We know that being a bartender isn't always the easiest job in the world. Just like most careers, there are highs and lows of working as a bartender. Here are the 15 problems only bar staff will understand.
The Ultimate List of Bartender Problems
1. Customers Who Wave for Your Attention
Trying to work quickly whilst having customers wave their hands and money, snap their fingers and shout drink orders across the bar is definitely irritating.
It’s just one of those things we wish customers would stop doing.
2. The Minefield That Is Known as 'Glass Collecting'
Collecting glasses can be a troublesome trial at times, especially when it's a busy night at the bar. Some people typically treat bar staff like they're invisible and won't try to make your job any easier.
People who don’t bring their empty glasses back to the bar are the worst kind of people #barmaidproblems— Bethany Hargreaves (@hargbeth) February 2, 2019
Whilst you're balancing a tower of pint glasses, you're also trying to move through the crowds without spilling a drop. It’s definitely an acquired skill.
3. People Who Disappear Before Paying
When you're working behind a bar and you've got a big queue of customers, it's almost impossible to leave your post. So it's rather irritating when people order their drinks and then disappear without paying.
Thank you to the #dearcustomer that walked away from the bar with a bunch of drinks and sat down without paying while my bar was packed resulting on me following him and asking for payment. You know how it works over here buddy, you're a regular. #bartenderlife #bartenderproblems— Every-Person-For-Themselves (@wolf_lover123) January 22, 2019
You’re probably torn between hunting them down and serving the next customer with a smile.
4. Wet Feet and the Dreaded Squelch
A drink is spilled and you’ve accidentally stepped in it - what’s the plan of action? Having wet feet for your entire late shift can feel like you're walking through a never-ending puddle.
When you or your colleague spills a drink, you want to make sure it doesn’t stop you from completing your tasks. Purchasing comfortable, slip-resistant and waterproof shoes made for bartenders will ensure you can carry on serving customers regardless of the circumstance.
5. Chatty Customers Who Are Lovely - But Holding up the Rest of the Queue
Bartending is a very social job and we enjoy talking to customers who are polite and chatty. However, those eager patrons probably don’t appreciate us exchanging more than ‘What can I get you?’.
Of course I’ll take your picture on a crazy busy night and while there are 15 other people waiting for a drink #bartenderproblems— Bar Etiquette (@BarEtiquette12) March 5, 2018
We can’t complain about this one really (just catch us at a time where we aren’t too busy!).
6. The Curious Customers
There's nothing wrong with customers who want to ask questions about drinks (when it's a quiet time), however it's unacceptable when they decide to reach over and play with things behind the bar.
Do NOT come behind the bar. This is NOT a playground and I will bar you #bartenderproblems— Bar Etiquette (@BarEtiquette12) February 28, 2018
For bartenders, behind the bar is your sanctuary. You organise everything behind there so you can make drinks correctly and quickly.
7. When It's Almost Closing Time and the Entire Town Comes to Your Bar
This happens so often, it makes you feel like it's like planned. You just have to laugh about it.
Sometimes you just wish you could say, "No, you're too late, I want to go home."
8. When Customers Order 'a Beer'
Vague orders can cause delays and can mean drinks sent back. It happens so often when a customer just orders ‘a beer’.
Being a little more specific can make for a happy bartender. We can really appreciate a customer who knows exactly what they want.
9. Customers Who Don't Understand What 'Closing Time' Means
This is usually just a minority of customers but sometimes you get those last customers who always like to hang around and slowly make their way to the exit.
You end up feeling like a shepherd herding sheep as you direct them out. They probably just enjoy your company.
10. The Job Is a Mixture of Hard and Rewarding
There are ups and downs just like any other job. This tasking but rewarding role is an interesting career option. You get to meet new people, boost your self-confidence and put a smile on somebody’s face with a delicious beverage you’ve created.
14 hours in the bar today. Got screamed at. Got told that I need to smile. But also got told that I was incredibly good at my job and talented. Sometimes the ups outweigh the downs. #bartender #restaurant #bartenderproblems— Anna Barncord (@Abarn25) June 9, 2019
During a problematic day, it’s important to see the positives, even if it’s just that tip you received or your feet not hurting throughout your shift.
11. Customers Who Buy One Drink on Their Card
It only seems to happen when it's busy and you've got a queue of customers who are waving or shouting their orders at you.
One customer orders their drink and when you come back, they've got their bank card ready. So now you have to run back to retrieve the card machine for just a single drink.
12. Fridays Are No Longer Fun
Whilst the majority of the world hates Mondays, anyone who works at a bar hates Fridays. This is probably a bartender’s least favourite time to work, especially when you're serving all the people celebrating the beginning of the weekend.
If you've lived most of your life loving Fridays and celebrating the start of the weekend, it can be difficult that they're now the beginning of work for you instead. However, shifts usually go quicker because you’re so busy.
13. Forgetting a Complicated Cocktail Recipe
It happens. We’ve all been there. A customer orders an obscure cocktail that you’ve probably only ever seen in movies and you’ve forgotten how to make it.
Having to ask the customer what it consists of makes you feel inexperienced but they’ll appreciate that you got it correct.
14. Standing on Your Feet for Your Entire Shift
If you're working a busy shift, it can be a good distraction from the aches and pains of standing for long periods at a time. You’re presented with potential risks like slippery floors and broken glass, so you need to make sure you’re safe throughout your shift.
Whether that’s purchasing the correct footwear or keeping your station tidy, the last thing you want is an accident at work.
You’ve related to these bar staff problems so now is the perfect time to learn how to succeed in the fast-paced bar environment.
Find out How You Can Avoid These Issues and Succeed as a Bartender in Five Easy Steps
Regardless of the problems, the positives of being a bartender outweigh any you may face on the job. Shoes play a major part in helping you stay safe and comfortable during your shift. However, there are still other important things to consider which can help you grow and progress your bartending career and become more skilful.
To help, we’ve created a guide on how to succeed as a bartender in five steps. It’s full of information on how to deal with unruly patrons, how to work efficiently alongside your team and much more.
Click the link below to get your free copy.