'bar behavior' on Serious Eats

From Behind the Bar: What Not to Say to a Bartender

Bartenders are—pretty much by definition—human beings, thus are subject to the same moods, whims, quirks, and personality disorders that others of our species are known to exhibit. The job requires us to suppress these foibles for the sake of hospitality, pretend we've had the greatest day, and spend the bulk of our night being nice to complete strangers. But some people make it really difficult to keep up the facade. More

Ask A Bartender: What's The Best Tip You've Ever Gotten?

It's always nice when a customer slaps down an extra $20 at the end of the night, or when that cute girl scribbles her phone number on the coaster and leaves that, too. But tips, both monetary and not-so-monetary, get much crazier than that. We asked 7 bartenders what their best tip ever was, and they range from a Wii to cash from George Clooney to the love of one bartender's life. More

Are You A Regular At Your Favorite Bar?

A few weeks ago, I ducked out of work early to visit my favorite bar. As soon as I opened the door, I knew it was a good idea, calling it weekend at 4 p.m. instead of the regular 6:30 or 7. My favorite bartender was there (his regular Friday night assignment), and there were still seats since it was early. The place has a menu, but you can order whatever you feel like. "Something with Old Tom gin," I said. More

From Behind the Bar: On Drinking Alone

There was a time when I left New York, and left bartending altogether, not certain if I would ever return to either. The months that ensued contain stories for another day, but when I did come back to the city it was pretty clear that the craft and trade of tending bar had once again called my name. More

From Behind the Bar: On Being in the Mood

If you're having a bad day when you work in a bar, you don't have the luxury of retreating in to a corner and warning everyone to back off. We work in public, and have our customers' eyes on us at all times. They watch what we do, notice when we bark at one another, comment when we're not performing at our best, and make decisions about where they choose to spend their time and money based on what they see. More

From Behind the Bar: In the Weeds

Let's say it's early in the shift and your fellow bartender won't be in for another hour. You've got a few people at the bar, and suddenly ten people come in and they all want cocktails, and then the waitress puts in a few tickets. People who have been sitting at the bar already are waiting for another round. You start one order, talk to new customers, pour a couple of beers, and suddenly you realize that everyone is staring at you because they all want something and there's no way you'll be able to get to them until you get caught up. There's a phrase that we use to describe this kind of scenario: being in the weeds. And being in the weeds is never pretty. More

From Behind the Bar: The Happy Bar Widow

When you are young and you work in hospitality, you often date in hospitality. Perhaps it is because of the strange hours of your job, or maybe it's because of the types of people attracted to the industry. I dated within my profession for both the convenience and for the personalities I met. Cooks were fun for nights of video games and standing in the back of smoky bars drinking Budweiser while listening to them perform with a band, waiters for their tortured monologues of how they would one day be famous actors. But my favorites were always bartenders. More

From Behind the Bar: On Drinking for Free

Things get complicated when you factor in one of the major tools that bartenders use to connect to their clientele: the buy-back. Buy-back, comp, promo; call it what you will. In every bar, there is a certain budget that allows for giving a customer a drink that they do not have to pay for. For those of us who work behind bars, the buy-back is a double-edged sword. More

From Behind the Bar: What is a Bartender's Job?

There has been an interesting comment that that keeps popping up in the threads of these columns. It goes something like this: "I'm sick of the trend where bartenders think that they are god's gift to humanity. Your job is to make drinks, not to educate, babysit, or judge people. So do us all a favor; stow the attitude, and do your job." More

From Behind the Bar: On Not Being Creepy

Bars are societies writ small, and each has iron-clad regulations governing what will and will not be considered acceptable behavior. At one bar, patrons might be encouraged to dance on the bar and take shots with the bartenders. At others, the slightest exhibition of rowdy behavior might get a guest shown to the door. More

More Posts