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Shannon_Elise

Tips for the Bartender

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Bartenders put ice or crushed ice in a kir?! Ugh! I've never seen that anywhere from Paris to Marsaille, to New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, or even Peoria, IL. What a travesty.

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The biggest thing I see, as a bartender, are bartenders who don't pay attention to their customers. As long as you are not super weeded you should know who is going to need: a drink, their bill, you to stop them from committing various criminal acts etc. Also if you love cocktails and making good drinks then prepare to hate life if you find a job at a place that is not cocktail centric.

I also agree that you should be giving people 10 in change with a five and five ones. I had a few old school bar customers set me start on that many years ago.

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Bartenders put ice or crushed ice in a kir?! Ugh! I've never seen that anywhere from Paris to Marsaille, to New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, or even Peoria, IL. What a travesty.

It only happened once. In Japan. Come to think of it, I don't think it was a bartender, I think it was just one of the waitstaff (it was at a restaurant that has a cocktail menu, though no real "bar").

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I also agree that you should be giving people 10 in change with a five and five ones. I had a few old school bar customers set me start on that many years ago.

Good point. How do bartenders expect to get tipped if they don't make change?


Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I also agree that you should be giving people 10 in change with a five and five ones. I had a few old school bar customers set me start on that many years ago.

Good point. How do bartenders expect to get tipped if they don't make change?

When I was starting out I didn't do this mostly because it was something that always annoyed my father--he doesn't like having a wallet full of small bills and figured if he needed some for change, they could always be traded out later. It sort of stuck with me for a while and though it doesn't come up often where I work now, every time it does I feel a small pang of guilt for giving lots of ones back in change.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I also agree that you should be giving people 10 in change with a five and five ones. I had a few old school bar customers set me start on that many years ago.

Good point. How do bartenders expect to get tipped if they don't make change?

When I was starting out I didn't do this mostly because it was something that always annoyed my father--he doesn't like having a wallet full of small bills and figured if he needed some for change, they could always be traded out later. It sort of stuck with me for a while and though it doesn't come up often where I work now, every time it does I feel a small pang of guilt for giving lots of ones back in change.

I like getting a mix of bills, especially if the amount is in the range where the larger bill would be a slightly overly generous tip - that's presumptuous. I don't think I would mind if someone asked if I wanted some singles.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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I also agree that you should be giving people 10 in change with a five and five ones. I had a few old school bar customers set me start on that many years ago.

Good point. How do bartenders expect to get tipped if they don't make change?

When I was starting out I didn't do this mostly because it was something that always annoyed my father--he doesn't like having a wallet full of small bills and figured if he needed some for change, they could always be traded out later. It sort of stuck with me for a while and though it doesn't come up often where I work now, every time it does I feel a small pang of guilt for giving lots of ones back in change.

I like getting a mix of bills, especially if the amount is in the range where the larger bill would be a slightly overly generous tip - that's presumptuous. I don't think I would mind if someone asked if I wanted some singles.

I think the thought process here was that assuming there would be a tip would be presumptuous to begin with, which is the only point in giving extraneous small bills. Not that I consider a tip optional when I am the customer, nor does he, but the setup for a tip could be interpreted as a sense of entitlement on the bartender's part--and I'm fairly certain there are a lot of bartenders who feel like they are in fact entitled to a tip. Tipping should indeed be customary--though I'm not trying to hijack this into a tipping discussion--but so should exemplary service from the other side of the bar. It's not too far from the coffee refill question: do you want your cup topped up all the time to keep it warm or only when empty so it is as hot as possible? Everybody has a different notion of what is correct, you can't please everyone.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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My biggest grievance is being ignored. If it is busy, a nod in my direction is sufficient to tell me i am in the bartender's conscience.

If the bar is quiet, i feel the angur rising.

If the bar is quiet and the bartender is chatting with other staff - i feel like i am going to explode.

To put this in perspective, it is not the norm to tip in a bar in England - where i am from; and when i am in the USA i always put down a buck a drink (is that right?). I am usually smiley and cortious and interested - so i see myself as a OK customer.

But please don't ignore me.

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Again, may have more to do with the establishment than the bartender, but if I'm in the lounge having a drink before dinner, transfer my tab. Don't inconvenience me because you and the server can't decide who gets what portion of the tip.

Boy does that bring back memories of the gracious olden days of service.

Not only did they transfer the bar tab, if you were a lady, or if they even suspected that you might be, they carried your drink to your dining table, too, so you wouldn't have to traipse through the dining room with a mittfull of booze.

It was automatic.

Now, if you asked somebody to do that, they'd look at you like you had just grown a third eye in the middle of your forehead.

Something I know from experience.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Again, may have more to do with the establishment than the bartender, but if I'm in the lounge having a drink before dinner, transfer my tab. Don't inconvenience me because you and the server can't decide who gets what portion of the tip.

Boy does that bring back memories of the gracious olden days of service.

Not only did they transfer the bar tab, if you were a lady, or if they even suspected that you might be, they carried your drink to your dining table, too, so you wouldn't have to traipse through the dining room with a mittfull of booze.

It was automatic.

Now, if you asked somebody to do that, they'd look at you like you had just grown a third eye in the middle of your forehead.

Something I know from experience.

That is absolutely as it should be...I mean assuming you aren't at Friday's. As a bartender I'll always close out at the bar before moving to a table, but certainly noone should be expected to.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I wholeheartedly agree with most of the above - I can't really comment on the change for tips thing as the culture is very different over here.

I thought I'd add a couple of tips from the non customer service side of things:

Remember you're part of a team. For me the most important aspect of this is cleaning up after yourself, especially if you find yourself sharing a station - there's nothing worse than finding someone else's unwashed clutter in your way. Find yourself on a quiet day shift? Then do whatever you can to help out the evening staff, they'll thank you for it if they get unexpectedly busy.

Look after your barback(s) if you have them and show them all the respect they deserve (which is usually a lot). On a busy night they can be often be the only thing standing between a great shift and going down in flames.

You WILL make mistakes, and may well be dragged over the coals for it. Don't take it to heart, learn from it and make sure you don't do it again.

Above all enjoy yourself. Their are very few people in this to get rich! The pay's not exactly the best and the hours can be terrible, but it can be the best times of your life every night. That can stem from good natured banter with the custumers (where appropriate!), the satisfaction from knowing they're loving the drink you just made or a million other things. I've always believed the atmosphere in a bar starts behind the bar. The bar tenders give the place its soul. That may mean a willingness to talk to a guest about the history of a cocktail they love, or (subtly) geeing everyone up to get a party feel on the go - depends where you work, day of the week, time of day and a great many other factors. A bar can be successfull despite bad design, poor product selction etc if the staff are good enough. Whereas a bar that has had millions spent on making it look good but has disinterested staff will never succeed. I'm rambling here but I hope you get my point!

Cheers,

Matt

edit to correct typos (bet I've still missed one or two though...)


Edited by Mattmvb (log)

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Be willing to do everything behind the bar. If your barback is clearing someone's glassware or plates, and there is another dirty place that needs to be cleared and wiped down for a new customer, clear it and wipe it down. Don't wait for your barback because "it's not my job." Don't treat your barbacks like servants. Get your own ice, wash glassware, restock, etc., if your barback is busy. They get paid a fraction of what we do, and when you break a glass in your well, and they rush in, burn your ice and change it out in four minutes flat, you'll be grateful. Don't be a princess.


Small Hand Foods

classic ingredients for pre-prohibition era cocktails

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