The Martini

The Martini in the modern age is one of the most misunderstood and poorly made drinks in the business, save for a handful of hotel bars, old world steakhouses, and a few old bars with grey-haired portly 60 year old bartenders sporting white button shirts and black bow ties. 

A Martini is a type of cocktail.  A cocktail is not necessarily a Martini. In 2012, a "cocktail" refers to a drink with a high concentration of alcohol and very little mixer as opposed to a "highball" or some other type of mixed drink.  A "cocktail" is generally served in a Cocktail Glass (stem glass) – which is nearly always incorrectly referred to as a Martini glass.  
"Cocktails" traditionally had a much different meaning, dating back to the late 1700's.  Up until the last few decades, a cocktail always consisted of a spirit, sugar and bitters in some combination.  No bitters = no cocktail.  That tradition was born out of Colonial and Revolutionary times where (1) fierce was the  battle to control spirits production and trade between Colonists and Imperial powers and (2) bitters was concocted by a number of gentlemen to aid in digestion.  Naturally, the two found each other and the ideal marriage was born.

There are wildly varying stories surrounding its origin.  They run the gamut from (a) an American soldier mixing them in his helmet way back during WWI to (z) the Occidental Hotel bar story out of the late 1800's .   Not so coincidentally, this is the same hotel where the king of all bartenders, the legendary Jerry Thomas, created his legend and left his legacy.  Whatever the case, a Martini is nothing but gin and dry vermouth.  For whatever reason, over the last decade or so, the Martini name has been slapped on hundreds of homegrown cocktails.  I speculate that the popularity of vodka and it's incorporation into the Martini lexicon has been a result of (1) creative marketing (2) the disregard many younger folks have for juniper and other gin flavors (3) the "skinny bitch" mentality and the misconception that vodka somehow won't contribute to your jelly roll and finally (4) the belief that vodka, unadulterated by flavorings, leads to less severe hangovers. Who knows for sure?

When most folks under 40 have rolled up to my bar and wanted a Martini, they've often had some preconceived (incorrect) notions of what I should be preparing them.  For example, most girls will approach the bar and say something like "dirty Martini please."  What 99% of them really want is a dirty vodka Martini.  On the same token, many folks will ask for our "Martini list."  While I confess many, many bars have Martini lists, it's really a butchery of the name.  These should really be called "Cocktail Lists."  Just because certain drinks are in a cocktail glass (e.g., French 75, Sidecar, Metropolitan, etc.), does not make them a Martini.

In reality, a Martini is just a fancy/pretty way for alcoholics to get high as hell as quickly as possible while not looking like a drunk seeking a fix.  They look "sophisticated."  Howver, guzzling a bottle of Georgi Vodka or Gordons Gin from a paper bag whilst straddling a milk crate in front of Guzman's bodega has the exact same physiological effects.  I guess life is all about appearances right?  A Martini is a bargain at most bars in that you're getting twice the alcohol for significantly less than paying for a double or two shots.  Typically, that translates into a dollar or two more than your standard (single shot) mixed drink.  Now if you're a big dummy, and there are millions of you out there, and order, for example, a double shot of Hendricks, you'll pay maybe $24.  Conversely, ordering a Hendricks Martini might cost you $14  while getting you exactly the same amount of booze.

When a customer orders a Martini unqualified, your responses should be:
  • "Vodka or gin?"
  • "Straight up or on the rocks?"
  • "Olive or twist?" 
  • "We have [gin/vodka] brands a,b,c, and d.  Which would you like?"
If you don't ask these 4 specific questions, you're doing both your customer and the bar a disservice. Quite often, you will also find yourself remaking the drink.


  • 2.5oz Gin (sub vodka if asked to)
  • .5oz Dry Vermouth
You'll get various opinions on the proportions here but this is how I make them.  There has been a general movement particularly with vodka drinkers to make the Martini dryer and dryer (meaning less and less Vermouth).  I don't know why – I love Vermouth.  You may occasionally get a qualified order akin to "in and out" or "very dry." What that means is Vermouth is added to the glass shaker first, dumped out or very little is added to the mixture.

Note from the quantities above that a Martini, and many other "cocktails" have double the amount of alcohol as most other drinks (1.5oz of 80 proof liquor, 12oz of beer and 5oz of wine).  As a professional server, you must consider your customers potential for getting shit-faced, as well as your legal/moral responsibilities to keep them safe.  I've seen some skinny guys put down 10 Martinis in a sitting in my early days of bartending – before I knew how or had the balls to cut people off.

Drink Prep:

The first thing you need to drill into your brain about a Martini is that is should be served as cold as possible.  The first step in that process is to ensure you have an ice cold cocktail glass in which to serve it.  Ideally, you will have a dedicated glass chiller (fridge), often found in high-end bars.  If not, before you mix any ingredients, scoop some ice into your cocktail glass and and let it chill for a minute or two.  

In your glass shaker, pour in your gin and vermouth.  Fill with ice – the more the better.  More ice    equals more surface area for your liquor to contact and therefore, a colder beverage.  Now back in the day, I'd venture to say most Martinis were stirred at this point with a bar spoon (twisty looking long spoon) in the glass shaker.  However, this results in a Martini not nearly as cold as the alternative mixing method – shaking.  You have a certain fictional, MI8, licensed-to-kill, super spy to thank for popularizing the shaken Martini.  A Martini shouldn't have chunks of ice cube floaties.  Shake it gently but for an adequate time that the metal shaker is bite-ass cold.  

Every once in a blue moon, you'll get a big fat 6'7" annoying suit or a 4'5" 70'ish year old lady in a mink coat complaining of "bruising" while you shake.  It's bullshit.  What they really want to say is that they believe you're watering down the booze.  These jokers belong in AA.  There is no such thing as bruising. The colder the better.  Ice meltage accounts for about 20 – 25% of volume in the time you're making your Martini.  That's not "watered down" in my book.  But, whatevs - accommodate their special requests.

Before straining, garnish your glass with either an olive (or 3) on a toothpick or with a lemon twist. Do not stick your fingers in the olive tray to skewer your olives – that's nasty.  Do not use a sip straw for your garnish – that's ghetto.  For presentation, I personally prefer not to use a strainer.  Instead, I break open the glass/metal shaker combination, right in front of Joe Customer – being a tad showy.  When you get the pour exactly right (as I mostly do) customers will love you for it.  This is more difficult to do when forced to make several Martinis simultaneously.  Do what you can.  You can also use the Julip strainer with the glass shaker, or the Spring strainer with the large metal shaker you've just used.  

Alternative garnish #1: Twists.  For some reason, many folks believe a "twist" is something it's not. Customers often ask for twists when what they really mean is that they want a lemon wedge/slice with their drink.  Worse, I'll sometimes get a request for lime twist which is plain stupid and nearly useless.  

Give them an actual "twist" and utter confusion will be displayed on their faces.  A "twist" is a semi-long piece of lemon skin/zest, usually, that is pushed together with force and twisted (hence the name) to force lemon oil out of the skin.  You then rub this oil on the rim of the Martini glass and proceed to drop it in the glass prior to straining.  The lemon oil will subtly change the characteristics of the drink.  Orange twists/peels are often used in other drinks in the same method.  

Twists are best prepared at the beginning of your shift behind the scenes.  For one, they take time to make.  Secondly, there is the sanitation issue.  If you don't have a dedicated twist knife (available at any bar/restaurant supplier), you will be using a knife and spoon or perhaps a knife and your fingers.  It's best to wear gloves during prep time to keep things clean and to minimize "bar rot." Routine exposure to citric acid will quickly destroy your skin and separate your nails! Eeewwwww!

Alternative garnish #2: Onions – Pearl Onions (little guys) specifically.  Substitute pearl onions for olives or lemon twist and you suddenly have a Gibson.  I love 'em more than Martinis.  The problem in most bars I've frequented is that very, very few people know about or order Gibsons.   As a result, the Pearl Onion jar may be several years old!  Yuck!  Again, the OCD "old man" bars will sometimes pickle their own (yum!) rather than sell out and buy chemically preserved, crappy, food service junk.

Final thoughts: Practice your Martini making. Get a detailed order from your customer before setting out to make the drink.  Serve it as cold as possible.  Presentation is critical.  Don't go walking across the bar with a filled, wobbling Martini and spill 1/3 of it on the bartop.  Drink up!

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

More like The Good, The Bad, The Eurotrash.  I submit to you proof of both elation and rage as a result of full service, running around, multiple drinks, food, etc.  Have a nice day…

The Good

The Bad

The Ugly

This last one is the result of an an puny/nerdy pseudo-American asshole and his Eurotrash entourage.  This group of 3 or 4 schmucks was at the bar for a couple of hours having all kinds of drinks and finally eating two salads.  Upon asking for then scrutinizing the bill, they argue that they they didn't eat anything at all right after wiping their mounths and me clearing their plates!  There you have it – punish the bartender.  Good strategy.  Right…. If you think I'll simply forget what you look like and your name when you pop by in a couple of months, you're mistaken.

Middle Aged Lady Gets Thrown Out

Another day, another horror story of someone getting kicked out of the bar….

So a few weeks ago during a busy happy hour time at the bar, a well dressed middle-aged woman sits down mid-bar.  As usual, I roll up to the scene and proceed to hand her a drink menu. The following shenanigans ensue:

[Me] Hi! How are you?

[Lady] Can you charge my cell phone? (no responsive greeting)

[Me] Sure.  Can I get you anything from the bar?

[Lady] Some water.  Just charge my cell phone (sliding an iPhone my way)

[Me] Ok.  Can I have your charger please?

[Lady] What??? You offer to charge my cell phone and you don't have a charger (giving me an Oh God 360 and mouth snap)

[Me] Look. Firstly, you've got to order something if you're sitting at the bar.  Secondly, NO, I did not think to myself I need to ensure that I have your brand of cell phone charger when I left my house today. What would you like to do?

[Lady] I want you to charge my cell phone and I want water now!

[Me] (grabbing the menus back and pushing her phone back towards her) You have to go now. Leave!

[Lady] (proceeds to go complain to the manager)

This is a 100% true story and one of many ridiculous human behavior episodes.  The bar unfortunately provides endless fodder for this type of stupidity.




Old Fashioned

Ahh… this one’s one of my top 5 favorite drinks.  Unfortunately, it’s also one of my top 5 least favorite drinks to actually prepare (when I’m busy).  If it’s relatively slow, I’m more than happy to churn them out.  The Old Fashioned is yet another drink that is misunderstood by the better part of bartenders I’ve encountered, as well as consumers.  The main problem is that most folks have not been taught how to order or make them properly.

Like when ordering just about any other mixed drink, start with the liquor you’d like. For example: “Bartender, I’d like a Bookers Old Fashioned, please.” Well said, succinct, and polite – perfection from a customer.  Now, as a bartender, when someone orders an old fashioned in this way “Old Fashioned please,” your first reaction must be to ask him/her “Sure, which liquor?” If this results in confusion, follow with “Would you like Bourbon, Rye, Scotch, Irish, Rum, etc.?”  Try to upsell.  I assure you, you don’t really want an Old Fashioned made with well Scotch.  

Continue reading

Things Never to Do at a Bar

Building on my Things Never to Say to a Bartender article, let’s take things to the next logical level with actions unbecoming of a customer.

  • Coming in with no cash (or not enough) and no credit card.  This sounds like a freaking joke but you’d be absolutely surprised by the frequency with which this happens. Idiots abound - particularly those with entitlement syndrome.  That old gag about having to do the dishes is utter bullshit.  If you consume and can’t pay, prepared to have a burly bear of bouncer keep you there while the Po-Po come to lock your dumbass up.  I’ve had several instances of customers with no cash trying to pay with a debit card without a MasterCard or VISA logo – it doesn’t work – sorry.  Don’t walk into an establishment without adequate funds.  Hit the ATM beforehand.  Anecdote: I have this seemingly 4-foot tall senior citizen, who lugs un-Godly amounts of personal stuff in Duane Reade bags around, wears an ornate head thingy, and generally looks/speaks like a Hobbit gypsy.  She’ll come in from time to time and demand “…ehhh wan taist of Jack Daniels please… I want to see if eet eez ok…” in her broken Romanian-Engrish or whatever it is.  I smile and say sorry and she’ll bounce around to every other bartender in the spot.  Kind of funny after you get used to it.  I think most places have these trolls.
  • Blowing your nose in a bevnap and depositing it on the bar in the direction of the bartender. This should be self-explanatory but you’d be shocked at how often this happens.  This is absolutely disgusting.  Get up and throw it in the nearest trash can.
  • Sticking your grubby paws in the condiment tray.  Gross!  Don’t do it – ever!
  • Taking your shoes off.  Yes, it actually happens often.
  • Tipping in numerous coins. Keep your change.
  • Ignoring staff and/or bobbing to the beat with your headphones while being spoken to.  We wouldn’t do it to you. How on Earth is this acceptable behavior?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve greeted people with “Hi there! How are you?  Can I get you anything?” – they sit there typing away on a phone and offer ZERO response.  
  • Walking away from the bar for a smoke or to go to the restroom without dropping a credit card or otherwise paying your tab.  This is grounds for immediate suspicion and you’re likely to get someone chasing after you even though in most cases, you have no bad intentions.  Look at it from the bartender’s perspective.  They’d be taking a massive risk.  
  • Crumbling the odd napkin, french fry, toothpick, etc. in to hundreds of little pieces strewn on the bar.  Some folks, strangely, have fidgety fingers and feel the need to endlessly tear things apart.  I don’t get it.  This is a nasty habit that I’m constantly cleaning up after.
  • Staring at staff incessantly.  I’ve covered this in other articles.  We get that you’re infatuated with certain folks.  Quit making it obvious.  It won’t get you anywhere.
  • Grabbing, poking, caressing, or otherwise touching the staff.  Big big NO NO! Don’t do it!  Unfortunately, lots of folks are under the impression that this is the best way to get the bartender’s attention – wrong.  It’s the best way to put them on the defensive and piss them off.  Patiently wait with a needy look, wave nicely, and/or have cash in hand.  I assure you’ll be taken care of in due time.  Among many other incidents, I once had a somewhat initially pleasant regular descend into absolute batshit craziness.  The night he was finally 86′d, this epic flaming, self-indulgent queen offended and drove out a half-dozen customers.  He ran up and own the aisles screaming about how we stole from the place, got up on bar and dry humped it, threatened to kill me (err… bitch slap me), and finally reached across the bar and grabbed me.  I didn’t take it well.
  • Whistling or snapping your fingers for attention.  Almost as bad as reaching out and touching someone, ala Ma Bell.  This will instantly land you in DouchebagVille with the bartender.  Instead, sit patiently, cash or credit card in hand, with a polite needy look.  Tip well and be courteous.  This will convey to the barkeep that you’re not a problem customer, but a very much desired guest.  As I’ve mentioned other posts repeatedly, this will buy you immeasurable and invaluable brownie-points going forward.
  • You’ve not engaged the bartender/barmaid (don’t call her that) in conversation other than a salutation, drink order, and thanks.  However, you’re determined to take said hotness home with you as you’re in desperate need of some indoor sports.  You’re gonna make damned sure he/she remembers and calls you by writing some ridiculous note accompanied by your phone number on the credit card receipt.  Yikes! Creepy.  Make an effort and chat/flirt first ay?  
  • Placing trash, used wipes, half-eaten fruit rinds, etc. in the trough or drink prep area.  This is again, totally gross.  Don’t do it please.  The rubber mats you see in the trough and drink prep station are not trash cans.  Use your head.
  • Spreading your wings” or otherwise inappropriately taking up space for 17 people.  Yep, we’ve got those guys too and yes they’re almost always guys who litterally spread their wings to occupy 3 spaces and/or place their gym duffle bag on one seat and bubble jacket on the other while they sit in the middle.  Then, they proceed to get pissed off when heaven forbid another customer rolls up on “their” area.  It’s not “your” area dude.  Think of it as an airline seat – you’re entitle to one if you’re a patron.  Put your shit away and get a grip.  Stay home and be the king of your own couch not the neighborhood bar.
  • Paying in dozens of coins or a handful of crumpled bills.  This is really rude to do not just to bartenders but to anyone in retail.  
  • Frottage.  Questioning many friends over the years and recounting horrible service industry stories, it seems no one has ever heard of this phrase.  What it really is in the bar/club sense is non-consensual rubbing.  Yes folks, you read correctly.  There are a handful of groping, fetish-loving men there.  Yes, they’re all men and the victims are always unsuspecting women.  This is positively dark, disgusting, enraging behavior but it does happen once in a while.  The busier the bar, the more easily it can be concealed for obvious reasons.  I’ve had to have more several douchebags tossed over the years for committing this atrocity.  The funny thing is, the victims never ever even notice what’s happening! Even their friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands have no clue!  Here’s how it works.  Creep will order a drink and tip handsomely to distract the bartender.  Subsequently, he’ll put a leg up on the brass railing, bar stool and “casually” but regularly rub up on the chick next to him.  It can also be a finger, hand, shoulder or whatever.  Living in NYC, I’ve see this pretty regularly in packed subway cars as well. 
  • Catching an attitude when asked for ID.  I’m over 40.  I look young’ish.  I still from time to time get carded.  This is almost always the case when hitting a busy club.  I don’t unleash my best Oh-God-360, snap my mouth, murmur some curse words, or otherwise throw a titty tantrum.  Just give up the goods when asked without fuss.  The bar security, servers, and bartenders are just doing their jobs.  They’re doing everything they can to avoid getting summoned by the Po-Po and/or losing their liquor license.  None of us want to server underage drinkers.  It’s not worth it in the slightest.   I’ve seen 23 year olds get all  nasty and spout out stupidity like “don’t I look old enough?” or “I’m 23 dude!” You’re an ass clown is what you are.  Whip out your license pronto and lose the attitude.  You’re making my job harder and costing everyone money and dry mouth.
  • Ordering from between chatting couples or chasing the bartender from one end of the bar to the other. I get it – you need your booze injection.  So do dozens of others.  It’s a busy bar.  Sit your ass down at or nudge your way into a semi-free spot at the bar and wait patiently with a look of need and/or cash in hand.  Give a friendly smile or nod.  We’re conditioned to notice folks like you and serve to order.  Don’t piss off other customers by forcing your way into their faces.  It’s downright rude.  Don’t shout your order from 10 feet away from the bar – you’ll get ignored.  
  • Your credit card is declined but you’re sure as hell going to make sure the bartender runs it 7 more times because something is wrong with his computer.  In busy establishments in major cities, you’ll almost always be asked to give up the plastic to hold a tab open upon ordering.  Subsequently, the bartender will also pre-authorize a certain amount on your card to make sure you have adequate funds – whether you wind up paying in cash or cc.  If your card is declined for whatever reason, I will try to be as gracious as possible about it, especially if you’re with a guest.  I’ll say something like “…would you happen to have another card by any chance?”  Far too many people get all insulted and fly into a rage.  When I ask you for another card, it’s really nice code for “your card was declined.”  No amount of re-running will make it not declined.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with our computers.  They talk to Visa, MC, and Amex nearly instantly.  Take a hint.  My next couple of retorts will be increasingly accusatory and sharp if you do not.   I’m doing my best not to say the “decline” word or otherwise embarrass you.  Whip out another card, hit he ATM, or otherwise fund your purchase. 

Thinks Never To Say to a Bartender

Where to begin?  As a customer, your goal is to enjoy your outing at the local watering hole right? You’d like to be treated well, laugh, drink, eat maybe, and maybe be remembered as a good guy/gal upon your next visit aye?  With that in mind, let’s take a look at things say that will piss off your bartender and figure out how to avoid them to ensure you’re not mistreated by an enraged server.

  • I’m just waiting for someone…” as you proceed to occupy your stool, the adjoining stool for yet to arrive pseudo-date while you ask for water and the bar is 2 people deep. Your bartender does not give a crap that you’re waiting for Mr/Mrs XYZ or whomever.  There is zero need to throw this out there – ever.  It’s useless information.  Your server just cares that you order something and don’t take up valuable space.  
  • You should smile more” A-hole! You know what you just caused?  You just caused me not not smile until you’re gone.  Never, ever say this to anyone let alone a bartender.  It’s just plain stupid and unoriginal.  This is usually uttered by someone who is interested in undressing you.  You just blew any remote chance you may have had at all.  If you want someone’s not smiling, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re upset.  It may mean nothing at all.  No one I know of walks around with a perma-smile.  Perma mouth-agape, yes but not perma-smile.  If you want to get that barkeep to smile, how about you be courteous, charming, funny or witty?
  • It’s my birthday” or “It’s my friend’s birthday” Never, ever utter these words to the bartender. You’re not getting any free drinks period.
  • What should I order?” Internal answer: I have no fucking idea!!!  Externally, we may smile and hand offer you a “would you like to take a look at the drink menu?” or “do you like drinks which are dry, sweet, fruity, creamy, etc?” to try and narrow down the plethora of options or “our house specialties are…”  In reality, when the bar is really busy, this is absolutely troublesome and you’ve instantly made the bartender irate.  In clubs I’ve worked at, this type of behavior would result in you being ignored for a good long while.  In a bar/restaurant, that reaction often doesn’t fly.  I may tell you I’ll be right back while you ponder the display of booze on the back bar, the taps and the menu.  Consider also that a drink that one person likes, another my find disgusting.  Give us a ballpark idea of what you’d like, ask for a drink menu straight away, or study the beverages on display before you approach the barkeep. 
  • I’d like you to bear my children.  What time do you get off?” or “You’re hot! What’s your number?” or “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” or “Have you been tested for STD’s recently?” etc.  How about some foreplay first eh?  You get the picture.  You think these are jokes but we get various versions of these questions repeatedly.   Read my Macking with the Staff article.
  • What’s your number/email address?” Milder category of the preceding…
  • Facebook Friend Request.- In the beginning, God created…whoops – wrong blog! Um… in the beginning of FB, it was all about hooking up with random hotties.  Now that every Tom, Dick, Jane, your Grandma, and your Dad are on FB, an etiquette has evolved.  Most people are no longer random FB Friend Collectors (I hope).  If you’re a customer, regular or not, what business do you have sending a Friend Request where you’ve never hung out with this employee, you don’t have his/her number and otherwise have no relationship other than the fact that you’re a patron??? All this proves in most cases is that you’ve gone through the trouble of finding out the barkeep’s last name, have stalked them online a bit and that equals creepy! Ewwww!
  • I’d like that with little/no ice” Umm…. no.  Don’t be surprised if you get a half-filled high-ball or rocks glass.  Quit the bullshit.  This is a common tactic of a certain class of individual who shall remain nameless and is always trying to get something for free.  This person is simply trying to get over on newbie bartenders who are clueless.  The reason they keep doing it is because it works in many places and there is an endless stream of said newbie bartenders who will give away the house because they’re inexperienced and clueless.   My standard response to this type of request is to offer a shot and a chaser separately to avoid any drama which is sure to come from just about everyone ordering in this fashion.  Or, as mentioned, I’ll provide a half-filled glass.  When/if the customer complains, I’ll ask if they’d like a double which almost always shuts them up.
  • Make it strong!”  Errr…. if you’ve read my other articles, you’ll know how I feel about this one.  This request goes hand in hand with the little/no ice request.  These are mouthed by cheapskates and freeloaders and handled in a similar fashion.  As a customer, if you mouth this phrase, you’ve instantly painted yourself into a corner of the bartender’s brain and not a good one.  It’s a placed reserved for the worst customers imaginable outside of non-tipping Eurotrash – the ghetto crowd.  I speak of “ghetto” as a mindset and pattern of behavior not where you live nor your skin color.  “Ghetto” folks come from all over unfortunately.  They often want something for nothing or feel they’re entitled to special treatment.   Anyway, I will typically respond “yes, abolutely sir/maam!” and make the drink exactly as I would otherwise and tell them it’s nice and strong.  Otherwise, I may use extra ice and fill the drink a bit less than I normally would resulting in a higher concentration of booze.  Another trick if you can get away with it is to pour a slight of amount of booze directly down the straw to appease the guest with the first sip.  If not, the asking for a double or extra shot dialogue is in order.
  • I’m friends with the owner” Argh!!! This is always bullshit and almost always another case of someone trying to get over.  You will be identified and treated as such. If you were the owner’s brother, sister, cousin twice removed, lawyer, etc, you would never drop names and have grand expectations.  You would shut the hell up and show up with said owner(s), have their numbers, and generally go about your business unobtrusively.  
  • Do you guys do buybacks?” or “Is that one free?” Ugh! Previously covered but worth mentioning again about a thousand times.  This is the mother of all bar faux-pas.
  • Can I have a coffee?”  This may seem innocuous to you but in the evening while the bar is busy, this is a massive annoyance as the bartender sometimes has to run around for a while to obtain a setup, sugar caddy, cream, spoon, and maybe not so fresh coffee all for the grand sum of a dollar or two for the house and perhaps $.50 cents to a dollar tip.  Furthermore, you’re occupying space that could legitimately be used by our favorite type of clientele, the alcoholic – preferably a Suit with a corporate AMEX and a dozen of his buddies.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with ordering coffee – I exaggerate a tad.  The daytime lends itself to juch java consumption as does a cooling off period after several rounds of drinks.  But when it’s busy at night, this is a major PITA.
  • I’d like a milkshake”  This falls into the same domain as the coffee but worse.  This is probably the most annoying order you can give to a bartender.  It’s messy, non-alcoholic [read: bars like people who drink booze], and most importantly takes a LONG time to make which equals loss of income.
  • Are there any seats anywhere?” or “We’d like to have some drinks but can’t find any seats”  This is beyond aggravating.  The bar is 3 deep.  We have 3 orders for 8 people in our heads, menus in arms, cash in fists, and are carrying on 2 other conversations.  Bar stools/seating are the customers’ domain.  You must fend for yourself.  If you’re exceptionally hot, we’ll drop everything you’re doing, kick out the old dude eating dessert at the far end of the bar and kindly seat you ourselves.  
  • Can you ask that chick over there if she has a boyfriend or would like a drink?” Yikes.  Creep.  No self esteem.  Get your pathetic ass up, put the iPhone down and go talk to her.
  • Can I get a glass of water?” as you run into the bathroom fresh off your skateboard, fully jacketed, huffing and puffing, on your wat out the door with zero intention of actually buying anything or ordering anything else.  
  • My friend is gonna pay for these drinks.  He’s coming in a few minutes.”  Umm… NO!  You will pay or  drop a credit card to hold the tab.  Chicks pull this one regularly.
  • We’re just waiting for a table” As you and your party of 7 occupy 1/3 of the bar ordering nothing.  If it’s not busy, fine – no problem.  The restaurant is happy to have you.  But as soon as the bar fills up, you’re costing everyone money.  Please wait in the waiting area or order something for all or most of your party while you await a table.
  • Can we transfer our check to a table?” Jesus no! In most restaurant-bars I’ve worked in, the bar is extremely busy.  As a result, it’s damned near impossible to track down parties that have moved to a table.  Furthermore, the barkeep looks at the situation as a complete loss of gratuity.  Again if it’s slow and the tab is relatively small, fine.  We’re here to accommodate.

  • “Have you seen the movie ‘Cocktail’ with Tom Cruise?” Holy shit! You douchebag.  Do you honestly think that (1) I haven’t (2) that I care and (3) that you’re the first moron to bring up that retarded reference?  I don’t care about a fictional flair bartender who used nothing but props.  Think of something more interesting and original to talk about, if you’re even capable of delving deep enough in your douchebag intelligista arsenal to do so.