Bartender pet peeves from 30 years in the business.
(Photo by Straight 8)

Bartender Pet Peeves: 7 Types of Drinkers Bartenders Hate to Serve

Author Frankie C. spent 31 years behind bars and has a bit of an axe to grind with annoying patrons. To clarify, when we say “bars,” we mean cocktail lounges. This old school mixologist has created his top seven bartender pet peeves to share with the world. Don’t end up being “that guy” that everyone hates next time you go out drinking!

Mr. Big Shot

Every bar has them. He’s the guy who asks, “Do you know who I am?” as I’m throwing his ass out of the joint! Trust me, I don’t care if you’re the Pope, you won’t be getting any more booze from me! I believe I set a record over my career. I permanently 86’d a jerk from every bar I worked at after he pissed me off — over 20 years of no service. Every time he walked in and saw me shaking my head at him behind the stick, he would just sigh, turn around and leave; that’s how much of a loudmouth drunk he was! Social status doesn’t mean jack in my business. “Don’t you know who I am?” Yeah, nobody cares.

Mr. Holier Than Thou

This is the idiot who is astounded that I’m demanding money after his drink is handed to him. Mind you, this is after he says he doesn’t want to run a tab. I know this might shock you, but I have other people to cater to, and I might be in a rush. You ordered and I delivered, now put your damn money on the bar!

The Stoner Dudes

San Francisco was the worst for this. Two guys are sitting side by side, asking what I have on tap. After I just rattled off all 14 beers we have for sale to the first guy, the second guy says, “Oh, wow man, sorry, I wasn’t listening! What kinds?” And then to top it off, he orders a beer that I didn’t even list. In the immortal words of Sam Elliot, “You’re a special kind of stupid, aren’t you?” Be polite and tip your bartender.

Privileged Females

I love these women who just assume that their drinks must be free! “Money? Me? I got to pay?” Yeah, sweetheart … we are a big supporter of equal rights in this bar. Now open up that wallet. In addition, they want me to put their purses on the back bar for safety and then need to get into them every 10 minutes! “I need my brush, my lipstick, my tissues, etc.” Hey, no problem, let’s totally make everyone wait so you can touch up that shovel face. And don’t get me started on those big greasy smears of lipstick on the glass edge! Finally, I would get this at least once a night: “You know I wanted to try this drink I heard about, but I don’t like the taste. Can I trade it in?” Darling, this is a bar, not a used car lot. 

The Bullshit Slinger

This guy, without a doubt, is my least favorite. You know, if the bar talk is about martial arts, this guy is a 4th-degree black belt. Rodeo? He was regional champ bronco buster. Military? He was a Special Forces Recon SEAL with a gazillion kills. Then there is the guy who wears a Silver Star lapel pin and uses it to hustle free drinks. Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of con men but with that kind of scumbag, I draw the line! Stealing valor for a free drink? Let me issue you some discharge papers! You’re not that special. I promise.

Mr. 007

This always cracks me up. There is always a guy who shows me a concealed carry permit, reserve sheriff posse identification or even a French Foreign Legion service card when I ask for I.D. Wow, mister — impressive! I feel so much safer now that I’m serving Jason Bourne some drinks. Trust me, a plain old driver’s license will do, tough guy.

No Brains Staff

Just to be fair about aggravations, the bars themselves can employ some real winners as well. Like the bouncers who don’t see that a guy’s ankle holster and piece is making his pant leg hang up when he’s cutting a rug on the dance floor; that’s guaranteed to make me feel warm and fuzzy. Guns and booze, what could go wrong? Then there are waitresses who are more interested in doing the Macarena than getting thirsty patrons their drinks. Please tell me again why I chose this profession?

We have a recurring column in Skillset Magazine called “The Hard Stuff”, focusing on all things booze related. If you like to laugh and drink like the staff here at Skillset, check out our back issues at We also post some of our favorite articles right here on SkillsetMag, like how to make prison wine!

Leave a Reply