“Match Pewter Jigger Pour” flickr photo by Didriks https://flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/6032829472 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Most of the time, bartenders work as a well oiled machine. We’re all in this together, trying to get through the slow shifts and survive the crazy ones. It’s a tough job and we usually come through for each other when things get tough.

But let’s be honest… there are also those other times when your coworkers can just drive you crazy. We asked our readers on our Facebook page for their top coworker “pet peeves” – and came up with this list. So take a look and (maybe) take a hint!

Not Cleaning Up

This one came in many different forms, but it was also (by far) the most common frustration:

  • When a bartender doesn’t set up their station for a shift, or clean up their station when the shift is over
  • When their jiggers / shaker tins are always sticky
  • When they put empty bottles back in the speed rail
  • When things never get put back in the same place

Messing with the Flow:

Without established systems, it’s going to be extremely difficult to keep up with service (and avoid going crazy). Here were the most common complaints about fellow bartenders who just messed with the flow of service and slowed everyone down:

  • “Captain Elbows” – when a bartender sticks out their elbows and takes up way more space than necessary
  • When a bartender doesn’t keep up with restocking glassware
  • Anytime someone shows up late for their shift.
  • When they rinse the fine strainers in hot water (which cooks the egg whites and makes it impossible to clean)
  • Disappearing randomly without telling anyone or taking random, unscheduled breaks when the bar is busy
  • Being on their phone
  • Spending all their time chatting up one customer while the bar is full
  • When they don’t keep their checks updated
  • Not rotating glassware, so the hot glassware from the dishwasher is right in front

An Inconsistent Guest Experience:

When a guest goes to a bar, they have a certain expectation that their experience is going to be roughly similar to the last time they went. Unfortunately sometimes that’s not the case.

  • When a bartender makes drinks however they like – not according to spec
  • Charging the wrong price or inconsistently pricing in general
  • Not fine-straining cocktails when it’s needed
  • Shouting at another bartender when they’re making conversation with a guest
  • Showing up for your shift hung over or (worse) drunk

The Unsanitary and Unsafe:

Working with food puts us in a position of trust with the customer – they trust us to handle food safely and not make them sick. But sometimes it’s easy to take shortcuts that aren’t safe or sanitary. Here are the ones our readers mentioned:

  • Scooping ice with glass
  • Putting dirty / gross / dangerous items on the cutting board
  • Cutting new fruit and piling it on top of the old fruit

The Little Things:

Finally, there were some little things that are more aesthetic, but still drove folks crazy. Here were the top three:

  • Not facing the bottles on the back bar
  • Not facing the bills in the register
  • Not flagging speed pourers to the left

Hopefully nothing on this list looks familiar – but if it does, it might be worth a friendly chat. (Or if it’s your own bad habit – consider investing the time in changing it!)  We’re all in this together and the better we work together, the better the guest experience, the higher the tips, and the happier we all will be.

“Match Pewter Jigger Pour” flickr photo by Didriks https://flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/6032829472 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Julia Tunstall

Julia Tunstall is the co-founder of A Bar Above and Chief Cocktail Taster. She's in charge of keeping things running smoothly around here, but you'll also find her stopping by on the Mixology Talk Podcast or hanging around the Craft Cocktail Club.