Firstly, you congratulate her on her excellent choice of drink and stipulate if she meant gin.

Then once she confirms it is gin she wants, you begin your awkward minute of trying to decipher this incredibly awkward and not-at-all normal situation.

The important things you need to remember is that you must NOT insult her and that you actually only have about ten seconds to correctly deal with the situation.

Now, it is always better to see a larger lady crying hysterically than it is to see a pregnant woman chugging back martinis.

As a bartender you hold certain moral obligations. Obviously you are not allowed by law to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly drunk, or a policeman on duty, or a woman who is soliciting sex, but the guidelines are a little sketchy when it comes to eggo preggo women asking for what is essentially just pure alcohol.

It’s well known that “drinking like it’s 1999” is a bad idea pregnant women – but at the end of it all, it does come down to the personal choice of the person who’s ordered it: the pregnant woman.

What if someone else has ordered it for the pregnant human in question? Well, that now becomes none of your business and it is the sole decision of the pregnant woman as to whether or not she flings the drink to the floor or swigs it back in true college student style.

A lot of the confrontation will stem from the bartender’s own moral stance. If you’ve no issue with making a martini for a pregnant woman then away you go. If you feel like you need to be Captain America and chastise the woman (chastising definitely isn’t the best option) then chastise away until you fall off of your high horse.

If you’re feeling a little sketchy, then here’s a little bit of advice, a push in the right direction if you will:

Scenario: A woman comes in who you suspect might be pregnant – sidenote, unless you own the penis that impregnated her then you should never flat out assume a woman is pregnant, it’s a risky move – she comes straight to the bar and asks you for a dry martini.


As I mentioned before, ascertain if it’s gin that she wants, if the drink is not for her then she might say “Oh I don’t know, my friend just asked me to get them a martini” and boom; you’re saved.

If she stone cold looks you in the face and says “Of course I want gin” then you’re still in the fire and you need to get out as quick as possible without checking for survivors. Quickly throw out a “Should you be drinking them?” but beware, once this phrase is out in the wilderness then it quickly breeds and forms an almighty potential bomb. If she makes reference to her being pregnant and still insists, then I guess really you make the woman a drink and hope she never orders another all night. If she says “And what do you mean by that?” Then you’ve completely lost all hope of surviving.

Calling Reinforcements:

Another way to deal with the situation is by asking your manager for a second opinion. It’s always easier to refuse someone service if you’ve been advised not to, and then it can become an issue of “company policy.”

No-one ever wants to directly insult someone else. It’s not nice…most of the time. If you’ve inadvertently called a woman “FATTY FAT FAT” then you best get apologising your ass off.

It’s a grey area, but essentially it’s one that can be solved with nothing more than manners, I guess if you are extremely polite about it, you might be able to diffuse the situation, but as I stated before you do not want to offend anyone.

When these types of situations arise, it really is an ethical minefield. Technically there is no right or wrong answer but the option of refusing service is probably the outcome that will be seen the most.

Personally, as a former manager I would implicate a company policy that would refuse service, I would rather be the bar that was on a high horse than be the one that doesn’t care.

Have you ever been put into this position?

Ever been in a similar situation where your moral compass, training and social etiquette have all been at war with each other? I’d love to hear your stories: leave a comment below. You never know, we might be able to help the world deal with difficult situations.

Steven Poland

Hello. I'm Steven: a mid-20's ex bar manager from England with an ego that is only matched by my opinions. I'm not always right, but sometimes I do apologise if I'm not. I've worked on the bar for over eight years, four of them making cocktails and snarling at customers. You can find me at my website or on twitter @StevenPoland.