January 19, 2011 | 7:00am
This is South Florida, so pretty much anything goes when you're out and about. But talk to any bartender around and he or she will pretty much agree: There are just some things you don't do when you're at the bar. Here is a list of the top six things that seem to ignite fury among mixologists. From your average hole-in-the-wall server to the hot-to-trot club drink chef, this is Bar Etiquette 101. Avoid doing them and you just might get that buyback you've been waiting for.
6. Snappers and Tappers.
Even though you're convinced otherwise, yes, your bartender can feel your eyes boring into the back of his head as you wait -- most impatiently -- much like a jungle cat readying to pounce on its prey at the far corner of the bar. He can also hear you clear your throat repeatedly. And waive your hand in a desperate but failed attempt to get him to move faster. In fact, he spotted you and your ridiculous outfit the moment you entered his establishment. He sized you (and your date) up and made a determination on whether he's going to hurry over and make your drink or take his sweet time pouring his new favorite patron's fifth martini. So please. No hooting and hollering, says a former Yard House
barkeep. It will only delay your drink making that much more.
5. You Don't Know What You Want.
This one's for (wince, sorry) the ladies. You come up to the bar, catch the barkeep's eye, and then have no clue what you -- or your obnoxious, giggling pack of friends -- would like to order. Kick the frustration factor up a notch by gushing out one or more of your bartender's favorite lines such as "I want something fruity" or "Just surprise me." Nothing infuriates us more, according to one bartender from West Palm Beach's Off the Hookah
. And then you expect us to wait around while you take your sweet ol' time ruminating if you'll go with a standard vodka drink or light beer? I don't think so. It's busy, and there are plenty of patrons who do
know what they want. Unless you want us to give you all the time in the world to think on it the rest of the night, do your best to not waste your bartender's time. Order a drink and be done with it.
4. You're Spending Way Too Much Time Hitting on Me.
Don't worry. It's not just the girls who tick off their bartenders. You guys out there can do a pretty good job at it too. Sure, all those short skirts and provocatively cinched-up breasts popping out of minibustiers make for great eye candy. Just don't think it means we're like all the girls on the other side
of the bar who may -- or may not -- think you're the most interesting man in the world, says a Feelgoods Rock Bar
bartender. Remember, your bartenders are there to take your drink order first and
look good doing it. They aren't there to fulfill your wildest fantasies, nor are they obligated to converse with you in any other way, with the exception of a little innocent flirting. If you're looking for a free show or a meaningful connection, remember: That's what strip clubs and online dating sites are for.
3. You Order a "Strong Island Iced Tea."
Or you actually complain that your drink doesn't have enough alcohol in it -- although you clearly did not ask for a double. Belly up to the bar looking for a notoriously strong drink or whining about too little spirit in your glass and it's a possibility your bartender may immediately pin you as someone looking to get wasted, says a former bartender at Rooney's All-In Sports Bar and Grille
. That or you're just another annoying, never-satisfied customer. And that's just not fun for us -- or your friends -- because we're both going to have to contend with your drunken antics all night. Your bartender isn't there to baby-sit you -- or clean up all those napkins you throw around.
2. You Tell Me How to Do My Job. Please, please don't call your bartender a rookie because he or she doesn't know how to make that drink your favorite hometown bar from the middle of nowhere prides itself on. Or because they don't have the obscure scotch with the excellent nose you had at that ritzy nightclub some other time. It obviously isn't part of the liquor lineup at his bar. He doesn't care if you're upset about it. And he most certainly doesn't come to your place of work and tell you what's missing... or how to do your thing. So pick something else, and shut up!
1. You Order 12 beers, Two Martinis, and Three Mixed Drinks -- at Last Call. This one is self-explanatory. You aren't the only idiot rushing the bar to get that last drink before closing time, and it's most likely going to be one huge mess trying to get all of you to pay. Especially after you've decided to split your tab a million different ways. And that's before you leave that final, why-did-you-even-bother tip. Try to keep in mind that your mixologist, after standing for eight hours straight (sometimes longer), wants to go home too. You don't like it when people keep you late at work, do you? An even better reason to get your last drink order in before the establishment is closed: Your bartender is partially responsible for you come the end of the night. If your last few drinks cause you to become mildly retarded, it's on their conscience as to whether you make it home in one piece.
So, last -- but certainly not least: Try to drink responsibly. That's really the best advice we can give you.
Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.