The Bar Commandments

Originally published from “Cocktail Folktales” in The Key West Citizen

1–THOU SHALL DO THY BEST TO NOT PISS OFF SOMEONE HANDLING THY FOOD OR DRINK!  Pretty basic concept that eludes far too many people.

2–ABSOLUTELY NO WHISTLING, NO ARM FLAILING AND NO FINGER SNAPPING TO GAIN A BARTENDER OR SERVER’S ATTENTION!  You are ordering a cocktail, not calling a dog.  Picture Marlon Brando explaining the concept of “respect” and assume that your waiter is packing.  You want to get a drink?  A simple smile with money in hand and a respectful “Excuse me” works best.  If you are still not getting served, you are probably breaking Commandment Three.

3–FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LEAVE AN APPROPRIATE TIP!  Yes you!  The one in the ugly tropical print shirt.  We remember how you painstakingly scraped your quarter off of the bar and stiffed us.  Tip a whole dollar for a drink.  Tip twenty percent of your entire bill.  (Move the decimal over one to the left and double it.  $20.00 becomes a $4.00 tip.)  We work for tips, not shits and giggles.

4–DO NOT SKIP THE TIP AND SAY, “I’LL TAKE CARE OF YOU LATER.”  Yeah, we’ve never heard that one before.  Sure, and “The check is in the mail,”  “It’s not you, it’s me.” and “You had me at ‘Hello.’”  If you are going to be a cheap bastard, at the very least, be creative.

5–KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO ORDER BEFORE HOLDING A STAFF MEMBER HOSTAGE.  As much as we enjoy listening to you hemming and hawing and using that common bar lingo term “Uhhhmmm,” time is still of essence.

6–DO NOT COME UN-GLUED IF THE BAR DOES NOT HAVE WHAT YOU WANT!  I promise you, the world will not end if you cannot sip on your B&B and the mountains won‘t crumble if the kitchen runs out of alfredo.  And no self-respecting bar carries Busch, so stop ordering it!

7–ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO DRINK.  Ask for a suggestion on a rum drink, or a dark beer, or some other category.  Asking “What do you suggest” is too broad.   I suggest a Budweiser, or better yet, for the guy who keeps every bit of his change, a nice, frosty Bailey’s and Grapefruit juice.

8–USE PRUDENCE IN ALL YOUR ROMANTIC ENDEAVORS!  If “Let’s Get it On” is playing inside your head, remember that Marvin was referring to things that happen behind closed doors.  Oh, I hope you get some…..just not at my bar–not even in the bathroom.  And, as my friend Cameron noted, the pool table is reserved for employees only.    Furthermore, when romantic urges persist, make sure the apple of your eye isn’t someone else’s pumpkin.  If you must send drinks to another man’s wife, make sure you outweigh him by at least thirty pounds.

9-THOU SHALL COME TO THE BAR WITH THE INTENTION OF SPENDING MONEY!  Lest you not forget, a bar is a business, and businesses being capitalist enterprises, are trying to make money.  Remember that you came to the bar by choice so don’t bitch about the prices.  Budget your bar finances to allow for whatever you consume plus gratuity and if you are broke, stay home!

10-YOU WILL ENTER THE BAR WITH THE INTENTION OF HAVING A GOOD TIME!  Isn’t that the whole point?!  Whether you just got out of work or you are on vacation here in Key West or your wife just left you because you are a total loser, you came out to release stress, relax and above all, to enjoy yourself.  Even if your life is in the toilet, the bar is your sacred temple to get away from it all and have a good time.


One response to “The Bar Commandments

  1. Robin Bell

    You totally forgot about
    We are busy!! You are in a bar, you KNOW that drinks cost money! Please don’t look totally surprised when we ask you for it.
    Please don’t make us wait while you dig through a purse as deep as the grand canyon. If you are “hinting” for the guy in the next seat to pay for your drinks, ask us ahead of time, we can tell you if you are wasting your time before you waste ours.

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