The seven questions you don’t ask a bartender

Hospo Voice (HV) recently spoke to its members about the most annoying questions they face, so which questions piss you off the most?

Bartenders are an awesome and friendly bunch, but let’s face it you have to deal with people and we know that presents its challenges, so apart from ‘can I have seven Espresso Martinis’ when last drinks are called, what are the seven questions you don’t ask a bartender?

  1. What’s your proper job?

HV said: “This is such a kick in the guts. We’ve just made you an amazing mojito and you deign to ask what our actual job is, as though being a bartender isn’t enough.

“Being able to remember countless recipes, keeping track of who’s next in line in the bar, coming up with new cocktail ideas, training staff members and keeping a smile on our faces are skills. Damn good ones.

“Sure, for some people, working in a bar is a side job while they study. But for many of us, this is the career we want to be in, whether it’s for the next few years or for a lifetime. It’s just offensive to imply that bartending should always be a stepping stone to somewhere else.”

2. What’s your phone number?

Just no. HV said: “We smile, are friendly, and make you feel at ease in the bar. You smile back, and now you ask what time we’re finishing work that night with a suggestive grin. Awkward.

“The thing is, we work in hospitality. It’s our job to be polite and friendly. It doesn’t mean we’re flirting with every person who enters the bar. It’s how to be a good bartender.           

“Harassment of hospitality workers has to stop.”

3. Can you give us a smile?

HV added: “While we’re on the harassment topic, the one thing that makes us not feel like smiling is being told to smile. This is often said to female bartenders, and it’s just plain rude. Do you smile every moment when you’re at work? If you do, your co-workers might think you’re a bit weird.

“Fact is, we’ve usually got our RBF on. What’s that? Our Resting Bartender Face – the face we put on when we’re concentrating on being a good bartender.”

4. Can you make it extra strong?

According to HV: “No. Please don’t even ask. There are a few reasons for this:

“People who serve alcohol have to complete a responsible service of alcohol course. If we don’t follow these rules, we can get in huge trouble.

“Drink spiking, while not widely reported to police, is a problem. One of the ways drinks are spiked is with booze to get someone drunk at a faster rate. Asking for one drink to be stronger (or ordering a double and a single) is a big red flag.

“Do you ask for a free roll of toilet paper at the supermarket or extra carrots at the greengrocer? Of course not. It’s inappropriate, just stop it. If you want a double shot, pay for a double shot.”

5. Can you make me something girly/manly?

Do people seriously still ask that question? Why does alcohol even need to be gendered? It’s not and so many people are doing amazing things to breakdown gender stereotypes in this industry this question has no place. If someone does ask you this, just pour them a double of your most expensive spirit – there you go chump.

6. Surprise me

How about a glass of water, that will be a big bloody surprise. As HV said: “If you feel like a cocktail you can sip on and we give you a flaming shot, you’re gonna be surprised and not in a good way.”

7. Can I just get one more round/drink?

HV says: “If last drinks have been called, don’t bug your bartender for more drinks. The venue is licensed until a certain time and they can get in trouble for serving booze beyond that time.

“Not to mention that closing time means it’s nearly home time. For the love of god, let the bar staff close up and finish work.”

In all seriousness Hospo Voice is run and supported by hospo workers and do run a range of services to help members.

But what are the questions that piss you off the most? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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