Dear "know-it-all" bartender, you're wrong

An open letter to the bartender who “served” me last night.

Dear Bartender, ( I use this term loosely),

I would like to draw your attention to the incident last night when polite company and manners prevented me from dressing you down publicly as would have befitted the occasion.

When I ordered a Mojito from you, I had a basic level of expectation as to what I was going to get. After all a Mojito is not a vague guideline, but a specific recipe.

I was not expecting a tall hurricane glass with three large ice cubes floating around the top, a withered piece of mint drowning in a solution of 90% cane rum, topped up with a splash of still water…

However, everyone can make a mistake and it’s not about the mistake, but how you handle it that will cement my impression of you. Alas, this opportunity was wasted on you when I asked for a replacement.

Telling me that you have done this for years and know how to make a Mojito did nothing to improve the flavor of the poor excuse for a cocktail I was trying to return to you and will certainly not endear yourself to me. Asking two other customers at the bar if their Mojitos were the yummiest they had ever tasted in a clear attempt at embarrassing me in front of my friends and your customers for returning your “masterpiece” makes you look foolish and even more incompetent.

While wisdom normally comes with age, clearly the years that have contributed to your greying hair were years spent avoiding education and skill. Here’s hoping the years between grey hair and white hair will be more educational.

Unfortunately I won’t be back to sample your skills whatever your hair color, because you had your chance and blew it. Big time.


4 customers who are going elsewhere tomorrow


8 thoughts on “Dear "know-it-all" bartender, you're wrong

  1. Good posting, Barry! I had a similar bad experience in a restaurant where I pointed out the shortcomings of the food. I got the response, “Well, no one else has ever complained before.”

    What! Just because your usual undiscerning customers are happy to trough your mediocre food without complaint doesn’t mean it’s good. Bah!

    I’m glad I’ve “met” you, Barry. Although I’m a little bit concerned as I’m not sure that my soap box is big enough for two. LOL! I guess that’s OK as you seem to have a big enough soap box of your own.

  2. The worst service in the world isn’t the service that is untrained; it is the egotistically uncaring service that you wrote about that turns guests away forever.
    Restaurateurs should understand & teach that everyone makes mistakes and that the measure of a restaurant’s health can be decided in how they execute their service recovery when something goes wrong.
    Teach your staff how to apologize!!!

  3. Right on!!! This post certainly hits home to me and I’m sure there are many others with similar experiences! I wouldn’t get away with behavior like that in my job…I think this bartender needs a reality check!

  4. Part of me wonders if the bartender to whom that letter was written was really the owner? In my years of experience 😉 on both sides of the bar, bartenders will take the drink back, dump it, and ask how the customer would like their drink created. The owners of the establishments tend to take the return personally and are far more standoffish and offended

    • I agree with your point but in this case, it was definitely an employee. Learning how to apologize is definitely key in any business! Mistakes happen! Get over it and get on with selling more!

  5. Barry,

    It’s a major attitude problem here.I am surprised he is still serving drinks! The right course of action would have been to ask for his supervisor & let him/her know such arrogance of their employees.

  6. Great post!! Isn’t it a shame that customer service seems to have gone by the wayside? Rather than the bartender presenting a customer with “attitude” a simple, “I’m sorry, let me fix you another drink” would have made a world of difference. Management needs to take a bit of the responsibility for this situation as well as they should be shopping their staff frequently to ensure proper customer service.

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