10 Things Your Bartender Would Love You to Stop Doing

You’ve put on your heels and went all in with a smoky eye. Yep, mama’s going out tonight. But before you head to the bar with the girls, take a look at what our favorite NYC drink-mixing guru, Tim Dunn, has to say about things that almost always annoy a bartender. Are you guilty of any of these? (We certainly are…)

5 Drinks a Bartender Would Never Order at a Bar

bartender cocktail shaker
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Telling them: “I don’t know, just make me something”
Reminder: You’re asking a stranger to just whip something up in hopes that you’ll like it. Chances are you probably won’t. Instead, meet the bartender halfway with something like, “I normally drink vodka, but I’d like to try something new. Maybe sweeter.”

Not using the napkin or coaster they give you
We’re guilty of sticking our gum in there, too, but bartenders not only put those out to protect the bar but also to signal to other bartenders that you’ve been helped already. It’s like some clandestine spy stuff…kinda cool.

bartender ice drinks
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Ordering a bunch of drinks…one at a time
The bartender plops down your gin and tonic and then you order two more. Ugh. If you’re ordering for a group of people, do it all at once. It’s quicker and means less running around for the person behind the bar.

Showing them drink recipes on your phone
There are millions of drink concoctions out there. Even a bartender who’s been working for ten-plus years won’t know all of them. So if you ask, “Do you know how to make a Hot Wet Panda Kiss,” and he says “No,” just move on. You can order that Panda Kiss when you go back to that weird Panda Bar.

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Asking for free drinks
Just…no. If the bartender wants to give you a drink on the house, it will happen. 

Especially on your birthday
Bartenders get the “birthday” request all the time. While they wish you a happy birthday, they’re also working and trying to make a living. 

Ordering Long Island Iced Teas
We were surprised too when we heard this one. But they’re kinda a signal to the bartender that you’re looking to get tipsy, fast. It also means you’re buying fewer drinks. Bartenders want to make you more drinks. Slow and steady wins the race.

Not tipping on water requests
One water request sans drink order? Totally. A few? Leave a tip.

bartender smiling order
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Asking for the bartender’s name
From their perspective, there’s nothing more annoying than a stranger trying to get their attention by yelling their name…over and over again. To get the bartender’s attention, try to make eye contact—they’re on the lookout. 

OK, we stand corrected. There is something more annoying than yelling their name—it’s whistling. And waving money or a credit card in their face as they walk by. Again, go for the eye contact and a little bit of patience. They’ll get to you; it’s literally their job.


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...