Diatribe With Dave: Five Moves That'll Piss Off Your Bartender

Categories: Hops to It!
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Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us every Wednesday morning that he's on to a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!

My grandfather Herman Mau had two great sayings. The first was "You speak German to your horse and French to your mistress" (he was German by the way). The other was "There are three people you keep around: a good barber, a good lawyer and a good bartender".
Herman Mau: Class act all the way
Herman was shop manager at the Cadillac dealership on Nob Hill in The City from the 1930s until the 1950s. He was a fine example of mid-century West Coast cocktail chic and one hell of a nice guy. He regarded bartending as a true calling and noble pursuit, one that was to be valued as much as the services of a well-heeled attorney.

Fast-forward five decades and here I am, an avid fan of both sides of the bar and a proud member of the OC cocktail brotherhood. I started bartending as a matter of necessity and, as time goes on, still do so regardless of my other pursuits. During my time in the visual effects industry and slugging it out at the tail end of the dot.com boom, I was pouring drinks and dodging punches at Linda's Doll Hut. Even when chefing at my own shops, I have always bartended because I love it so. People rarely show up at the bar to have a lousy time and once you get the screwballs figured out, bartending isn't really even work. You're getting paid (sometimes quite well) to hang out and be social.

Now, don't get me wrong: If I was slinging frozen drinks to jackasses at TGI Fridays or Joe's Crab Shack, I'd be suicidal. But the shops I've been a part of have always been independently run and had their own rules. There is no reason to put up with lousy attitudes or self-entitled clients and the exit has always been conveniently located to have either or both of them leave. Over the years I have encountered an unfortunate number of rookies who are likely unaware of Herman's vision of the profession.

A lot of people don't realize that, depending on your attitude, your bartender can make or break your night (and I've done plenty of both!) Piss him/her off, and you are likely to get a short pour, finger in your drink or much worse. Here are the top five moves that really irk that person on the other side of the bar.

1. Ask "What's Good?"
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You know what's good? Booze. Booze is good. Hovering at the bar with your eyes all glazed over and drool coming out of your mouth while the bartender waits is just plain insulting. At the very least say, "I need a moment." It's common courtesy.

2. Don't Come In Waving a Recipe

Bartenders don't show up at whatever coffee joint you work at and tell you how to make lattes. Extend them the same courtesy. Aside from a few exceptions, I think most bartenders take pride in what they do for a living, and the OC craft cocktail set has created a new breed that is (sometimes irritatingly) all-too familiar with their chosen vocation. Don't hold up your smart phone with a drink recipe on the screen or bring in one of those cardboard recipe cards that slip over the neck of Parrot Bay bottles. Your barkeep may or may not be amenable to learning a new drink, but that's their call.

Location Info

Memphis At The Santora - CLOSED

201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA

Category: Restaurant

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