Say What: One Reader's Rebuttal To A Recent Post

[Note: Sometimes readers leave comments. This indivudual went a few steps further, with an extended response. I have agreed to publish it in its entirety.]


How To Drink In The Summer

(or a rebuttal from a longtime client of many bartenders)

I take a few exceptions with the Pattyj blog on May 9th, specifically, how to drink.

One fact of when you go out drinking is you will end up drinking more alcohol than you had originally planned or expected. It is not much different than when someone tries to go healthy at the local ice cream shop or at McDonald’s (Supposedly no one goes there anymore, but somehow they sell 7 million burgers a DAY!). So the first principle is to get hydrated with non-alcoholic fluids - water! It has no calories, is free, and allows you to get your bearings (Is the bartender going to be a friend or foe tonight ?).

Another fact is that you will have peer pressure to drink something that you may not want or like or that disagrees with you. Or all of the above. So principle two is have a battle plan. I’m drinking beer, or I’m drinking wine, or a martini. A great man once said - Plan your work and work your plan! This is critical; it will allow you to stay in control and keep the night fun while avoiding the usual knuckleheads. And of course, this gets back to the 1st principle - if you favor high calories and/or thirst-quenching cocktails, you have to keep water in the rotation. This will keep you hydrated and alert. Bartenders don’t like it because now they are giving you free drinks (20% of zero is zero! ouch.).

Another fact is that at a bar, you are the customer, so you should be treated with respect and grace. The bartender and bar are there for you, you’re not there for the bartender! The bartender is not doing you a favor by serving you; he/she is doing their job. And if they do it well, they should get tipped, and generously. And if you are a generous tipper, you should tip early and often - it makes a huge difference in the service you get the rest of the evening. If the bartender cops an attitude and wants to be a jerk, then they should get a jerky tip. So principle three - you’re the customer, expect good service!

Finally, know your limits and when to call it quits. In Rhode Island, it’s relatively easy - very few places are open past midnight anyway. Also know when last call is, so that your exit is planned. So principle 4 is have an exit strategy before the night even gets started. This will avoid a lot of regrets the next morning, assuming you get there.

Finally, some basic tips for those bartenders in the audience:

1. How about cooling off the glass before preparing my beverage? Bad bartending begins with a warm glass (which of course is exceeded by a dirty glass).

2. Yeah, I know Bruce Willis was a bartender, and I hate to be the Debbie Downer, but the odds don’t look great for you working at a local bistro in Providence, so focus on your job and no, there’s no one in the crowd who’s going to bring you on to a movie set any time soon.

3. How about getting an assistant when you’re busy - I know how tough it must be to share your tips, but maybe you’d get better tips if your service and execution were better.

4. And get off your power trip - hate to the break to news to you, but there are about 50 other places I could go that are likely just as good, if not better. Also, there’s apparently a new app out there that is intended to make your whole profession obsolete. Tap your phone, get a drink served to your table, and pass on all the serving drama - where do I sign up?