Bartenders Tell Us The Worst Customer Habits They’ve Ever Seen


Bartenders work really hard. They have to remember how to make all the basic cocktails we all love as well as the whole menu of unique potions available on their menus. They work for long hours for very little pay (they count on your tips) and they really don’t like it when you wave money in their faces or yell at them from 20 feet away.

But, that’s not even the worst of it. Bartenders deal with a lot of nonsense while slinging your drinks. We asked a handful of bartenders to tell us the worst customers habits they’ve seen and they definitely didn’t hold back.

Nic Christiansen

Butchertown Grocery in Louisville, Kentucky


“Not trusting the bartender. Sometimes people are afraid to step out of their comfort zones. But a great bartender can give you a new experience and memory if you allow them to push you out of that comfort zone.”

Joe Doose

Arbella in Chicago, Illinois


“Personally, one of the worst habits I have seen is the person who orders and closes out after EVERY drink. Just start a tab!”

Chad Solomon

Midnight Ramblerin Dallas, Texas


“The booze business is a funny place, in that we serve a product that lowers people’s inhibitions bringing out all manner of personality traits. Over the course of our time in the business we’ve seen it all — theft, vandalism, and violence, and sexual harassment. On average though, the worst customer trait that rears its head the most is entitlement, which manifests in several ways from extreme condescension, monopolizing server/bartender time, disregard for other guests, and the expectation of freebies.”

Nik Morris

Westbound in Los Angeles, California


“Waving universally bothers bartenders, especially with cash in hand. It’s not enticing to us to see you wiggle a soggy $20 bill in an effort to cut in line while ordering. It’s not even an impressive amount of money, it never is. Like, if you’re going to be rude enough to attempt to buy the time of the guests that got here before you, at least be flashy; throw a Benjamin out there. Also, never yell, shout, snap, whistle, or any use other very demeaning effort to get a bartender’s attention. It’s very rude, and really embarrassing for you.”

Bill Brooks

The Cannibal Liquor House in New York City


“The one thing I think is unbecoming of guests, especially while drinking, is to argue and get aggressive because you have a complaint. I’m not expecting to make everyone happy 100% of the time, and not liking something is very valid, however there is no need to start cussing and treating my staff like garbage because you have a complaint. Honey catches more flies than vinegar and ultimately if you are nice to me, I will bend over backwards to make it right.”

Robb Collins

London Cocktail Club in London, England


“Customers ripping up napkins. Clicking fingers for attention with bartenders. Customers beckoning you for attention. Picking up bar tools/bitters/garnishes off the bar. Taking ice out of a drink and putting it on the bar top.”

Justin Noel

Sweetwater Social in New York City


“I never really get tired of making drinks for customers. I am a bartender so its somewhat the main part of my job. However, there are cocktails that I get exhausted making during certain times of the year. One such cocktail is a Cosmopolitan. For some reason during spring/summer time this becomes a popular cocktail. Just annoying to make cause most people have an idea of what a Cosmopolitan looks and should taste likes. I like to finish off the cocktail with a flaming orange twist. Some people want lime wedges, orange wedges, etc. People want more vodka. More pink less pink. Kind of gets annoying.”