11 Confessions of a Glasgow Bartender
Working in bars and nightclubs you see some pretty insane behaviour, the best and worst of humanity multiplied by alcohol results in some spectacular sights. Both hypnotising and horrific but always baffling, from your first shift behind a bar to your last shift you will witness actions from human beings that you never assumed possible.
Here are a few confessions from an ex Glaswegian bartender.
1. Clicking Your Fingers
Never click your fingers at bar staff, especially if you wish your fingers to remain attached to the rest of your hand. You will also most likely be berated and shamed by the bartender in front of whoever you have been trying to impress with your arrogance.
2. Don’t Take The P***
Most bar staff in Glasgow are pretty laid-back, you kind of have to be thanks to the industry you’re in. If you’re uptight or can’t deal with stressful situations, guaranteed that working behind a bar will not be for you, however one way to turn friendly bar staff into a rage of fire and anger, is attempt to take the piss out of him in front of your friends or to impress a member of the opposite sex. You will find yourself failing to get served the rest of the evening. There’s no point in going to another employee either, when one hates, we all hate. You’ll also be most likely have your arse handed to you, following the bartender slicing you in two with the sharpest one liner you’ve ever heard.
Believe it or not, bar staff actually want you to enjoy your night, tips are better, cheerier atmosphere, less chance of violence and our night usually flies in. It might seem shocking but the majority of bar staff enjoy working behind a bar, its like going out for a night out with your friends, except you get paid for it.
4. In Emergency Break Glass
Glass is a necessary evil in the bar trade. Although people might moan about plastic tumblers, it cuts the risk of serious injury by about eight million percent. One thing’s for sure, glass and stairs do not mix. At one particular bar in Glasgow, a slightly inebriated customer had been asked to move away from the stairs on several occasions but always moved back to the exact same position. Unfortunately due to a combination of dimmed lights, loud music and alcohol, he hadn’t noticed a discarded glass on the stairs, promptly slipped on the stairs, attempting an energetic dance move and fell directly on the tumbler. Shredding a main artery in his arm, the customer was rushed to hospital and nearly died. One member of staff was covered in blood and another member of staff spent the rest of the night dry-retching, whilst cleaning blood from a previously white wall. A horrific accident.
5. Ice Ice Baby
At the weekend, quite simply, ice or no ice, don’t be one of those customers who ask for a specific number of ice cubes, there are literally 50 people waiting to get served behind you, they don’t care about your ice habits. With ice in your glass you are not losing alcohol, you are not being conned. Having plenty of ice in your glass actually slows down the melting process by lowering the overall temperature of the glass. N.B. Please don’t leave your discarded ice on the bar top or chuck it on the floor, it makes quite the mess and becomes a slip hazard.
6. Return to Sender
You’ll be shocked to realise that bars don’t have an endless supply of glasswear, and most of the time only one glass wash to each bar, this means that the amount of tumblers being washed is limited. also if you are complaining about the amount of time you need to wait for a glass at the bar and have hoarded 30 on your table, you are part of the problem, if three tables each forget to bring their glasses or the glass collector misses them that’s 100+ glasses that could be getting reused. It’s not mandatory but it is mannerly. It will also get you and everybody else served quicker.
7. Toilet Habits
Its hard to explain this one, but whilst working in a bar on Sauchiehall Street, a member of staff checked the toilets during their shift as per usual. Typically this is done to make sure no one had passed out, flooded the toilets, is consuming drugs or generally acting like a dick. But the sight that awaited was as equally bizarre as it was revolting. Checking each cubicle in the women’s toilet they uncovered the haunting sight of a pair of abandoned women’s pants and what can only be described as projectile, explosive diarrhoea around the floor, on the cubicle walls but very little, if any, actually in the toilet, words fail you in these moments.
8. Mo Money, Mo Problems
Hand the person, kind enough to serve you alcohol, the money directly into their hand, don’t ask them to count it out for you, they are not ice cream van drivers, and never, ever, evvvver put the money on the bar top expecting the member of staff to pick it up like a second class citizen. You will immediately become almost invisible to that member of staff for the rest of the evening.
9. Secure in Your Insecurities
If a member of staff is chatting to your other half, it does not immediately mean they are trying to sleep with them. Granted sometimes they are, but the majority of the time it’s simply harmless banter designed to increase the likelihood of tips. If you notice (all good barstaff) are flirtatious with every human being that walks into the bar, whether they are 19 or 90. One thing that will have your other half running into the arms of the bar staff? Insecurity and aggression. Cut it out, you’re in their castle as a guest they can end your night with a simple nod toward the bouncer. Leaving your other half pissed off in a bar, alone, with plenty of eligible suitors.
The old adage goes, smile and the whole world smiles with you. One of the quickest ways to get served? Look as if you are actually enjoying yourself, and embrace other people at the bar, initiate conversation, life is short, smile a little and the bar staff will smile with you (and most likely serve you quickly).
11. To Pee or Not To Pee
Again this is hard to fathom, but one particular shift, a relatively good looking woman, not terribly drunk, squatted in the corner of the main bar and proceeded to piss on the floor, literally oceans of piss, following this she casually approached the bar and attempted to get served, only to be outraged when we refused her service, to the point where she was nearly requesting to make a complaint to management.
Alcohol and nightclubs=insanity