It’s busy. You’re behind the bar. Stuff happens. Things can get out of control if you’re not staying on top of things. Experienced bartenders know how to handle these situations intuitively – and you will too.

We can’t go in the backroom and hide. We don’t work in an office where we can send the phone to voice-mail. Nope. bartenders need to step up. Evaluate what’s going on and make some decisions. Fast.

There is no video for this lesson at this time. This lesson is kind of a “catch all” for some situations you will run across during your shifts as a bartender. Pretty simple stuff, and just give it a quick read.

One more thing – you may get a question during the interview on one or more of these situations. Interviewers will come up with all kinds of “scenarios” during the interview process. They’re just trying to see if you’re able to handle things in a mature, professional manner.

I really don’t want to scare you off here, but bartender’s do have a tremendous amount of responsibility. Use your common sense, obey the law, follow house policies, and you’ll be just fine.

Sometimes these decisions aren’t popular. Sometimes you’ll make the wrong decision. Yes, even very experienced bartenders can get things wrong sometimes. Learn and move on!

So – here we go. Stuff that happens during the course of a bartenders shift.

Exploding kegs

It has happened to every bartender out there. Yeah, I know – some bartenders will say that changing kegs is easy and it’s never happened to them. Really? Then I would say, “How was your first week on the job?”

Side Note: I explain this in more detail in the beer section, but when I say “exploding” I don’t mean that the keg actually “blows up.” I simply mean that when changing kegs, the pressure from the CO2 is still running thought the lines. When you disengage the beer tapper, that pressure has to go somewhere. Usually all over you along with any beer that is left in the line. Sometimes it can really get you!

The key here is to turn off the CO2, GENTLY twist the tapper (connector), and use a bar towel in your hand to put over the top of the keg where the tapper is. Hooking up a keg is much easier – and less messy when you do it right.

Wipe yourself off and get back behind the bar! You’ll get better (and faster), at changing kegs as you gain more experience. Regardless, some beer keg systems are fickle – and you will get doused at some point.

I go through the art of changing beer kegs in Section 7 – Beer. Pay attention!

It was a nice one-nighter. Oops – here they are again!

There is no question that bars are an absolute gold mine for hooking up. For all you hook-up artists out there – this will happen. You can play fast and loose for only so long – it’s going to get you.

Look, I’m not the “dating” police and certainly don’t have any good advice on how to handle these situations. I just know from experience that sticky situations like this can have an effect on your working relationship with your boss. And fellow employees. And customers. Tread carefully, my friends!

Multiple hook-ups show up at the same time

Ouch. Again, for those of you who go into this business to meet people – and hook up – careful with this. I’ve always had a “One Girl” policy, so never had to deal with this.

See my answer to the previous situation.

You’re dating a coworker – can this end badly?

You bet it can. See the previous two situations. Some bars will have a “no dating employees” policy. I have worked in bars that do have this policy – ignored by pretty much everyone.

Customer is drunk – heads for the exit with car keys in hand

Ouch. This is a touchy situation. Personally, I always made it point to have a chat with them. More times than not I would talk them into taking a cab, calling a friend or relative, or getting an Uber.

Yes, we’re responsible bartenders. We serve alcohol. But where do we draw the line on taking someone’s keys? We simply can’t forcibly take someone’s keys. Get very specific with your bar manager about the House Policy on this issue.

I guess that the way to solve this problem is to simply cut people off before they get too drunk. But, that’s easy to say – and a really lame solution if I do say so myself. Bartenders are stuck in a sticky situation here, and until the liquor laws change – we simply try and do our best.

True Story: 
I have had regular customers who would get pretty tuned up every time they come in. I would tell them to hand over their keys before even serving them. You can’t do that, you say! Well, of course not – but I did it anyway. Most just laughed and complied. At the end of the night I would call them a cab – or get someone to drive them home. Many times, I have driven people home myself.

Many of your customers will live within walking distance. They’ll usually tell you that if you cut them off. No problem there, but again, these are tricky situations. Summon your manager if needed!

The owner is sitting at the bar

I never had a problem with this. Always treat the bar owner with respect and go about your business. I have, however, heard horror stories from other bartenders about the owners they have dealt with. I guess I’ve just been lucky.

Most likely, bar owners will have a tab that is written off by the accountant as “local promotion” or something like that. Just make sure to write down everything that the owner drinks, eats, or buys for someone else. Simple.

Most bar owners are very nice and professional – and they usually make sure to tip you well when they’re taking up one of your bar stools.

The owner is sitting at the bar and violating house policy

What house policy is he violating? You need to be careful with this. I have seen bar owners get a bit tipsy and start getting a little “touchy.” I’ve seen them drunk. I’ve seen them rude and demanding. You’re new, so go with the flow – and defer to the bar manager or a more experienced bartender.

On the flip side – he’s the owner. It may be bad judgment, but as long he’s not violating the law there’s really not much you can do.

True Story:
I worked for a couple that owned a very busy seafood/piano bar type of place. Wonderful bosses, and the true definition of a “Mom and Pop” type restaurant and bar. Both of them could get a bit “tuned up” at times and a little, shall we say, boisterous.
It was really no problem, as only a couple of weeks into my time working as a bartender there, they came to me and said that if they were ever to get a “little bit out of hand” I was supposed to let them know. It did happen, many times, and I let them (kindly) know. They always immediately responded, “No problem, Mark,” threw a twenty on the bar – and left. Every time. Great people!

Side Note: I have heard of bar owners telling their bartenders to serve minors. Not on my watch, and I find it hard to believe that this is actually true. Either way – NEVER serve anyone underage!

The owner is sitting at the bar and making demands, drunk.

Similar to the above scenario – but this is very rare.

I have worked in a couple of places where the bar owner(s) would drink every day. Usually there was no problem, and I never had a problem saying something like, “Hey Jerry! We have customers who can’t seem to find a barstool!” He got the picture.

There is no management on site

This happens all the time in smaller “Mom and Pop” type bars. This means that YOU are in charge. Follow house policies and keep things under control. If you are left in charge – you’re doing something right!

Why is the bartender left in control – and not a food server, cook, or host? Simple – bartenders are the ones who usually check in incoming food and liquor orders. Bartenders also have most of the control over the cash register system. The job naturally falls to them.

The owner’s friends are demanding free drinks

This one is easy. Treat the bar owners friends as regular customers. Stay polite and professional – and make sure every drink and food item is accounted for.

Yes, I have seen friends of bar owners get out of hand. And demanding. And obnoxious. I simply made a mental note of it and brought it up with the bar owner the next time I saw him. Most all bar owners will agree with you – and there won’t be any problem.

Fellow employees are drinking

Is it legal? Does the House Policy allow this? You better know what the rules are before saying anything.

This can be a very tricky situation, as no one wants to be identified as a snitch. If drinking is legal in your State, but unauthorized through House Policy, I would always tell the employee to stop – and that I will not cover for them if asked by management if they are drinking. Simple. However….

If drinking behind the bar is illegal in your State – you MUST adopt a firmer stance. It’s against the law. The Bar owner could lose that valuable liquor license. Or, at the very least, a hefty fine. And, they’re putting your job in jeopardy. I have seen this time and again, and, as a bartender employee, I would tell them that if i saw it again I would inform management.

True Story:
I’m no angel. I have made my share of mistakes in this business, and have learned a lot. You know my story, and I would like to add to that by saying that in my earlier days of bartending I didn’t give a whole lot of thought to the Bar Owner’s liquor license. I was young, and sailing through life without a care in the world. My, how things have changed! Yes, it was a different time, 25 – 30 years ago, but one thing has never changed: Liquor licenses are expensive. It is not easy to obtain one. And, if you wish to keep that license – you better play by the rules. I learned the importance of protecting the Bar Owner’s liquor license at all costs many years ago – and never looked back. These days, I have zero tolerance for any sort of dipshittery in the bar business. Bartending is a very lucrative and fun profession – you don’t have to break the rules to be successful.

If I was the bar manager, I would usually give employees one warning. That’s it.

I have been in situations where fellow bartenders are getting pretty well tuned up. And inefficient. And rude. And a whole lot of other things. Not good, and if you can easily see it – so can management and customers.

Fellow employees are purchasing/doing drugs

Another big no-no. See my response to the previous scenario. Drug testing is popping up more and more, and it’s just a matter of time before management figures out an employee is doing drugs. Or worse yet – dealing.

You simply cannot allow drug dealers in your bar. Inform management immediately if you observe this. No exceptions.

Fellow bartender lacks the skills to be a bartender

If you stay in this business long enough, you will run across inept bartenders. In my experience, most of the bartenders I have worked with know their jobs pretty well – no issues there.

But what about that bartender who simply cannot get the “hang of it?” It happens. You can bet that an effective bar manager will figure it out – hopefully sooner rather than later. And, if you’re a new bartender – you better stay away from this issue altogether.

You have to be careful here. No one likes a snitch. See if you can help this person – offer advice, techniques – whatever, to aid them in becoming a better bartender. And, please, don’t tear this person down when talking with other employees or customers.

Fellow bartender being unprofessional or a jerk

This can happen a lot. Personally, I found that arrogance creeps into some bartenders’ personality and they become insufferable. We’re just bartenders for gosh sakes!

Please – don’t let this happen to you. The very best bartenders I ever worked with are down-to-earth and humble.

Another bartender’s friends are being jerks

I really never had a problem with this. Let this bartender know his friends are being ***holes – and deal with them appropriately. If it’s my friends being jerks – I put a stop to it immediately. Usually, a threat to start short-pouring them solves the problem. Or writing their name and phone number on the restroom stall doors. Oops – did I say that?

Problem with food service

You’re probably going to have to get management involved with this. You cannot run back to the kitchen and start berating the cooks. That’s a big no-no. Remember that all employees are working as a team.

Just make sure you put in your food orders properly, and quickly, and you’ll be just fine. Yes, it can get busy – and the food comes out slow. Just deal with it and do the best you can.

Whenever I ran into this problem, I would inform management and get her to authorize a free drink or two. That always worked.

Unstocked bar – previous bartender(s) incompetent

Confront the previous bartender – in a nice, friendly way. Every bar has their “system,” and it’s possible that the previous bartender is new and doesn’t have the particulars down.

If this continues, then you have no choice but to get management involved. Stay professional – and helpful. Offer to explain the proper procedures and help your fellow bartenders follow the “system.”

Side Note: Most all of the bartenders I have worked with throughout the years are very nice and decent people. However, there were a few that had no concept of the word “Teamwork.” It happens, and they usually don’t last long.

Bouncers/doorperson letting in drunk people

Obviously, you have a huge problem here. And, you’re going to start wondering if they’re checking ID’s properly. I did. It’s still your responsibility on the over-serving thing – whether you let them in the door or someone else did.

You have no choice but to say something to your fellow employees – in a nice, professional way. Maybe they haven’t been trained properly. If the problem persists – inform management.

Side Note: You are going to run across situations where a guy comes into your bar and he’s already blasted. Oh-oh. What do you do? Easy – treat this like any other situation where someone has had too much to drink.

Tons of minors trying to drink

You have a bigger problem. If minors are constantly trying to purchase alcohol – then your bar probably has a reputation for serving minors. This is one of the things that all bartenders need to avoid.

Inform management of your suspicions. Immediately. Start checking everyone’s ID that looks under 40. Your goal is to reverse the trend and help get your bar’s reputation back on track.

Will you get me Stacy’s phone number for me?

Never give out a fellow employees phone number. Never. Ever. Ever. Enough said. Did I say never?

Customer asking really strange or suspicious questions

As I have said many times before – you do not know who is sitting at your bar. It could be a “spotter.” It might be an undercover agent. There could have been a mass escape from the local asylum. You just never know!

Just be nice and answer their questions honestly – unless they start making you feel uncomfortable. I have had no problem saying something like, “Why all the questions? Are you interested in becoming a bartender?”

Really, you probably just ran across what my Grandmother would call an “Odd Duck.” Don’t get paranoid!

A customer going around checking ID’s

This is a bit disturbing – but I have had it happen in my bar. More than once. Turns out it was ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control), performing a random ID check. I asked for ID – and everything was cool.

If it’s a customer with no legal authority – you gotta wonder what he’s up to. I have had undercover agents check ID’s many times before – but never a customer. I’ve heard of it happening – but never on my watch.

If it’s a customer – stop it immediately. You cannot have customers going around violating people’s privacy. Period. And, it’s creepy.

Customer obviously looking for a fight

I really dislike these customers. Get them out of there immediately. You may need to get management involved.

It’s busy: You simply cannot keep up

It happens to all of us. This is where you go into “cruise” mode. Stay efficient, acknowledge your customers – and do the best you can.

Customers know when you’re busy. Most of them, anyway, and they’re very understanding. There’s really nothing you can do here other than ask your bar manager to jump in and start washing some glasses and pouring beers.

If this happens all the time – it might be a good time to suggest to management that an extra bartender for a few hours will be a great help.

True Story:
I have worked at some incredibly busy bars. 2 and 3 deepers during the busy times. Totally buried – and loving every minute. One bar was in an “L” shape and the beer tappers were at one end. The problem? During the crazy times, we were spending way too much time always running down to the tappers to pour beer. Customers screaming for drinks, and here I am drawing beers. The solution? After 8:00 we 86’d draft beers. Put a “sheet-like” thing over the tappers and went with the bottled beer which was easily within reach of the bartenders wells. Overall sales took a nice jump – and the bar owner couldn’t be happier.

The bar is slow – morale low, and no one is making any money

Time to move on. Yep. I never stuck around in a place where I wasn’t making good money. I could go on and on here about how you could do your part in trying to boost morale and come up with some promotions to get more people in the bar – but nah.

As you progress in your bartending career, you’ll find that once in a while you have made the wrong choice in where you work. Or, outside factors could be the reason for slow business. Don’t be afraid to move on – you now have some good experience.

Oh no! Customer looks like they’re going to vomit

This sucks. Hopefully, this customer is near a wastebasket or restroom. This is one of those times where you should have probably cut this person off sooner – but sometimes you just never know. Some customers can hide their level of intoxication really well.

There’s also sanitation issues here. If someone vomits on your bar – you’re in trouble. I have heard of places shutting down for a few hours in order to clean and re-sanitize everything. What a pain in the butt!

The bar is over capacity

A common occurrence in busy bars. It’s happened to me plenty of times, and it’s not good when the Fire Marshall stops by and shuts your doors. Ouch.

Management is responsible for this, of course, but an experienced bartender can tell when maximum capacity has been reached. Probably because you can’t keep up with all of the drink orders.

This is a good problem to have, really, but you do have to follow the law. Many bars have front door personnel who have some sort of “clicker counter” to monitor the capacity.

Customer appears to be “on something”

You need to be very careful with this. We are not doctors. That being said, experienced bartenders have a pretty good idea when one of their customers is under the influence of something.

We’re not the “drug police.” And, how do we know if a customer has a prescription? As bartenders, we need to stick to dispensing alcohol in a responsible manner and not worry too much about what our customers are possibly ingesting on their own time.

That being said, obvious drug use is a problem in this country. And in bars. If someone is really “whacked out,” inform management – it’s about all you can do.

Customers frequently going outside

What are they doing out there? You don’t know – and it’s really not any of your business. I could elaborate on this extensively, but a little common sense goes a long way.

Many people just like some fresh air. Or, they need to use their phone in a quiet environment. And then there are those who constantly go in and out of the bar for nefarious reasons.

Personally, I know of many people who head to their cars for a quick hit of something or a few tugs off that half-pint of vodka. There’s really not a whole lot you can do about this – unless the bar employs outside security.

Customer frequently using restroom – other customers follow

Oh-oh. You have a pretty good idea of what’s going on here. Inform management and get back to work.

We have to remember that as bartenders we are not societies’ answer to stopping drug abuse – or drug sales. If something looks suspicious – inform management.

Side Note: If your bar has a reputation for allowing drug sales – you’re in trouble. The ABC and Vice cops are going to be in there all the time. Not a place I want to work at – and neither should you.

Again, I could really dive into this subject, but you’ll get the hang of it after some time behind the bar.

Married couple having a domestic quarrel

Tricky stuff here. As a bartender, you’re going to see arguments between your customers all the time. As long as it’s low-key (and low-volume), there’s really nothing you can do. It’s not your business.

If things get out of hand – and it affects other customers’ experience – then you have a problem. Simply tell your customers to keep their voices down, and that the bar does not allow this type of behavior. If it escalates – inform management.

Bartender (from a different bar) criticizing everything

This happens more than you would think. And astounds me. And, believe it or not, it usually comes from brand-new bartenders. Please don’t do this!

I talk about new bartenders and their arrogance in many other lessons in this course. Experienced bartenders know how to handle this situation really well – and you will, too.

Personally, I never took any crap from new bartenders trying to pass themselves off as experts. And know-it-alls. There’s nothing worse than a brand-new bartender (or any bartender for that matter), who thinks he or she is hot s***. We’re just bartenders!

Girl abandoned by friends

Simply keep an eye out – as you would with any other situation where someone appears lost and alone. Offer to call her a cab – or sit up at the bar (if she isn’t already), where you can keep an eye on things.

Customers dancing on tables

This can happen a lot in very busy, crazy bars. Get them off the table! Enough said.

There’s a great scene in the Patrick Swayze movie “Roadhouse” about this exact situation. Funny stuff.

Line out front – people ticked off because they can’t get in

I’ve had regulars call me at the bar because they can’t get in. It’s unfortunate, but the bar must abide by the capacity rules.

There is really nothing you can do about this. If your bar consistently has lines of people waiting to get in (a good thing), this means that there is probably an employee at the door controlling the flow. Stay out of their way!

If you expect some friends (or whatever) are going to be coming to your bar – then give the doorperson their names. They’ll allow them to enter when the time is right.

Or, do what I did when my brothers came in to visit – have the bouncer let them in the back exit door. Yes, bartenders do have perks!

Creepy people doing what they do best – acting creepy

Aah…the Creepers! Unfortunately, bars get their fair share of these people – and more.

Just keep an eye on them. Most are harmless, and other customers will let you know if they have crossed the line. Again, experienced bartenders know how to handle these people very well.

Customer is totally baked

Stoned. High. Hitting the hay. 420. Blasted. Blitzed. Bombed. Loaded. Hopped up. Yes, I know – marijuana is being legalized all across the country, and if someone comes into your bar baked there’s really nothing you can do. And, yes, I’ve been around long enough to know when someone has been hitting the bong.

I always enjoyed messing with the “stoners.” Fun stuff. It’s the hard-core drug users that can cause problems. Again, you don’t really know what people are on these days – and it’s really not your business.

If you can tell when someone is high – then others can too. Law enforcement will eventually catch up with them.

And, please, never encourage drug use. You always need to stay neutral about this stuff!

Customers leave belongings unguarded

Happens all the time. And, many times, you will get blamed for not watching their “stuff.” You need to avoid this at all costs.

I always made it a point to tell my customers to take their stuff with them if going to the restroom – and I would hold their barstool for them. Simple. But what if they’re constantly up and down hitting the dance floor? Here’s what I would do:

“I see you like dancing! I’m a little concerned about you leaving your coat and phone on the bar while you’re out there doing your thing. We cannot be responsible for watching your stuff, so would it be possible for you to stash these items in your car?” You’ll get mixed responses, believe me!

Never offer to keep someone’s belongings behind the bar. In fact, most bars will have a house policy that strictly prohibits this. I totally agree with it.

Charging cell phones

Don’t do it! Most bars will have a house policy that prohibits this. And, expensive cell phones have a way of disappearing. Fortunately, many bars and restaurants offer cell phone charging stations. Nice.

Side Note: I foresee an electrical outlet underneath the bar top for every barstool at the bar. If they’re not already doing this. And, at tables. Kind of like what they have in airports now underneath the seats people use while they’re waiting for flights.

It gets wet behind bars. Floors and countertops. And you’re busy – things can get knocked to the floor. You don’t want to be responsible for a $1000 cell phone, do you?

Customers in unauthorized areas

This does happen – but not often. Mostly, it’s someone who is a bit tipsy and simply takes a wrong turn.

But what about if someone comes behind your bar? Not good. If it’s an employee, then follow house policy as sometimes designated employees are allowed back there.

If it’s the Health Inspector, Fire Marshall, or Law Enforcement – then you just have to go with the flow and inform management. In all my years of bartending, I have never had a member of Law Enforcement come behind my bar.

If it’s a customer – tell them to get out of there immediately. No exceptions. There’s liability issues – among other things.

Customers intentionally breaking stuff

I’ve seen this before. Intentionally dropping glasses. Unscrewing the legs of a bar chair. Kicking in a men’s room urinal or destroying a toilet seat. Weird stuff.

Obviously, you cannot allow this to happen – and have the person removed immediately. In fact, management will probably ID them and make them pay for damages through the legal system. I would hope.

Customers stealing glassware (and silverware)

Happens all the time – but hard to prove. Shot glasses and really cool steak knives are a favorite.

Obviously, if you see someone pocketing the bar’s property – confront them and demand the return.

Barefoot customers

I saw this all the time – especially at bars near the beach. What is the house policy? Enforce it.

Be nice and professional – but firm. The bar doesn’t need a lawsuit stemming from a sliced up foot.

You don’t know what’s going on in the restroom

Happens all the time. Your regular customers will usually let you know what’s going on.

Obviously, if there is illegal activity going on – inform management.

An entire group looks really young

Re-check their ID’s. I have busted an entire group of people with no ID’s. One of my bouncer’s let them in. I fired him immediately.

Never be afraid to check ID’s yourself. Even if you have front door personnel.

Your bar is grossly understaffed

It happens. The boss is trying to cut payroll – and the customer suffers. This is an ugly situation, and can only be solved by management.

Is the bar going downhill? Do you notice that equipment is not being repaired quickly? Rodents have free reign? Bartenders told to cut a half-ounce off their pours? Ouch.

It may be time to move on, my friends!

Your bar is overstaffed

Believe it or not – this happens more often than a bar being understaffed. There has to be a reason:

  • The bar owner has millions – and doesn’t give a s***.
  • It’s a brand-new place. They WILL cut staff at some point.
  • It’s a bar in a state where there’s a “tip credit.” (They can pay lower than normal wages)
  • The Bar Owner/Manager is incompetent and clueless
  • The Bar Owner/Manager has no confidence in their staff
  • The staff is unqualified and inexperienced
  • The staff is poorly trained

Go with the flow – and get your resume out there.

Customers verbally fighting over the TV channel

This happens way too often for my liking. You would think that this happens more often in a bar with few TV’s. You would be mistaken. Bar customers like their “favorite spots,” and sometimes protect their “territory” with a vengeance. Sometimes it’s funny.

Do your best to accommodate everyone. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of graciously asking someone to move over to a different table – or spot at the bar.

This is one of those times to use your “free drink” allowance.

The building and equipment is breaking down

Another sign that the bar may be in trouble. Do your part in maintaining your tools and equipment.

It could be just a cheap Bar Owner or incompetent management. Careful, but make sure that management is aware of these problems – if they don’t already.

Your bar is in an unsafe area

Ouch. If you have to walk some of your customers to their cars – you may want to look for another job. Enough said.

Your bar offers no benefits at all

This is not uncommon at all. Most bars and restaurants have a majority of part-time employees. Union houses are different, of course – but you just never know when you’re applying for your first bartending job.

Most all bars will offer free or discounted food and drinks – but that’s about it.

Rodents seen all over the place

Another sign that the bar may be going downhill. Or, there’s a construction site nearby. Or, the Bar Owner is just plain cheap. Make sure management knows – and really pester them to get a handle on things. I would.

This is one thing that I would refuse to deal with. If management didn’t take care of the problem – I moved on. But that’s just me.

Fellow employee wants you to cover for their infidelity

Nope. Not gonna do it. Get your personal life in order, because I’m not covering for you!

It’s none of my business on how you conduct your personal life.; however, if you get me involved – I will tell the truth.

Tips suck

Move on. If you’re a good bartender, then it’s usually because the place just isn’t busy enough to satisfy your financial needs. Or, you’re just in the wrong type of atmosphere in the first place.

True Story:
At one point of my life, I was focusing most of my time on college and starting my own business. I was working part-time at a couple of really nice hotels as a banquet/event bartender and making great money – and it fit my schedule perfectly.
A couple of acquaintances of mine, who already owned a couple of successful bars, were opening a brand-new nightclub in a very nice area. They contacted me and asked if I would be their bar manager. I accepted – as long as I could have the best Friday-Saturday night bartending shifts. Deal. I quit my hotel jobs and jumped right in. Hired the bartenders, set up the bar – you name it. And then – nothing. These guys were in over their heads and totally incompetent. No business, lousy tips, and employees starting leaving in droves. Me included. Fortunately, BOTH hotels I had previously worked at immediately hired me back and things were back to normal. The point? A bird in the hand….

Fellow employee is being a jerk to customers

This is unacceptable, and its happened quite a few times over my career. I’m not the type of person who lets these things go unnoticed, and jumped into the fray.

If management is oblivious – then there’s a real problem going on. Under no circumstances should any employee be rude to customers because it affects all of us.

As a Bar Manager, I nipped this in the bud immediately.

As a new bartender, you might wish to consult with your other fellow bartenders who have been there a while and get their thoughts before taking any action.

Hungover bartender – not pulling their weight

Yep. Bartenders do drink. Again, you don’t want to be the “drinking” police, so you have to be careful with this. Management probably knows, and hopefully they’ll have a little sit-down with this person.

As a Bar Manager, I usually treated this simply as a “being on time and in proper uniform” issue. There were a few times that I offered help.

You, as a new bartender, kind of need to stay on the sidelines. As you gain more experience, and move up the ladder in that particular bar – then maybe you can dig a bit deeper.

Group believes the bar is “theirs”

A situation like this can escalate out of control very quickly. These customers have no respect for others in the bar, and can many times expect special favors from the staff.

This is a tough one. You want the business, as sometimes it’s usually a nice chunk of change. However, there can be no doubt that you, as a bartender, are controlling a lot of what takes place here. Be careful with this, and get management involved if these customers get out of control, take too many liberties – or have an effect on your other customer’s experience.

Constantly low on supplies

Another indication that the bar may be in trouble. Or, incompetent management.

All you can do here is make sure management knows of the shortages – and be aware of your own wastefulness.

Regulars interfering with the bar’s policies

Very similar to regular groups getting out of hand – mentioned above.

Make no mistake – regulars are great, and contribute to a huge amount of revenue for the bar. Unfortunately, some regulars take it upon themselves to get involved in some of your House Policies.

Careful with this. Regulars will always have your back, but sometimes you have to tell them to take a step back and sit this one out. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a situation under control – and then a regular steps in, with good intentions, and the situation escalates. THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!

You disagree with a fellow bartender on a questionable ID

This happens. There’s a very simple solution – have the manager make the decision.

That’s it for now. I’ll probably keep adding to this list as time goes on.

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