The bartender’s walk home after a shift.


Working late night, you see the morning in a way that most people don’t. Early morning when the sun is almost up but not quite there. The early birds start chirping, like a laugh track, chiming in at the wrong time.

You don’t want the sounds of morning, but morning is what it is.

The birds mock you with a late night alarm clock that reminds you of your maladjusted life. You walk pass early bird joggers, being healthy and collected listening to news channels through headphones and living lives that seem to be so much better than yours.

Day walkers on the street nod to you and smile as if you’re one of them. They’re jamming on the buzz of a morning cup of caffeine while you’re in this strange and awful anti-climatic party mode. Late night bar music still pounding in your head. Repeating lyric after lyric of songs that you hate that latch to your brain like a cancer. The music that makes woman dance and wallets open.

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The Drunk Tilted Room Sketch

Shaun Micallef plays a drunk where the studio set is a tilted room. From the first season of the Micallef Show on ABC.


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Things not to do, when ordering a drink at a bar.

not to do“My drink’s not strong enough”. If you want a strong drink, order a double. Or, maybe skip the sugary mix and order it neat. Don’t try it, turn to the bartender and say, “I can’t taste the alcohol. Did you put any in this?”. Yes we did.  “Add more, I’ll tip you”. This says to the bartender that you’re either cheap, just turned 21, already drunk or all three. You’ve sent back a blended margarita for “not being strong enough”. Why are you ordering a blended margarita if your goal is to get drunk?

To the “stare-ers” that like to watch the bartender work. Try not to ask us “what are you making?” This always happens when we’re making something that we don’t particularly like to make. If we’re muddling something or adding a mass amount of ingredients, the chances are this is the worse drink that someone could have ordered. Asking what a drink is because you may want to order one is no offense. However, interrogating a busy bartender about the intricacies of what they are doing is. “What’s in that?”. “Who ordered it?”. “Do you make those a lot?”.  We have a full bar, our waiter well is 10 tickets deep, our drafts are popped, and we can’t find our barback. We’re not being impolite when we tell you that we can’t talk. We’re busy.

The double order. You grab a bartenders attention and order, they disappear for a moment to make it. You get nervous that they forgot about you so you grab another bartender and ask them for the same order. The first bartender you asked didn’t forget, just simply had something else come up as they we’re making your drinks. Now both bartenders bring you your order. Unfortunately now, you have to pay for both. If a bartender is taking some time with your order, trust them, they’re making it. The chance that they forgot will happen, but they will inevitably walk past you again and remember. And if you conduct yourself with patience in the occasion that they did forget, a good bartender will most likely buy back at least one of the drinks in your order.

“I’ll have a beer”. You’ll have a beer? Ok, so that’s one percent of the battle. We have 20 beer’s on draft and another 40 different types in bottle. You’re not in a spaghetti western where you can ask for a beer and shot and tell the bartender to leave the bottle. “I’ll have a beer” is as much as an order as “I’ll have a whiskey neat, on the rocks”. Neither of these drinks exist. Be prepared and know what you want.

These are all pretty universal common sense ways to conduct yourself while ordering a drink.

There are a few others that I won’t go into greater detail about, such as:

The costumer that brings in their smart phones to look up 100 different wacky drink recipes. And then asks you if you have an iphone charger behind the bar.

And of course the lovable “Give me the cheapest drink you have”.

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The Bar Tab. Annoying things people do to bartenders with their credit cards.

keep it open

You’d think that the etiquette for opening a bar tab with a credit card would be common sense. That you wouldn’t need a lesson from Emily Post on public politeness. Just give the bartender your card, tell them to leave it open, sign it at the end. Easy, right? One would hope, but every night I work someone is going to make at least one of these annoying mistakes when handing me their credit cards.

It’s at the bottom of your purse. 

There is nothing more disruptive than costumers who are not ready. Especially if I’m busy, but even if I’m not. You have such a sense of urgency to flag me down and when I get to you, your card isn’t out? While I’m waiting for you to hunt through wads of tissue, compacts, tampons, and iphone accessories, I could be at the other end of the bar making money. Be prepared!

Can you back me up a few drinks before happy hour is done? 

Don’t ask us to charge you for something now that you want to get later. Happy hour is a short time span because it’s the bar trying to get people to come in when they wouldn’t usually. You’re being tacky.

How much should I tip you?

People ask me this all the time, I don’t know if they’re trying to be playful and cute or if they’re just morons. Don’t put me in that situation, what the fuck? Is this your first time out? Twenty percent is the minimum these days. How much should you tip me? How much is in your checking account? I think ATMS max out at a grand, I’ll take that if your putting me in charge of this num-nuts.

I’ll sign this shit when I am good and ready.

When bartenders drop a tab and they seem eager for you to close, it probably means they are on a shift change. Meaning their shift is over, they have dealt with 8 hours of shit and now you are holding them hostage until you sign. I can’t go home until I get a check out from a manger. I can’t get a check out from manger until all my tabs are closed. I’ve hovered around you 20 times or more, making it painfully obvious that I want you to sign your receipt. Still you’re sitting in drunk conversation with your party. You may be having fun, but we want to go home, just sign it, then continue on with your party. Let us free.

You stole my pen.

Don’t steal my pen!!!!!

Cash back.

Every night someone will ask me if they can get cash back, like I am an ATM. “I need 20 bucks for a cab. Can I tip you more and get cash back?”. Putting extra money on a credit card tip to get cash back doesn’t help out the bartender at all. Not only are we taxed on our tips, but we have to tip out to our bar backs based on how much we made. You’re an adult, why don’t you have cash on you? I don’t take out my garbage without at least fifty bucks in my pocket.

Let’s all pay separate, and close out every round.

You’re with 5 friends, you all order a drink and all take out separate credit cards. Now I have to run 5 different cards for 5 different $6.00 drinks. And then you do it again for the next round, and the round after that. All this paperwork because you can’t buy a drink for your friend. If you’re having us swipe your card so many times that the credit card company shuts it off, you’re doing something wrong. Twenty one year old’s and foreigners do this all the time.

There are a few more that I won’t go into greater detail about for the sake of a short read:

-The “I didn’t order that,” guy. He argues his tab.

-The “You have my card.” guy. He left his card at the last bar he was at.

And of course,

-The “Walkout”.  




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People who think the bartender can’t hear them…

Are you aware that when you sit down at a bar the bartender can hear you? Yup, everything you say. Even when they aren’t directly in front of you.  It’s hilarious to me what people say to each other at my bar within my earshot. You think you’re living in a little world, the music is loud enough and the space is big enough that you can say whatever you want.

Nope, we can hear. We hear everything because we are always aware. We’re scanning the bar with all five senses. Making sure that possible problems are averted. We’re aware of the couple in the corner thats conversation is going strange. We can hear the guy walking in, talking to his friend about how fucked up he plans to get. We hear the servers complaining to each other in our well about their tables. We hear the chopping of straws to ice in an empty cocktail meaning, to us, that another one may be ordered. We hear the fucking fruit flies that buzz around our garnish trays.

I’ve literally had people sit in front of me and shit talk me or the place I work in. Right in front of me, as if I can’t hear them. So next time you sit at a bar remember that the drunk next to you may not be aware, but the person behind the bar is, always.


Two conversations over heard behind the bar last night:

From a guy:

“God these chicks keep hitting me up on Facebook. it’s ridiculous.”

From a girl to a guy:

“Why do you keep screenshotting my snapchats?”

Barchatter is going odd places these days.

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Gluten Free Singles .COM

Are you Gluten free and single!?! You’re in luck! This bran new dating site connects lonely  gluten free’s together. Find your diet restricted soul mate and take them out to dinner! Don’t forget to piss off your servers and bartenders with your extensive knowledge of how their kitchens cook their food!

Don’t worry, the wait staff at bars and restaurants love food modifications! It helps them build a stronger relationship with the kitchen staff. The front of house and back of house rarely get to spend time togther. So going back to the kitchen to explain to them your very specific order gives them a chance to get to know each other.

Yes this is a real site:


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Bartender dreams.

The shift was long, I was alone all night behind the bar. The people come and go in waves. The 5pm “Happy Hour Hillbillies”, trying to save cash. Then the dinner rush, filled with families and screaming kids. Watch your language, the kids might hear you. Or more importantly their super sensitive asshole parents that love to write about your foul mouth on Yelp. Then a break in the night as you regain your composer and bunker down to prepare for the “Last Call Walking Dead”.

Alone behind the bar means no breaks and constant movement. Covered in sweat and triple sec, fingers rotting from an over exposure to lime juice, beer yeast, and all the other things that make those drinks taste oh-so-good.

A full 9 hours on your feet clad in your bartender clown suit.

The good news is… it’s over. Last call has happened, tips are counted, money is dropped and you’re heading home with your winnings.

Finally home, after your much earned shower, you snuggle into bed as the morning sun is rising. Late night working means that your schedule conflicts the whole worlds. When they wake you sleep, and sleep you will after that shift.

Then suddenly your back! Right back! At work, the bar looks a little different, but familiar faces are all around you. It’s business as usual, a couple regulars stop in, you make drinks, you flirt with the waitresses. The shift goes on and on, when out of nowhere a glass breaks and this bar begins to feel less like reality and more like a sort of hell. The servers faces begin to blur, the regulars start yelling at you and throwing bar nuts in your face. What once was a full bar, now is a packed bar, faceless drunks are bouncing off the walls. The owners come in dressed like police officers with guns drawn. You look down and the fingers that used to be sore from bar-rot are now bleeding stumps of rotting flesh. The kitchen has set fire as flaming mexican scurry the floor like headless chickens.

Then awake!

No you never went back to the job, the job stayed with you. Even though your body was ready for sleep, your mind was still there.

You sell the hours that you’re awake for tips but your dreams they get for free.



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Bartender’s biweekly pay check. Payday!

This is my biweekly hourly paycheck, I love it, always zero, VOID. Twice a month I get my little white envelope, once in a while I’ll get one for 13 bucks or 75 cents.

How this system works is that I get taxed on what I sell, not what I make.
The government assumes that I make between 15 and 20 percent of my NET sales.

This translates to, if you sit at my bar, rack up a 300 hundred dollar tab and stiff me, I am not only losing the tip. I am also getting taxed on what you shovel into your face, I am paying for your good time.

I hope it’s enjoyable, this service I am providing for you.

Im not going to post this as a whinny “I don’t make enough money” thing. I am happy with my income, generally people are pretty great about it, and the bad tippers usually get evened out by the good ones.

I just want it to be recognized that bartenders and servers in the US really do rely on appropriate tipping. For most of us, these are the pay checks that we get.

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Flaming Dr. Pepper……… Follow Up

This guy:

…..for some reason not as bad ass.

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How to get a tip from a foreigner.


I’m not the first person behind a bar to make the observation that people from outside of America often forget the custom of the tip.

They approach the bar and stare at you with a childlike look of confusion. You ask them what they want…

“Do you have Mojito?”


“Yeah, yeah, I can make you a fucking Mojito.”

You make it. It’s 10 bucks, and they take out their crispy right from the ATM 20 dollar bill.

You know you’re going to get stiffed.

Not only did they order the most annoying thing to make, but you made it for free.

Unless you know the trick…

Instead of giving them back a 5 and 5 singles, give them back a 5, 2 singles and 3 bucks in quarters.

It’s hilarious, they get confused by the american currency, and will often leave the change on the bar.

It also helps to stress them out with a sense of urgency during the whole transaction.

The goal is to confuse them, ordering their drink was befuddled enough for them.

Now their getting all sorts of strange coinage given back to them.

Shell shock the mother fuckers into treating you right!

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