10 Things I’ve Learned About Bars As A Bartender In A Fine Dining Restaurant


1. The Strawberry Bellini Is The White Trash Of All Martinis

Let’s face it. Taking an $11 bottle of wine, mixing it with some Peach Schnapps and Razzmatazz, cutting up some strawberries and putting it on in a martini glass screams white trash. Not only is it completely filled with sugar, but opening bottle upon bottle of champagne on a busy Saturday night is a form of torture. This drink is usually only ordered by the notorious bachelorette/21st birthday/“single&fabulous” group of individuals. Woman up. Order a real martini.

2. Asking For Less Ice Won’t Get You More Liquor

Bar patrons think they are slick by ordering a drink and asking for less ice. For example, ordering a gin and tonic with little ice means more tonic. If you want more gin, it’ll cost you.

3. A Real Cosmo Is Actually A Very Light Shade Of Pink

Sex and The City made the Cosmo what it is today: a clear, dark pink liquid in a martini glass. Wrong, wrong, and so wrong. I love some Carrie Bradshaw, but a perfect Cosmopolitan is actually a bit cloudy and a very, very pale pink color. It gets the cloudiness from being shaken and the pale pink from a small amount of cranberry juice. If you complain and ask why it isn’t red, I will proceed to make it without any alcohol and just shake and pour you some cranberry juice.

4. Asking to Have Your Drink Made By Another Bartender

At any given restaurant, there is always that one veteran bartender who has to make the drinks for a certain bar guest. What guests don’t understand is that the veteran bartender is the one who usually trains the other bartenders which means the way I make your drink is the same way he makes your drink. I tend to get a little rattled when I have bar guests who want that veteran bartender to make that certain drink, and take up a bar seat waiting. Nine times out of ten, I do eventually convince them I can make their drink just as well as the veteran bartender. And I do.

5. Pay Your Tab At The Bar

Probably the biggest pet peeve is when a guest asks to have their bill transferred to their table and proceed not to tip the bartender who made the drink you are now taking to the table. 10 times out of 10, that server will not share his or her tip with me even though I saved them a drink trip to the bar. You sat down at my bar, in a chair, you told me your drink order, you saw me make your drink and now you are drinking it. I did a service for you. Just throw down a dollar or two for the drink I made you and I am more then happy to transfer your drinks.

6. Asking How Much A Certain Liquor Costs

Apologies but I am instantly judging you. I am making a mental note of your face if you don’t tip me well. Usually, a bar is set up that their cheapest liquor is on the bottom shelf and their most expensive is top shelf, hence the term bottom and top shelf. If you are pointing to a liquor high up on the shelf, it’ll cost you. Easy as that.

7. Most People Have No Idea What They Are Talking About

I cannot tell you how many times bar guests have tried to teach me about different types of liquor or wine and my eyes glaze over. I respect their information but I don’t want to hear about my job at my job and usually they have no idea what they are talking about especially sipping on a Strawberry Bellini.

8. It Doesn’t Matter If You Have Chanel Shoes On, I Will Cut You Off

Even if your shoes cost about a semester of my college tuition, I will cut you off from the red wine you’ve been drinking for the past hour and a half. I will also cut your wife off with her Hermes bag and smeared lipstick.

9. Serving And Bartending Are Two Completely Different Worlds

And servers can be just as annoying as bar guests. A bartender can be a server but a server cannot be a bartender. I can jump off the bar and pick up a table but you can’t jump behind my bar and make a drink. Servers can also be the most annoying bar guests you ever have. They want their drinks strong and they want them fast, some won’t even tip, and some keep the place open way past closing time. The last thing I want to do is watch people I know get drunk when I want to close up.

10. Being a Bartender Is Probably The Coolest Job I’ve Had So Far

Being a bartender has taught me to move fast and pour faster. I’ve learned a ton about alcohol and I’ve gained confidence in my skills. I feel as if bartending has opened lots of doors for jobs I can do in the future if I get bored on a Saturday night. I can also stand the few snobby patrons who get too drunk on Strawberry Bellinis.