Bitch and moan: I asked for something X and got something Not-X
Maybe I expect to much of craft bars (or bars that at least pretend). Spying the edgy cocktail menu where nothing quite suited my fancy, I asked for something "bitter and sour". And got a sweet-ish whiskey sour with no egg white. Second drink I ordered "Campari, gin and lots of lime" and got ... something bitter and sour.
At least a a crappy bar, I can figure that out and order a beer.
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Generally if I ask the bartender to pick something and give them a direction and I don't like it they just replace it and I go with a set drink that I know they will make properly and dont do that again
I generally only attempt that at a few places where they are known for craft cocktails
Did they guy not offer to make you a different drink when it wasnt done well?
Well, now you know not to trust that bar (or at least, that bartender). Process of elimination. I've narrowed it down to a couple of bars in my town where I can reliably leave myself in the bartender's hands and get something good; the rest I now know to be specific about what I want (or just order something on the rocks/neat). I ordered a Sazerac at a local restaurant with a supposedly decent bar, and got a neat glass of Sazerac rye. When I clarified that I meant the cocktail (should I really have to clarify?), I got a "huh, never heard of that. What's in it?" I kept the neat rye.
For what it's worth: if you find yourself in the Denver area, you can trust the bartenders at Colt & Grey in Denver and The Bitter Bar in Boulder. Very unlikely to steer you wrong.