The Worst Ways to Order a Drink

By Peach in Get in Style
Thursday, January 19, 2012, 12:41pm. (Updated: 2/01/12 at 2:21pm) Add comments

The Worst Ways to Order a Drink

Bartending, one of the great social professions and also one of the quickest ways to become jaded and bitter. But, just like there are bad customers, there are bad bartenders.  So, here are some pitfalls when ordering a drink to lesser the gap between bartender and guest and make DC Nightlife chock full of rainbows and butterflies for all involved! The bonus: Save your bartender a trip to an insane asylum and maybe score yourself a free drink!
Ants in the Pants:

Bar Snapping FingersThings that won’t get you a drink any faster at a crowded bar:

Waving money
Snapping your fingers

It only pegs you as annoying and aggressive. No bartender is singling you out to be ignored, but these animalistic gestures will.

The PDA:

PDAYou order a drink then turn around and make out with somebody.

Seriously, can’t it wait until you pay and make room for the next guest?

Get a room!

No one wants to see that.

The Cell Phone:

Cell Phones at a bar

Coming up to the bar mid call is annoying!

If your call is so important, then finish up and allow other guests to be served.

Extra scorn points for wearing a Bluetooth earpiece!

The No Ice’er:

No Ice in DrinksOrdering no ice screams:

“I want more alcohol, but won’t spend the money on it!”

Drinks have the same amount of alcohol regardless of the quantity of ice. Yet, ‘no-icers’ always follow-up with a:

“This tastes weak!”

Yes, since you have more mixer…think about it.

The Disappearing Act:

Mad BartenderOrdering a drink, then…

Turning around to dance with your friends

Going to the bathroom

Using the ATM

Come to the bar prepared, stay put and be ready to pay.

The Clairvoyant:

CocktailsAssuming your bartender knows all your picky details without telling them.  Unless you tell them PRIOR to ordering the bartender won’t know you like top shelf, less ice, lemon not lime, a tall glass and a partridge in a pear tree.

Give your server a break and have all your picky details ready when you order. Don’t wait until the short glass is filled with ice, the liquor is poured and the lime is squeezed to get particular. You can have it your way. Just ask up front!


CluelessIf you don’t use the correct lingo to order a drink, you will receive the wrong drink.

If you order “a cranberry juice and a vodka” you’ll receive two drinks: a glass of cranberry juice and one of vodka.

If you order “vodka and cranberry,” you’ll get one glass containing both.

The Lost:

dumb n dumberIf you can’t decide what to drink, tell the bartender what type of drinks you like.

Because just saying “whatever if fine” is like throwing a blind person in the middle of the woods.

A good bartender will make suggestions, and probably introduce you to your next favorite drink, if you give them a direction to go towards.

The Grabber:

ThiefGrabbing a bottle and helping yourself.

Yes, this happens.

You will get thrown out.

Seriously people?

Strong Arm:

Money guy in DCIf you want fewer mixers, say so, but unless you’re ordering a double, you’re implying that your bartender should give you something for free.

Try it at a bank, ask the teller, “Hey would you mind topping my paycheck off with an extra $100?” See how that works!

The Drink Book:

Cocktail recipesLooking up some random shot on your iPhone that two people have heard about, has 9 different ingredients, and an embarrassing name is like nails on a chalkboard.

Shots like a brain hemorrhage, an alien secretion, a Puerto Rican prostitute, or a urine sample, slow the flow of the bar down. The drinks usually taste horrible; cost more than you want to spend, and make you look like this is your first time at the rodeo.

Birthday Shots:

ShotsScreaming out “it’s my birthday” ten times, then ordering you and your friend’s shots, and then being completely blindsided by the check after you downed your shots is a bit presumptuous.

A comped drink is nice, but much less so if you come to expect it.

After all, what did you get the bartender for their birthday?

“I used to be a bartender!”

Tom Cruise in CocktailThis line is often used prior to ordering. But why?

Is it a wave of solidarity?

Is it a judgey stab at the way the bartender is making the drink?

Are you now a Congressman too good to be a bartender?

Usually it’s meant to get stronger, cheaper, faster drinks, which never goes over well with the staff.

The nickel-and-dimer:

CocktailsIt goes something like this:

First, you order two beers for Bob and Sally.

Once the bartender has brought you those, you order Becky’s martini.

Once that’s in hand, you ask for a vodka and Sprite.

And so on. You’ve just nickel-and-dimed the bartender. Try this technique at a fast food restaurant- it would never fly. However, people like to spread out an order with the assumption that the bartender has amnesia.

The Generalist:

Beer Girl“Can I have a beer?” Generically ordering “a beer” is the same as going to Pizza Hut and ordering “a pizza”.

It sounds ridiculous to the bartender, and you will immediately be asked what kind of beer you want.

This just slows down the whole process, and angers thirsty guests waiting in line.

The Accountant:

Nerdy GuyInteractions in this category would start out with queries that go something like this:

“What is the cheapest drink you have? Do you have any specials? How much is a beer? What about Grey Goose? How much is a vodka and soda? How much is a kamikazee?”

And then walks away…



For those who want an added dose of humor, check out “The Bartender Hates You” on YouTube, it’s a comical look through the eyes of a disgruntled bartender. Try to keep in mind it’s just for a laugh!

15 Responses to “The Worst Ways to Order a Drink”

  1. Erica says:

    Best article ever! We need to make this mandatory reading in the DC Metro Area and beyond! Every citizen should get one in their mailbox/inbox!

  2. bartenders boss says:

    stop complaining. we all have jobs and things about them that suck. deal with it since after all, you ARE getting paid for it. if they don’t tip u well, then karma will find them.

    • jiggyj says:

      i don’t think this article is complaining or whining. it’s trying to inform a population of numb nuts how to behave appropriately when they’re out. i agree karma will find bad tippers, but don’t you agree it’s ok to let the otherwise ignorant know the proper way to behave when they are customers?

  3. Peach says:

    I don’t believe in karma

  4. Debbi Antonelli says:

    Until you’ve worked in las Vegas at boulder station sports bar, you haven’t seen anything!!!!

  5. 20 years says:

    Bartenders boss sounds just like some a##hole customer! I would never work for a “boss” who didn’t agree with this educated instructional tool. Probably never bartended. Peace out Bartenders boss go yell at some waitresses.

  6. Bex says:

    Too true! although I have found on mainland Europe especially holland (worked there for a few months) everyone asks for a beer (as in the generalist), they just expect you to give them the bars standard beer.

  7. Pete Saria says:

    Can I have a beer? Yes. May I have a beer? Yes.
    What is the difference in these two questions?
    Hint – I draw a lager for one of them and that’s what they get.

    Women try to act dumb and most of these statements come from them.
    Tourists are also dumb, know your colors for shooters pour, vodka, add a color and ship it out.
    Give them a floater if they think the drink is weak.
    Always be a pro and call the manager if needed.
    If you are a male bartender, bang as many waitresses as possible.

  8. g says:

    what a shame it is that bartenders feel entitled to be treated like royalty. You work in the goddamn service industry, as prestige goes you’re no better than a waiter. I work in the service industry, and while it’s frustrating when you bend over backwards for someone and they don’t leave a tip, it’s our job to satisfy customers. A satisfied customer is your benchmark for success. Just because they came in angry or sad, does not change this benchmark.

    Makes sense this is written from someone from the DC metro area. I have observed that service workers in DC tend to be more lazy and often feel it’s their right to get a sizable tip for even minimal service. Makes even more sense that I got here by following a link from one of the most pretentious clubs in the area. You assholes wonder why your clubs become obsolete after several months…it’s because you act like stuck up pricks and it only takes 1-2 visits for clubbers to figure this out.

  9. marina martinmez says:

    I’ve been bartending for 6 years and there is a sort of etiquette that should always at least tried to be appiled. Iv’e seen many rude customers talk down to some of my newer staff before. As a bartender you are in charge of monitering how much your customers drink and whether or not they have a safe ride home. our regulars tip very gernerously but we truly try to go above and beyond. No matter how hard you work and stay on top of your game there will always be a customer who is having a bad day, disgruntled and you couldv’e even given him the best service but that customer just either doesn’t believe in tipping or doesn’t understand that that’s all we really get paid on besides our checks which in most places are only about 2.13 an hr. For me I love entertaining my customers, making them laugh, keep their drinks coming, and make sure they have a good time. I will serve someone as much as they want but the minute they start making uncomfortable sexual gestures or acting even remotely obnoxious i cut them off hands down. I’m in charge of their shit. so if they can’t act like adults get drunk without acting like a dumb ass they will be drinking water lmao. Pay is still good though!. remember you are the bartender YOU are the one in charge. When someone tips always say thank you. If you keep them entertained they’ll keep coming back that’s a promise and your tips will go up and up the more you can astablish a friendship with your regulars the better but keep it more on the business side 🙂

    • Nickie says:

      then your boss should pay you more. dont expect the customers to pay your wages. they go out to have a good time, not to complete your benefits package.

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