How to Handle an Issue with a Bartender

How to Handle an Issue with a Bartender

If you’re taking the time to read this we’re going to assume you’re an above average customer to begin with. We’re also going to assume that you are a polite individual looking to resolve a conflict in a way that satisfies both parties. If these things are true, read on for some tips on addressing an issue with bar staff.

handle issue bartender


Is it Worth It?

First, evaluate the situation and decide if it’s worth your time to even attempt a resolution. Is this your local watering hole, or just a tourist trap you stopped in momentarily? If the former is the case, then I would try to amend the issue. If it’s the latter, let it go.

Obviously, if something egregious has occurred, seek management.

Boss vs. Servant

Do not resort to a boss vs. servant attitude. Speak to the bartender like a human being who is your equal (because they are).

It sounds cliché, but you have no idea what they are going through. And unless your job also requires you to have a fake smile plastered on your face as you cater to the whims of hundreds of people, you cannot possibly imagine their state of mind.

Show some Respect

Use phrases that show respect, not defensiveness. Instead of saying “why are you being so rude?” try “tell me what I did to upset you”. Of course, if the bartender is just being an ass, feel free to walk away.

All About the Money

If it’s about money, be delicate. If you’ve been overcharged, address it with the bartender directly before going to management. Chances are it was a genuine mistake and can be easily rectified.

If you simply didn’t like the service you received, either speak to the bartender or let it go. Unless there was name-calling, genuine abuse, or some other heinous act, there’s no point in being the ‘speak to a manager’ customer. Most times, the manager is just yes-ing you until you go away. The other times, you’re bringing a world of trouble onto the bartender’s head that I promise you is disproportionate to the offense.

Address Things Right Away

If something is wrong with your order, TELL US RIGHT AWAY. There’s simply nothing worse than having a customer complain after they’ve finished their food or drink. We are professionals and we want you to have a good experience and come back to see us! So, please give us the chance to make it right.

Got anything to add? Let us know below.


Want to connect with people at your bar in a whole new way? Download the BOTY on iTunes or Google Play for free!

Leave a comment