Thursday, September 3, 2009
How Much Is...?
It's always a red flag to me when a customer approaches the bar and says something along the lines of, "How much is....?" or "What can I get for...?" even after I put a drink menu down in front of them that lists the prices of all of our drinks. Whenever I hear a customer ask me something like this, I know I am not getting tipped. Especially when I watch them dig in their pocket, pull out a few crumpled bills and then mouth to me "sorry" when there isn't enough for a tip. It's obvious that people like this have never worked in the service industry and therefore don't realize that those of us who do, survive off of our tips.
The type of bar you are in will give you an indication on how much your drinks will cost. Look around your drinking environment. A dive bar is obviously going to have cheaper prices than say a a shee-shee nightclub or a bar in a fine dining restaurant. Also, take a look at the bar's specialty cocktail menu. Expect to pay higher prices for a cocktail that is labor intensive and calls for a lot of fresh ingredients.
People who go out drinking in San Francisco generally have a good idea knowing how much a cocktail or beer will cost them and therefore don't require their bartender to run through the bar's entire inventory and price list. Drinks and spirits are divided into categories: well, call, premium and super premium. If you are a babe on a budget, go for the wells because the wells will be your cheapest bet in any bar. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting to know how much something is, especially if it's something off the back bar (back bar=higher prices) or if it's something you don't normally order. Ask to see a drink menu or ask what the price is on the specific drink you are ordering. Just don't expect your bartender to rattle off all of the prices for everything behind the bar.
For the people who start off the transaction with their bartender, "quizzing" them on prices, stiff their bartender on the tip and then have the nerve to bitch about their drink not having enough alcohol, your best bet is to take your few crumpled bills to the corner store and buy yourself a six-pack.