5 Drinks a Bartender Would Never Order at a Bar

Stay away from those slushie machines, people

Before you order your go-to drink at the no-fuss bar you wandered into, you might want to reconsider. NYC comedian and bartender Tim Dunn spilled all his secrets on the five drinks you should never order at a bar (plus the ones you actually should). Bottoms up!

bartender drinks mojito


At your typical bar, you probably won’t get the top-notch ingredients a cocktail like this deserves. Who wants a mojito made with out-of-season mint or crummy limes?

What to order instead: A Bacardi and Diet Coke so you can get your rum fix (and make things way easier on your bartender).

bartender drinks beer

Draft Beer

Draft beer travels from keg to tap through a beer line. And if those beer lines aren’t cleaned frequently, you get bacteria growth (ew). If you want to take a guess at how well a bar cleans its beer lines, check out the bathrooms. 

What to order instead: A bottled beer (no judgment if it’s Coors Light).

Milk-based Cocktails

Bartenders loathe milk-based drinks for a few reasons. Top of the list is that most bars rarely use milk, so their supply is short, nonexistent or—worse—expired. Save that White Russian for a cozy night in. 

What to order instead: A Tito’s and root beer for that vodka kick with a side of sweetness.

bartender drinks wine


Unless you’re at a wine bar, most bars have super-cheap “house reds.” And as anyone who’s ever lived on a budget has learned, super-cheap wine leads to a brutal hangover.

What to order instead: Jim Beam, straight. It’s no substitute for a glass of wine, but it checks the “complex spirit that can be sipped slowly” box.


Anything Frozen

Especially if it’s in a machine. Here’s why: Those machines are rarely cleaned (yuck), and because bartenders keep adding mix and spirits to what’s already being churned, the ratios get thrown off. By the time you’re ordering that blue raspberry margarita, who knows what is actually being swirled around in there. 

What to order instead: An el Jimador and grapefruit juice (or Coke, if we’re talking a bare-bones bar). One sip and you get all the beach vibes minus the complicated machinery plus one happy bartender.


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...