Bartenders see people’s worst drunken shenanigans. But when we spoke to them about what behaviors were most annoying, the real problem was not a little raucousness but customers’ lack of basic courtesy. Here are the top eight complaints:

1. This isn’t Westside Story, so don’t snap your fingers at the bartender. “I think that’s the thing that gets me the worst,” says David Shenaut, a bartender at Teardrop Lounge and Beaker and Flask in Portland, Oregon.

2. Don’t show off your phone. “The other one that’s been bothering me a lot lately is people shoving phones in my face and asking me to make drinks off apps. To sit down at the bar and just order from the phone is very frustrating,” says Shenaut.

3. Don’t bark orders. Talking to the bartender like she’s a human is a good thing: “When I ask ‘How are you?,’ don’t answer ‘Manhattan,'” says a bartender in San Francisco who didn’t wish to be named. Shenaut echoes her sentiment: “I said ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ as a customer sat down and he looked at me like I wasn’t doing my job because I had bothered to talk to him.”

4. Don’t flag down the bartender until you know what you want. “You get to the group and then none of them are ready to order. I can’t make all 100 other guests wait because you don’t know what you want. It’s not about being rude to me but to everyone else,” says Erick Castro, general manager at Rickhouse Bar in San Francisco.

5. Don’t dig your mitts in the garnishes. “I wash my hands 40 or so times a night. You do not. Please do not treat my garnishes like a buffet. I will have to throw out that entire cup of olives now that you have put your dirty hands into it,” says the anonymous San Francisco bartender.

6. Don’t filch the specialty glassware. Castro says that people steal Rickhouse’s vintage punch cups all the time, and that “our Moscow mule cups and our julep cups all got stolen.” The bar is not your personal souvenir shop.

7. Don’t slow them down when you are ready to pay. Just tell the bartender your name, says Castro. When the place is packed and there are 35 people running tabs, he says, “they come over and say, ‘It’s the blue one.’ We have [the credit cards] stored alphabetically, so that doesn’t help us at all.”

8. Don’t be sexist and pig-like. “Please don’t assume that I don’t know how to make proper drinks because I’m a woman. I drink like an old man and have the tolerance of an English sailor,” says our anonymous bartender in SF.

See more articles