Confessions of a Charlotte bartender

Confessions of a Charlotte bartender
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Note: Love confessions? Here’s the confessions series. If you’d like to participate, please email charlotte@axios.com. We promise to keep you anonymous.


I’ll admit it. I’ve had a drink or two in my lifetime. And sometimes I think back to those nights in college, grad school and last weekend and think—what did those poor bartenders think of super drunk Mary? Did they make fun of me? Overcharge me? Ignore me when I yelled to them, “Three shots of voka please for me and my new friensss!”

I spoke with one local bartender about dealing with people like super drunk Mary, bad tippers and even date rape drugs. Here are her confessions:

Let’s get right into it. Tell me your favorite drunk people stories.

St. Patrick’s Day bar crawls are the best for stories. I’ve see guys use the corner of the bar for toilets. I’ve seen couples go at it in the alleyway. I had one girl pout at the end of the bar and threaten to call her dad (a state trooper) because the bottled water wasn’t free.

Do you ever take longer with people’s drinks because they’re being jerks?

Yes. Leaning over the bar, yelling, clapping and banging on the bar will get you ignored. Depending how busy it is you may even get kicked out of the bar.

Do you ever “forget” to give people change when they’re wasted?

No, but if you walk away after handing me a $20 I’m not tracking you down for your change.

What’s the best part about your job? The worst?

The best part is the people. Different people every day, always new faces and new stories. Charlotte’s got some awesome locals, transplants and tourists.

The worst part is, again, the people. There are some seriously self-entitled jerks out there who only get worse when they drink.

What are your thoughts on people who walk up to the bar and say, “surprise me?”

I hate it. Without any sort of guidance, the chances of me making something you like based on less than one minute of interaction is pretty slim. What kind of liquor do you want? More importantly, what kind of liquor do you not want? Never ask this when the bar is busy. I’ll give you a Bud and shot of Jameson and you’re going to pay for it.

What’s the most annoying thing your customers do?

Chain ordering, not knowing what they want or asking us to be their photographer. Splitting checks may be the worst. If you and your two girlfriends are going to buy rounds of shots, each one should pay for a full round. Don’t split it three ways on cards every time. It all comes out the same and you’re just slowing down the bartender who could be helping others.

Do you flirt with customers to get better tips?

Absolutely.

What’s the weirdest thing someone’s left at the bar?

I found a wig on a door hanger in the woman’s bathroom.

Have you ever seen a guy try to slip something in a girl’s drink?

Not personally, but I’ve heard stories. This is the #1 reason why your unattended drink gets dumped by staff. If someone slips you something when you weren’t looking, be grateful we threw your drink away.

How do you deal with drunk criers?

They’re uncomfortable. Bartenders want people to enjoy their time at the bar. Unless something is really wrong, we don’t care that your boyfriend reopened his Tinder account.

What’s the biggest tip you’ve ever received?

I’m not sure the biggest tip but there’s been several $100 tips, plus $1,000 tips on parties. But the worst was four years ago. I don’t think I have to say that $3 and change was unacceptable on a $750 tab.

Any other confessions?

There are times when all the bartenders are behind the bar laughing at you. We also complain about your crappy tips and rude attitudes all while smiling at you. But mostly we want to enjoy ourselves at work and make sure you have a good time.

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