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Have you ever had this happen to you? [moved from New Jersey board]

A number of years ago, I stopped in a place where I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner. Since I was early, I sat at the bar and ordered a Martini. I was the only customer at the bar. The bartender made the drink in front of me and poured the drink into a classic Martini glass. There was probably an ounce or two left in the shaker. He then proceeded to pour the remainder down the sink. I was somewhat shocked and asked him why he did that and he told me that there was plenty more where that came from and that if I wanted another drink, I should order it.

Well, when my friend came, I suggested that we should go to a different restaurant. He agreed and when we left I called the bartender over and threw a penny on the bar. When he asked me what that was for I told him it was to keep company with the drink he threw down the drain.

Has this ever happened to you? I don't expect bartenders to give away their owners business but if they make a mistake is it acceptable to throw it away rather than give it to a customer? WTF was he thinking, that I'd order another drink and he'd get twice the tip?

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  1. Ouch. Hopefully you'll never darken their doors again.

    1. If I got a full pour, I would have no complaint. Anything else is none of my beeswax.

      1. I've seen this just about everytime I've ordered a martini and there is some leftover. I would say perhaps 25% of the time the bartender might leave the excess, but 75% they pour, fill the glass, dump balance down the drain.

        This is the standard practice at the majority of bars I have visited world wide. You are paying for a drink, assuming its not a short pour and they are throwing excess down the drain, I have no idea how you justified your action.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jrvedivici

          The best solution I've seen for this was in a restaurant (now closed, alas) in Eastport, Maine. I ordered a martini and they brought it out in a standard glass, accompanied by the "leftover" portion in a stemless martini glass set in a dish of crushed ice to keep it cold while I drank the first part.

          1. re: jrvedivici

            It is simply morally wrong to throw perfectly good booze down the drain. Brings a tear to my eye when I see a bartender do that. Sorta reminds me of when I wouldn't want to finish my dinner and Mom stated talkin' about those kids starvin' in Africa.

          2. Were you wanting him to charge you for the remainder when you ordered another round? I'd rather have a fresh drink. If not, I'm confused how he threw business away.

            As mwhitmore said, as long as you got a full drink, it's not really of your concern what happens with the rest. You received what you paid for and the remainder belongs to the bar to do as they see fit. The customer isn't entitled to the bartender's error. Sure, it would have been nice if he topped you off after you'd had a sip or two, but to penalize the bartender and restaurant for something that is likely policy seems a bit harsh to me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pollymerase

              To me, that penny is like giving the middle finger and is just beyond harsh.

            2. If the bartender poured you a full drink, what is the issue? You got what you paid for.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bkeats

                The only time I don't see the extra discarded is when a place uses the small individual shakers and pours your drink at the table and leave you the shaker to top you off later. Either way seems acceptable. A full pour is a full pour.