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Boston Bartenders Reveal Customers' Worst Habits

Does your bartender seem cranky? Maybe it's you. Don't do these things.

Greg Neises"Snapping at you for your attention." —Greg Neises, bartender at Tico


Paulo Pereira"Snapping fingers, yelling out, waving hands or worse...money or a credit card. We see you, we know who's ahead of you, and we will get to you in a timely manner. Close second would have to be reaching into the garnish tray and jars." —Paulo Pereira, beverage director at Brass Union

Katie Mae Dell Isola"Using the menu for a placemat." —Katie Mae Dell Isola, bar manager at Haru


Dan Greenough"Talking loudly on their cell phones, ignoring you when you approach them, bad tippers." —Dan Greenough, food & beverage manager of all Burtons Grill locations


Vikram Hegde"Aside from going to bars other than mine? I guess it’s when they act like they’re the only people in the room. If there’s an empty seat next to you, it’s meant for a person, not your bag. Same rules apply on the T." —Vikram Hegde, bartender at Sarma


Jake Kress"‘I’m in the industry’ ‘I know...’ ‘Does ________ still work here?’" —Jake Kress, bar manager at Grill 23 & Bar


Would you like me to come into your entry-level accounting job and try to run my fingers through your hair?

Kaitlena Cash"Can I make a few paragraphs? Kidding...Anyway, since it's that wonderful time of year again (cold and flu season), blowing your nose is totally understandable. Leaving your snot rags on the bar for my pretty little hands to pick up? Not cool. That's got to be my worst pet peeve. Reaching over the bar and touching me is a close second to booger rags. Not only is that a bad customer habit, but it's a bad people habit. Did I touch you? Probably not. Did I ask you to touch me? Hopefully not. Would you like me to come into your entry-level accounting job and try to run my fingers through your hair? Well you probably would if you’re touching random bartenders. Other than that, we don't have all day and I could elaborate for hours. So let's just leave it there." —Kaitlena Cash, bartender at Anthem Kitchen + Bar

Giulio Favuzza"When you have a table that asks for something one thing at a time and makes the server run back and forth multiple times instead of just telling them everything they need at once. This would help servers consolidate their step and make one trip instead of five!" —Giulio Favuzza, beverage manager of Red Heat Tavern

Lauren Hayes

"A pet peeve of mine is how frequently I hear ‘I don't like gin’ or ‘nothing sweet’ when I’m asked to make a whim cocktail. I know people have had some bad drink experiences before, but gin is the onion of cocktails. Not all of us want to bite into a raw one, but we sure like it in our soup." —Lauren Hayes, head bartender at Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain

Molly Woodhouse"For those who are not interested in trying anything but the only thing they always order, it can be difficult to help them try something new if the must-have spirit or beer is not available." —Molly Woodhouse, general manager and beverage director of Vida Cantina in Portsmouth (and an alum of The Butcher Shop and Menton)

Ian Nal"When you explain the concept and flavor profile of a cocktail to guest, and they order it and then send it back. Hand waving or snapping fingers…" —Ian Nal, general manager and beverage director of Fish Restaurant & Wine Bar in Marlborough


Jenna Pollock"Seeing four open barstools in a row at a packed bar and sitting in the middle two seats when you know two more people are going to come along and ask you to move over one within five minutes time." —Jenna Pollock, bar director at Nebo


Brian Mantz"I never like seeing anyone uncomfortable at a bar, so it bothers me to see guests giving unwanted attention to other guests. You should be able to tell within a few moments if someone is interested in having a conversation or not." —Brian Mantz, bar manager at Wink & Nod

Colin Kiley"I guess I don't like to think of it as people having bad habits. It's our job to make guests' experiences as fun and as relaxing as possible. I think that, as a guest, getting stressed out about what you're going to order without having at least a brief conversation with your bartender is a bad idea. If a place is worth its salt, then you expressing what you like or what you might like to try is always going to net you a positive result. Don't be afraid of a conversation. We do this job (well, most of us) because we like talking to people. As cheesy as it may sound: Help us help you :)" —Colin Kiley, bartender at Puritan & Company

Libby Spencer"Making out at the bar is my biggest pet peeve. We've all done it, but let's face it...it's gross. People who wave/raise their hand at you are up there, too. Patience is becoming less & less important to people, which is too bad." —Libby Spencer, bar manager at Deep Ellum

Tom Tellier"Nothing irks me more than rude guests — don't snap your fingers, slap the bar, or call us bar keep. And if there are open clean seats at the bar, sit there so I can clean the dirty ones!" —Tom Tellier, beverage director for Restaurant dante and both locations of il Casale

Todd Lipman"Bartender: ‘Good evening, welcome, how are you tonight?’ Guest: ‘Yeah, two Jack and Cokes.’" —Todd Lipman, head sommelier at Bistro du Midi


Davide Crusoe"So I’m just not a fan of guests drinking a beer out of a bottle and not using a proper glass, but snapping your fingers at me may take the cake." —Davide Crusoe, general manager at Chopps in Burlington


Christine Kerow"Ordering a vodka or gin martini and then complaining that it is too strong?" —Christine Gerow, director of restaurant & bar at the Westin Waltham-Boston's Seventy at Third Avenue


Sam Treadway"‘Can I pay cash and the rest on three cards?’ and then I do exactly that without any complaint or issue. (Splitting a check up or paying with multiple cards is not a problem at all.) It's when I'm given a tip for only the amount that was charged to their card, instead of taking into account all the cash that went into the total. For example: bill is $100...which means $20 is a 20% tip. A few friends put down cash totaling $40, then three friends split the rest $20, $20, and $20. Then all three friends only leave $4 per card, which is only $12 for the total check... it's not intentional; they’re just not fully realizing what they're doing. It happens at least five times a night." —Sam Treadway, bar manager at Backbar

Seth Freidus"Lack of patience." —Seth Freidus, beverage director at Alden & Harlow


Like taking a goat as your plus one to a wedding.

Sean Woods"Reaching for something that’s not a fucking napkin to spit your gum into. How about not walking into a restaurant while chewing gum? That’s like taking a goat as your plus one to a wedding." —Sean Woods, bar manager at Ribelle

Ezra Star"Worst customer habits I've seen have mostly been being too drunk to be aware that you are in a public space." —Ezra Star, general manager at Drink


Jared Sadoian"A​m I allowed to vent? Treating the bartender like he or she is only a beverage delivery service and nothing more. In this day and age I'm surprised at the number of times I see this behavior crop up. Any others? Waving credit cards / cash is kind of old hat but is still rampant. Guys, I love that you've chosen to come to my bar. Thank you for demonstrating that you possess a form of payment! I'm working as fast as I can, I promise." —Jared Sadoian, head bartender and beverage director of Craigie on Main and The Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Tenzin Samdo"Being loud." —Tenzin Konchok Samdo, head barman at TRADE


Jonathan Mendez"Any generally rude behavior to get attention—snapping fingers, yelling ‘Yo!,’ waving money around. We see you; I promise we’re not ignoring you, and we will get to you in just a moment. We do appreciate your patience and we please ask that you recognize that we’re doing our level best to ensure consistent, gracious service for ALL of our guests." —Jonathan Mendez, beverage director and bartender at TRADE

Michael Florence"Staying in and not coming to my bar." — Michael Florence, bar manager at Ole


Ryan McGrale"Touching everything in my garnish station." —Ryan McGrale, beverage director at Tavern Road


"Can you make this one strong?!?" —Tom Dargon, assistant general manager of BOKX 109

"Closing out after each drink on a busy night, especially when paying by credit card. Cash is an easier transaction time-wise. There are more steps with a credit card transaction." —Ashish Mitra, bar manager at Russell House Tavern

"I am lucky enough to work in a place where an overwhelming majority of our guests are relaxed, smiling, and ready to have fun. When people walk in with a good attitude, they have a great time. When people are bummed but looking to get out of it: we can turn it around. My only frustration is if a guest comes in sour and wants to sit in it. It is hard to make someone have fun if they don't want to." —Tyler Wang, bartender at Audubon

"The worst customer habit I have found is the numerous places people find to stick their gum. We are all adults here at the bar. No one wants to scrape it off the bottom of a chair or the bar later. Put it in a napkin or go to the restroom." —Rob Dunn, bar manager at Lineage

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