In this special feature for Cocktail Week, Beau du Bois of The Corner Door writes what customers can do to be a bartender’s best friend. Starting with don’ts, then moving on to dos, du Bois’s industry perspective will help you master the cocktail experience.
You’re nearly there. You’ve found a good neighborhood watering hole with great drinks made by bartenders you love. But the question is, do the bartenders love you back? Are you a favorite regular? Everyone wants to be a beloved regular at the bar, so I’ve listed a few dos and some non-obvious don’ts to help you navigate the interaction between customer and bartender. Let’s start with the things you shouldn’t do first.
Ask me what my favorite drink is
I’m weird and my preferences are based on many nights of drinking studying my craft. Unless you’re sure you’ve tasted a few hundred variations of a Negroni or we’re actually twins separated from birth, I doubt our preferences are going to be exactly same. It’s a much better to start to just tell me what you’re in the mood for.
For the last time, DON’T TOUCH THE FRUIT
We use fresh produce in your cocktails and stack them on the bar. By “fresh” we also mean, untouched by grubby stranger hands. If you touch the fresh produce, we gotta throw it away and scowl at you.
Don’t make out at the bar
Nobody at the bar is watching you make out heavily with your date and thinking, “Man, now those two are in love.” We’re all just wishing you would leave and get to the good stuff in the privacy of your own place.
Don’t ask me to make another bar’s signature cocktails
Even if I knew what was in the drink, I still wouldn’t make it. That would be very rude of me to copy drinks from other places. If you don’t see something on our menu that tickles your taste buds, we can chat about it. I’m more than happy to make you something special based on your preferences.
Don’t skip the ingredients listed on the menu
We put those there for your benefit, to help you decide if that drink is up your alley. Ordering a mezcal-based cocktail and then sending it back because you don’t like mezcal is a crime greater than touching the fruit (see above).
Order first, chat later
When your butt hits the bar stool, take a look at the menu and order something right away. Trust me, that story from last week’s Tinder date or catching up with your Snapchat profile will be 10 times better over a refreshing beverage.
If you must wave to get my attention, you must be ready
I see you, I promise, I see you. As soon as I’m finished making cocktails for the eight guests ahead of you, I’m coming straight over. But may the Lord of Whiskey save you if I get there and you actually have no idea what you want.
We’ve all got that friend, but you brought them
You know who I’m talking about. The customer that’s rude to the service staff. The obnoxious ones who always get annoying and drunk first. You will curry much favor with me if you snare them before I have to.
If you’ve signed the bill, then it’s time to bounce
Once you’ve called it quits and closed your tab, give me a high five and hit the road. I have other guests waiting for your seats. Please understand I’m running a bar that sells drinks, not campsites.
Be a good tipper
Duh. 10% percent is not really enough if you get exceptional service.
There you have it, I’ve done all I can for you. Now, take this gospel and tell your friends. And don’t be mad at me when you’ve got bartenders all over town asking for your hand in marriage.
by Beau du Bois