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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When I ask for something off menu or bartenders choice, I ask them to tell me what's in it before they make it.
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.
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?