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Jun 24, 2012 10:33 PM

Bartending Etiquette Question [moved from Boston board]

There's this bar that I really like. Lately they have started a new drink service strategy that I find really strange and annoying, and I'm wondering if I'm justified in finding it odd. Instead of bring drinks to the table en masse, they bring them one by one, sometimes resulting in the first person recieving their drink 20 minutes before the last person does. They do this whether you are there as a couple, or with a group, and it doesnt seem to matter how busy the bar is or isnt.
I guess I just dont get why they think that this is OK, when I go out for drinks with folks I want to drink WITH them, not wait around awkwardly watching the ice melt in my rather expensive cocktail so we can all toast together. And the amount of time between drinks makes it clear that they are not making our table's orders together. The last time I went there there were 4 of us, and the last person to recieve their drink (a good 20 minutes after the first) had ordered a beer. I dont want to name the bar that is doing this , as they are/were one of my favorites, but it's becoming a big turnoff. Has anyone else experienced this anywhere, and is this a normal way to deliver drinks?

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  1. I'm not in Boston, but no, I do not find that to be acceptable at all, and as someone who payed my way through college as a bartender Im pretty forgiving when it comes to bar service because I know how it can be. As a matter of fact, I dont find waiting 20 minutes for a drink acceptable at all, whether it is one persons or the entire table's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: twyst

      Me, too, neither -- I could understand a couple of shifts so the server could carry them all, but 20 minutes from first to last is beyond the pale. (having a Guinness arrive late, for example, is completely acceptable, as it is time-consuming)

      if a restaurant did that with meal service, they'd never survive the first week.

    2. This isn't how service should be given either at a bar or at the restaurant. I would ask the manager the next time why this "New" way of serving drinks was implemented. Are the people delivering the drinks giving separate checks for each drink (a ploy sometimes used to get more tips)? Is it that there are new servers that can not carry more than one drink at a time? As a customer I would start complaining to the management and if they get enough complaints they will change their way of drink delivery.

      1. When you order simply tell the waiter you are not the right customer for their new drink service system. You would like all your drinks prepared (you also don't want them sitting waiting at the bar) and served together. I might call the owner or manager before my next visit to ask about the system. It could be a bar tender or waiter's idea, not the restaurant's.


        1 Reply
        1. re: BostonZest

          +1 on this. such a strategy seems a colossal waste of time and nothing but an annoyance to guests.

          definitely call or speak to the manager/owner enxt time you go in, "before" even sitting down and ordering anything.

          being in the business forever and a day, i too am pretty forgiving of service gaffes, but if i were subject to this i would go out of my mind.

        2. Thanks for the suggestions, and for affirming that this IS rather strange. And it's definatley not a delivery issue, the individual drinks are usually brought by different "runners" one at a time, and the check is always for the whole table. This bar makes pretty complicated cocktails, so when they get slammed it can take awhile to receive your drink, but it still doesnt explain why they arent filling orders table by table.

          2 Replies
          1. re: nachovegas

            I think you ought to name this bar, so we can also explain that we prefer all drinks served together, to help in the cause... :)

            1. re: nachovegas

              The bar that served the most complex cocktails I've ever seen, also had phenomenal service to go with.

              The Aviary, in Chicago, makes crazy/complicated drinks...or so it appears to me...but the place is designed to do so in a very timely manner. I cannot conceive that they would ever do anything other than serve the entire table simultaneously....first round, mind you.

              What I read here is a failure of management and design of the workflow.

              Just my opinion.

            2. My thought on this is always that the thing to do is speak with a senior manager. This is a situation that is hard to think could be what management intended, and the sooner they get feedback the sooner they can evaluate what they're doing. No intelligent owner/manager should dismiss a legitimate issue from a customer. It sounds like something someone thought would be a good idea for some reason.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Midlife

                that person must be smoking crack. who wants 4-6 different runners bringing one thing at a time to the table? talk about intrusive.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  not to mention that it's a sure way to ensure that it's awkward for the clients -- if you get your drink first, you tend to wait until everyone else has theirs....which means that at least half of the table has watery, lukewarm drinks before the last drink is finally delivered....or you're dealing with the awkwardness of drinking when others have nowt to drink.

                  Effed up logic no matter what.