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Top ten rules to avoid pissing off a Melbourne bartender

Plus, some free advice for bartenders from one of their own

Photograph: Alana Dimou

It's not hard to be a good customer, or a good bartender. Follow these ten rules from someone who has spend a lot of time being both and you'll never find yourself getting ignored at the bar again.

Fred Siggins is a freelance writer, whisky educator and bartender. His nearly 20 years of hospitality experience includes work as a chef, brand ambassador, bar manager and consultant.

Fred's top ten rules for customers

1. DO say hi and make eye contact
Bartenders are actually humans who are trying to be hospitable. Respect that.

2. DO know what you want and have your money ready.
Or your card. Why not start a tab?

3. DO consider tipping for great service.
Tipping isn’t necessary in Australia, but it’s always appreciated and quite often appropriate.

4. DON’T order another bar’s drinks.
“I had this awesome pink drink at another bar” isn’t a real order.

5. DON’T ask to change the A/C, music or lights.
Chances are they’ve actually thought about the ambiance.

6. DO respect the venue.
To a good bartender, their bar is their house.

7. DO look after your mates.
She’s getting hassled by a sleaze bag, he’s totally wasted and slumped in a corner, and you're too worried about your own good time to help. Don’t be that person.

8. DON’T argue.
If you’re refused service, chances are there’s a good reason for it. Be polite and leave quickly.

9. DO know where you are.
Some places are great to get rowdy; other places demand a little decorum.

10. DO hold your liquor.
And if you can’t, stick to the shandies so the rest of us can have a good time.

Fred's top ten rules for bartenders

1. DO say hi and make eye contact.
Customers are not a chore, they are your wage. It’s called the hospitality industry for a reason.

2. DO save the lecture.
“I just want a beer, mate.” Save the life story of the guy who picked the hops until someone asks.

3. DO watch the ego.
You’re there to help people have a good night, not bask in your own brilliance.

4. DON’T tell me how to drink.
You don’t like that rum? You’d never mix whisky with coke? It’s my money, so please just pour the drink.

5. DO hurry up.
There’s a difference between being busy and being inefficient. Learn how to multitask.

6. DO hang out with your mates later.
It’s nice that your friends can visit you at work, but you’re still at work.

7. DO pay attention.
Little things like topping up water and noticing empty drinks go a long way.

8. DO make conversation.
A skilled bartender makes the difference between feeling like a welcome friend and a lonely drunk.

9. DO maintain the grooming standard.
Your epic beard is Instagram-worthy, but please keep it away from anything I have to drink.

10. DON’T make assumptions.
Most of the girls I know drink whisky. Most of the guys I know drink rosé. It’s not 1950.

Now put your skills into practice

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Comments

1 comments
Chris R
Chris R

DO NOT tip, we don't need to and we don't want to encourage that culture in Australia. Drinks are expensive enough.