Tag Archives: bartender

Ordering “Beer” at a Bar

I bartend at a tourist trap in San Francisco. That means I deal with a lot of people that don’t know how to order drinks. At least twice a shift I will ask a customer what they want to drink, and they will respond with “Beer.” I just shake my head and explain to them that this isn’t Hollywood. This isn’t a movie. You don’t just say “Beer” and get a beer. Do you want bottle or draft? Do you want something imported, domestic, or a local craft brew? Do you want a lager, an ale, a stout, a porter, a wheat beer or an IPA? You have to be more specific. If you want a Budweiser, then order a fucking Budweiser. I don’t have time to hold your hand and walk you through the menu. I’m too busy helping people who actually know what they want to drink. The next motherfucker who asks me for a beer is getting a glass of O’Doul’s and the middle finger. You wanted a beer, you got one. Now fuck off. 

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bartender Hands

I’ve been bartending a couple of days a week and it’s starting to catch up with me. Right now I’m suffering from a case of bartender hands. That’s when your hands are slightly dried out with small nicks and cuts. The cuts aren’t generally visible but you sure as hell feel them when you get lime juice or a bit of salt in them, both common hazards of the trade. Bartending isn’t just making cocktails, pouring beer, and making small talk with customers. There’s a lot of grunt work involved. You get bartender hands from washing glassware, prepping fruit, broken pieces of glass, and any combination of the above. It takes its toll after a while. It’s worth it at the end of the shift though. Count your money, not your problems. 

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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$100 for 13 Bottles of Bud Light

I was hanging out with some friends at the bar the other night and last call snuck up on us. Suddenly the bar was closing and it was too late to run to the liquor store. My friend was desperate to keep the party going. How desperate? Well, she gave the bartender fifty bucks to take home thirteen bottles of Bud Light. And she tipped fifty bucks on top of that. Let that sink in. She spent $100 for 13 bottles of Bud Light. If that’s not a waste of money, I don’t know what is. You can get a 12-pack of Bud Light for less than fifteen bucks, or you can spend twenty bucks and get a 12-pack of good beer. She chose to waste a hundred bucks on thirteen shitty beers. To each their own, but that’s fucking ridiculous. I couldn’t even drink one. I was too busy shaking my head.

Critically Rated at 2/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bar Ordering Showdown

You’re hanging out with some friends at the bar and it’s time to order another drink. You leave your table in the corner and approach the bartender at the same time as someone else. The two of you are now competing for the bartender’s attention and only one person can win the bar ordering showdown. Who will be served first? This is when it pays to be a regular, but not everybody has that luxury. The best way to win the showdown is to have a twenty in your hand and a look of determination. Make eye contact but don’t stare. And always know what you want. If you’re in a new bar or one that you don’t frequent often, it helps to pay as you go and tip out well on each drink. Overtip on the first round and the bartender will definitely remember you. You can’t win every showdown so don’t take it personally when you lose. The bartender won’t ignore you forever. Eventually you’ll get a drink and that’s all that matters.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bloody Mary

A Bloody Mary is a popular cocktail. It’s vodka with tomato juice and spices and other flavors. It typically includes salt, pepper, lemon or lime juice, Worcestershire, and some sort of hot sauce like Tabasco or Red Hot. It’s often elaborately garnished with a lime wedge, olives, celery, maybe a pickle or onion, and it’s increasingly common to serve it with bacon, beef jerky, or some other smoked/salted hunk of meat. It’s one of those drinks that you grow to love. You probably don’t like your first sip of a Bloody Mary, but the taste grows on you. It cures hangovers and helps start new ones. A good Bloody Mary always starts with a good Bloody Mary mix. You don’t want anything that comes readymade from a bottle. You want to make it fresh. A good bartender takes pride in their cocktails and a Bloody Mary is one of the most complex drinks you can order. If it’s good, the bartender is too. As Vanilla Ice once said, “anything less than the best is a felony.”

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Counting Drinks

My friend went out drinking a few nights ago and he went hard. He came to work the next day with a splitting headache and a raging hangover. I asked him what he had to drink. He started listing everything off. He had six draft beers, two bottle beers, four Jack & Cokes, and five shots. I would have been impressed if he hadn’t been counting drinks. That’s kind of amateur. That’s what college kids do when they are trying to one-up each other. I think you should drink until you get a buzz, and then you just need a drink every now and then to keep it going. Keeping track of each individual drink is pointless. You’re trying to get drunk, you don’t need to keep an inventory. That’s the bartender’s job.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Buying Cans of Beer at the Bar

I was at the bar the other day and couldn’t help but notice when a bunch of bros walked in and ordered six cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I’m not a big fan of PBR but I don’t shit on it, but I still couldn’t figure out why you would go to a bar and essentially order a six pack of a cheap domestic that you can get at the store for a quarter of the cost. In fact I don’t know why anybody would buy cans of beer at a bar. Get something on tap or at least get a bottle of something decent. Live a little. Canned domestics have no place in a decent bar. I can’t respect you if you order a can of Budweiser from a bartender. The bartender won’t respect you either.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Drink Token

I go to a dive bar a few times a week where the bartenders will occasionally give out drink tokens to thirsty patrons. A drink token is a token for a free drink. They might give them away during Happy Hour, for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, or if you gave them a particularly good tip. Drink tokens are a precious commodity, especially in a city where a beer costs five to six bucks for a pint. You could redeem it right away, but it’s better to save it for a rainy day. Sometimes you really need a drink but you don’t want to pay for one. That’s when you bust out the drink token and quench your thirst. But remember that you still have to tip even though the drink is free. A dollar or two will suffice. Just because the drink is free doesn’t mean you can be cheap.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ordering a Cocktail But Not Knowing What’s In It

The vast majority of people in a bar order basic cocktails like margaritas, martinis, Long Islands, etc. But there is always some asshole that orders a drink that nobody has ever heard of before. Ordering a cocktail but not knowing what’s in it is a great way to piss off your bartender. There are hundreds if not thousands of cocktail names and recipes, so you should be prepared to help out your bartender if you order something obscure like a Skittle shot or a Vampire Juice or something. You should know more about the drink than just its name. You should know what liquors are in it, you should know what mixers to use, and you should know if it’s a shot or something you sip on. A lot of people will order a stupid drink because it sounds cool, but they don’t have the slightest idea what is in it. And that’s fucking retarded. You shouldn’t order something if you don’t know what’s in it. That’s just plain common sense.

Critically Rated at /17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Tip Before You Eat

I think it’s time that we sit together as a society and rethink our tipping procedure. There are a lot of douchebags that take advantage of the current tipping procedure. They will complain about drinks and food in an attempt to get free things. They will change their order ten minutes after the server rang it in. They will rack up a three hundred dollar bill and stiff the server on the tip. The server shouldn’t have to deal with that. I think that we should tip before we eat. It makes perfect sense. Your server/bartender should know if you’re a cheap asshole before they go out of their way to help you. If you tip well, then you would get better service. If you don’t tip well, then you get the service that you deserve. You get what you pay for in a perfect world. I don’t care how nice a table is, they don’t deserve good service if they don’t tip well. I don’t care how miserable a table is, they don’t deserve bad service if they tip well. The problem is that servers don’t know who is cheap and who is a decent human being until the table settles the bill or runs away. You should tip before you eat and get the service that you deserve. If you pledge 18% to your server beforehand, he/she will be more willing to help you out. And if food comes out wrong or your server fucks up, the bill will be discounted, but the server would still make 18%. Everyone wins.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Slow Bartender

It was a shitty day at work the other day, so I went to Happy Hour with a few coworkers. We were in desperate need for a drink, but unfortunately we go stuck with the slowest bartender in the history of the world. We ordered a few cocktails and a couple of beers, and then we started playing the waiting game. We waited as he sauntered around getting the liquors and mixers ready. We waited some more as he gathered up the glassware and started to make the first few drinks. Then we waited as he came back and asked what else we ordered. Then we waited as he made the next few drinks. Then we had to remind him that we also ordered beer, and we had to wait while he poured them from the tap. Then he asked us what we ordered again so that he could ring it in. We didn’t have a complicated order. There wasn’t anything that had to be blended or muddled, just a few simple cocktails and some beers. We had three drinks that were the same, we had two other drinks that were the same, and we had two IPAs. We could tell that he felt bad about taking so long, and he even offered us another round on the house. We had to pass. It would have taken too long, and it wouldn’t have been worth it. Time is the one thing that you can’t get back. If you’re a slow bartender, you are in the wrong profession.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ordering a Frozen Drink and Complaining That You Can’t Taste the Alcohol

One of the biggest pet peeves for anybody in the service industry is when somebody orders a frozen drink and then complains that they can’t taste the alcohol. No shit you can’t taste it, you just ordered a fucking frozen drink. The colder the drink, the less you can taste the alcohol. Blending booze and ice and sweet mixers is going to make your cocktail taste like a smoothie. It’s a waste of liquor. That’s why most places serve margaritas on the rocks as opposed to blended. There’s no point in getting a savory tequila if you’re not going to savor it. You want to be able to taste the liquor. Sometimes it’s really hot and you feel like a piña colada or strawberry daiquiri. That’s totally acceptable; just don’t complain to the bartender if you think it’s a virgin drink. It’s not. So shut up about it.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Table vs Bar Top

It’s beer thirty and it’s time to start drinking. You walk into the bar and are instantly faced with a decision. You can sit at the bar top or you can grab a table. I prefer getting a table. You can actually make eye contact with other people and have a normal conversation with your friends. It’s more casual and relaxed. The biggest problem with sitting at a table is that ordering another drink becomes a hassle. Everybody gets lazy and settled in, and if you finally cave and stand up to get another drink, everybody else is waving cash at you and asking that you also order them a beer while you’re up.

Sitting at the bar top is convenient, but it’s also kind of depressing. You are instantly limited in who you can talk to; it’s either the person the right or left of you and the bartender. The bartender might make small talk with you, but he or she doesn’t give a shit about you. They might crack a joke or share an anecdote, but they are just trying to get a tip out of you. You’re basically paying them to pretend to be your friend. Sitting at the bar top shows that you mean business. You are there to drink. Sitting at a table shows that you are there to socialize. You are there to have a drink with your friends. It doesn’t matter which one you prefer, as long as you have a drink in your hand.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Free Shots

You’re at the bar, a few drinks in, and you’re silently debating to yourself whether or not you want to sneak away. Then suddenly the bartender plops down a few glasses in front of your group and declares that the next shot is on the house. Now there’s no escape. Free shots are both a blessing and a curse. Don’t get me wrong, I will never turn down free booze… but if I wanted a shot I would have ordered one. Free shots usually contain the worst alcohol in the bar, but the bartender always acts like they are hooking you up. They aren’t hooking you up. They are getting rid of an unwanted product and they think that disposing it on you will lead to a higher tip. And it usually works because then you feel obligated to open your wallet. Nothing good can come out of a free shot. It leads to regret and blacking out and possibly throwing up in the bathroom. Free shots are the adult form of peer pressure. Everyone’s doing it, you might as well too.

Critically Rated at 9/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Waiting… (film)

Waiting… is an independent comedy written and directed by Rob McKittrick. It centers on a day in the life of a group of servers working at Shenaniganz (your stereotypical corporate restaurant like Chili’s or Applebee’s). Ryan Reynolds and Justin Long star as two servers that are stuck in a rut and working the dinner shift.

The film explores all the stereotypes of servers. Dean (Justin Long) feels trapped and doesn’t want to spend his life waiting tables. Monty (Ryan Reynolds) has accepted his fate and embraces his future with the restaurant. There’s the bitchy waitress who has been there way too long and the shy trainee. There’s the lesbian bartender and sexy young hostess. There’s the stupid manager who doesn’t know how to manage. There are the lazy bussers, horny Mexican chef, and angry white cook. You recognize all these people if you’ve ever worked in the service industry.

Waiting… could be a documentary. That’s pretty much what it’s like working at a corporate restaurant. Your coworkers are all your friends. You have fun and bullshit your way through each shift before partying with everyone after work. Except for the excessive food-dropping and genital flashing, everything is pretty accurate. It’s a funny movie no matter what, but it’s even better if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant. It should be mandatory viewing for anyone in the service industry. If you’ve seen this movie, you’ve seen my life.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Last Table in the Restaurant

I work in the service industry and I’m going to tell you a secret: if you go into a sit-down restaurant five minutes before they close, you are scum. You have pissed off the host, the server, the bartender, the busser, the kitchen, and the closing manager. I know you are hungry and that sucks, but I’m tired and want to go home. Or to the bar. Either way, I don’t want to serve you. The cooks don’t want me to serve you either. They started mentally checking out thirty minutes before closing. The host has to stay an extra forty minutes just to smile and thank you for visiting when you leave. The bartender already yelled last call before you got there, so consider yourself lucky if you can get a drink. The manager can’t leave until the bartender leaves, and the bartender can’t leave until the server leaves, and the server can’t leave until your inconsiderate ass does. If it’s late and you just want a bite to eat, get some fast food. If you want to be an asshole, go to a sit-down restaurant five minutes before close. There’s a special spot in Hell reserved for the last table in the restaurant.

Critically Rated at 4/17

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Being a Regular

A lot of places use a system for remembering if you are a regular patron to that particular establishment. A lot of coffee shops, sandwich spots, and burger joints will use a janky card that you use to punch out a hole with each purchase and your tenth hole is a free meal. Fuck that. The only place worth being a regular is at a bar. If a bartender knows you and recognizes you (and knows that you tip), you will get your drinks faster and stronger and occasionally free. Being a regular means you are established, that they know you. When you go into a place and they ask if you want the usual, you feel special. You also feel like a drunken loser who goes to the same spot way too much, but it’s nice to feel welcomed. You feel like you’re in Cheers or at Moe’s Tavern.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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