Despite what the title of this article might lead you to believe, I freakin' loved being a bartender. I had more fun than you can imagine, made great money and met some amazing people. By far, bartending has been my favorite hourly job.
My bartending resume is varied. While in college (and for a bit after) I bartended at a dance club, at Red Lobster and at several dive bars. And most of the time, it was great. But when it was bad - have mercy, it was awful.
The top three things that drove me crazy as a bartender.
Nothing was more frustrating than making 20 different drinks for a customer, chatting with them and hooking them up with food and free booze - only to get a $1.00 tip on a $150 bill.
Here's the deal. Like it or not, you tip when someone waits on you. I don't care what philosophical ideals you have that prevent you from tipping, but bad tippers are bad people. Period. By not tipping, you're not only telling the person you don't appreciate the work they did for you, but you're making them pay taxes and tip out on money they didn't get.
I'm not saying you should tip heavily on poor or rude service. I'm saying if the person was polite and you got what you ordered, you need to tip well. And if you can't afford to tip, don't go out.
Fifteen to 20 percent for a job well done, people. No excuses.
If you want to meet the jerkiest people in the world, work with food or booze. I don't know what happens to people once they step into a restaurant or bar. Normally mild-mannered people suddenly turn into crazed monsters. As a bartender, I met:
- The guy who can't hold his liquor and wants to fight
- The girl who is trying to impress people by bossing you around
- The guy who will hit on you non-stop
- The girl who tries to get your attention by snapping her fingers, yelling, "Hey, you," or by sighing loudly
- The guy who drinks his entire drink, says you made it wrong and refuses to pay
On top of it, you'll have a lot (and I do mean a lot) of people get mad that you ask to see their ID. By law, you have to card everyone who wants a drink - even if they're 102 years old. But I can't tell you how many times people would get angry or even yell at me when I asked them for their IDs. Seriously? It's the law! You'd also be surprised at just how dumb people can be. I got asked, several times, by complete strangers, "So when are you going to get a real job?" Um, thanks jerkface, but this is a real job.
Cleaning up vomit
Yep. That's right. One of the biggest mistakes I made was inviting a friend of mine to come into my bar on his 21st birthday. I fed him drink after drink and shot after shot. I even made him a shot called the gorilla fart, which is when you take the liquor and beer that's been spilled into the bar mats (gross, I know) and pour it into a cup.
So I shouldn't have been surprised when he vomited all over my bar. I mean, I was surprised, but I shouldn't have been considering what I was giving him. And when I say all over, I mean all over. Guess who got to clean that mess up?
I learned a very important lesson that night. Gorilla farts are a terrible idea.
Not afraid of a little mess? Check out all of our bartender jobs.