my gin glow.
I’ve found a few other gins I’d like to try too. The fruity flavoured gins on sale in Aldi and Lidl look super tasty, there’s a new JJ Whitley gin in the pub that I’d like to try. I’ve seen a few people supping on Salcombe Gin lately and I’d like to jump on that bandwagon. John Lewis sell a gin that a customer in the pub was raving about called Unicorn Tears that I want to try just because of the fact that it’s sparkly. Mostly, I want to try a gin called Silent Pool. I was recommended this by a tenant of mine who manages bars in high end hotels in London, and is assisting with this product being launched in Italy!
 
What is your go-to drink? What gins would you recommend?
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Gin Cocktails