Stuff People Say to Bartenders

by Warrick Steabben on January 16, 2014

Bartenders, priests, doctors – there’s something about intimate spaces and a keeper of special knowledge that unlocks the mind and mouth. There can be times when it’s hard to keep a straight face. Being unshockable is a trick of the trade.

At RSA Melbourne, we prepare you for dealing with the unexpected when it comes to people who’ve had more than their fill, but as well as tales of the unexpected, there are a few things you’ll hear working behind a bar that will become all too familiar. Here are six to watch out for after you’ve taken your RSA courses.

1. “Shaken, not stirred.”

Overly specific ordering of a drink (usually in an effort to impress a date/boss/friend) is annoying at quiet times but infuriating in the middle of a busy Saturday night. If it’s quiet, most bartenders will humour such indulgence and sometimes it’s fun to impress a picky customer with a perfect twist, the ideal quantity of ice or an immaculate head. However, if you’re that precious about the presentation of your drink, open a bar.

2. “Can you make it a special?”

Of course, “shaken, not stirred” can be an elaborate build up to our second classic – the cheapskate. After all, what better way to increase your intake for free than drinking half of what you ordered only to send it back declaring there’s too much ice? Here’s another trick to look out for: some customers looking for free alcohol will ask for something strong or “extra special.” There are ways to make a drink taste stronger than it is, but the quickest way of dealing with this is to check that they mean to order a double.

3. “What time do you finish?”

Please, chatting up the bar staff really isn’t original and certainly isn’t going to get you a free drink. If you really like them, leave a hefty tip but don’t be a creep.

RSA Melbourne Bartenders
RSA Melbourne Bartenders

4. “Just a glass of water, please.”

Bars exist to make money. Money is made by selling alcohol for more than it costs to buy and to account for overheads like rent, rates, utilities and staff. Sitting at a bar drinking tap water or ordering coffee, milkshakes and soft drinks, especially at busy times, consumes time, space and effort. Fair enough if you’re in a group of drinkers (someone has to be the designated driver), but if it’s a quiet night you were after, why not stay home?

5. “Can you find us a table?”

Do I look like the genie in the lamp? It’s 10pm, the place is packed and finding you a seat really isn’t the top of my priority list. Take a stool and wait like everyone else or go somewhere quieter.

6. “You’re not going to believe this…”

If the next words are “but I left my wallet at home” or “my friend is late and they’re paying” you’re right, we won’t. If it’s anything else, try us, on an RSA course in Melbourne we sometimes feel like we’ve heard it all.

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