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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.

              2. For myself, a drink in a bar is to be sipped and savored. So why would I want a watered down chaser? For that matter, neither would I go through the dumpster to find the trimmings from my veggies, or the fat and gristle from my meat.

                1. It wasn't a milkshake. You don't get the shaker with your martini.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: wyogal

                    Sometimes you do, but it's not universal and shouldn't have been penalized in such a nasty manner.
                    You really need those 2 watered down swigs of booze?

                    OP, was the bartender nasty to you in an unprovoked fashion? I'm just trying to understand your extreme reaction to something that's rather innocuous.

                    1. re: wyogal

                      If that was a milkshake or malted I'd really be upset!!!!!!

                      1. re: Motosport

                        I don't know how I'd feel about the martini, but the extra in the can should be served to the customer. I remember that from my childhood--seeing the server pour the milkshake into the glass and then pour the other half down the drain. Sad. Just sad.

                        1. re: Kate is always hungry

                          There's a big difference between liquor and a milkshake...over consumption on a milkshake and the customer just consumes more calories....over consumption with liquor, and nothing good can come from it for the house.

                          One reason why the house may not allow the extra to left in front of the customer....is they do not want to allow the possibility or opportunity to exist for a dishonest bartender to give away extra booze for the sake of a better tip ...to a stranger, or especially to friends or regular patrons.

                          1. re: fourunder

                            There is even a better reason for the house to REQUIRE the bartender to discard the overmix:

                            Dram Shop liability laws (and NJ has some of the toughest). You serve the patron 3 drinks in a hour, he leaves and has a car accident and you the owner and the bartender are sued.

                            Was serving three drinks in an hour to a patron who didn't seem inebriated reasonable? A question for the trier of fact.

                            Was serving three drinks in an hour to a patron PLUS 3oz of overmix, equalling a fourth drink reasonable? NOT LIKELY.

                            To huge a liability. Measured amounts are not just to control costs, but also consumpotion and liability.

                            and yes I am an attorney, but NO I don't practice personal liability/injury law. But I do handle business law and contracts and have helped businesses set guidleines/rules to avoid increased liability. That freebie overmix can cause problems that are far costlier than the value of the goodwill it could bring from the recipient.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              ...there isn't a person on these boards who doesn't know you are an attorney.

                              Yes you are correct....but I comparing a martini to a milkshake....and ...over consumption with liquor, and nothing good can come from it for the house....implies what you have stated....and I'm not an attorney.

                    2. The OP asks "if they make a mistake is it acceptable to throw it away, rather than give it to a customer".

                      Answer depends on what policy the bartender's employer has about such a matter. Maybe yes, maybe no.

                      1. What they poured down the sink was probably mostly just ice and water left over from chilling the alcohol. The bartender was probably just trying to keep the drink amounts consistent - in other words if they serve their martinis 3/4 of the glass full, then that's what everyone gets. Otherwise, if they give people their accidental over pours, guests would start complaining when they don't get over pours all the time.

                        1. At a small place I frequent, the bartenders always pour the excess in a separate glass and serve it along with the drink.

                          1. You mean has anyone ever been so downright disrespectful and rude to me when I served them a drink? No. " WTF was he thinking"... WTF were you thinking?

                            1. You paid for a martini in a martini glass. That's what you got. Why do you feel entitled to everything that was made in the creation of your drink? How all it should matter, he could have made a entire ice bucket's worth with a 2 full bottles of gin and vodka, poured your glass, then threw out, or drink himself, the remaining gallon.
                              That does not mean that all that was made should have been meant for you. Spill is the bar/restaurants problem, not your entitlement.
                              If the kitchen made more a full plate of fries in error instead of only half a plate of fries for your burger, should be served ALL of those plates just because you ordered fries and they made them for you?

                              1. Have to agree with those who say as long as you got your full drink, what's it to you what the bartender does with the rest.

                                1. I always order my martini with the "dirty" ice on the side. Doesn't seem to me that it's that watered down.
                                  I always Enjoy,

                                  1. I'm inclined to agree with you Tom.* An empty bar, too much drink in the shaker - the bartender should suggest that you take a big swallow and then replace that with the overpour. It's not a question of getting what you pay for, it's a question of waste not want not.

                                    Pouring perfectly good booze down the drain is like:

                                    hitting a girl
                                    throwing a bong
                                    well done meat
                                    light beer
                                    wearing sweat pants to a funeral

                                    some things are inherently wrong.

                                    *Although, I may not have been inclined to have done the penny thing. The act of departure seems symbolic enough. It was kinda funny though.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      Once again we have conclusions being drawn that penalize a server for what may be an owner's policy. The bartender may not be free to 'share', yet he's being stiffed

                                      1. re: Midlife

                                        The assumption that it was the policy of the bar to throw away an overpour would seem more sound if the bartender's answer to Tom's inquiry had been, "I know it's a travesty, a sin against all things holy, but it is a policy of the owner's to discard any overpours. I'm sorry."

                                        I've spent more time in more bars - from dives to Oak Rooms - than the average group of six adults combined. I've never met a bartender, especially in an empty bar, who would take the blame for a bad policy that s/he must follow.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          The patron might order a second drink if the overpour is not given for free, therefore it should not be given for free.

                                          1. re: kpaxonite

                                            Apparently, the exact opposite result was achieved.

                                          2. re: MGZ

                                            OK, then I take it back. The bartender was a jerk. ;o)

                                      2. Gotta go against you on this. You ordered a drink and got what you ordered............... i assume it was a full martini glass and, had you not seen the excess poured out, you wouldn't have thought you'd been shorted.

                                        IMHO the restaurant policy should be to give you the extra, or the bartender should do it just as a courtesy (and maybe for a bigger tip)................ but NOT giving it to you?......... I don't see how that should be any concern of yours. Maybe the bartender felt he'd get in trouble for over-pouring if he gave you the extra and his boss found out? To me that makes more sense than you taking offense.

                                        1. You got what you paid for so what is your problem?

                                          1. Have I ever seen a bartender waste the house's booze? Yes.

                                            Have I ever thrown a hissy fit because a bartender wouldn't top off my drink? No.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                              actually, in this case, it sounds like the drink WAS topped off.
                                              STILL the OP threw a hissy fit.

                                              even more mystifying is that the OP wanted special treatment in a restaurant in which s/he wasn't even a regular. . . .

                                            2. WTF was he thinking, that I'd order another drink and he'd get twice the tip?


                                              You mean 2 cents?

                                              : 0 )

                                              1. Could you elaborate on what actually 'shocked' you?

                                                1. Would I have reacted the way you did? No. Would he be a bartender I would look forward to visiting again? No again. Receiving the excess isn't a requirement, and like others have stated, you did get what you paid for, which is really all you're owed, but at the same time, wasting booze like that does not make a good bartender for me, or make me what to return to that bar, regardless of whether it may be the bar's policy or not to dump the excess.

                                                  I probably would've left a standard 20% tip and vowed not to return anytime soon.

                                                  27 Replies
                                                  1. re: SaraAshley

                                                    Interesting that the house liability issues, explained above, don't sway you and others on this. Deciding when a patron has had too much is often VERY difficult. No way to know if liability exposure is behind the OP's experience, but I'd cut the bartender some slack on that possibility.

                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                      Under the details and specifics provided by the OP, in NJ (where I believe the OP resides), the dram shop laws really do not come into play, as the OP was not a minor and was not visibly intoxicated...the only two circumstances in which the dram shop laws would apply under the Negligent Concept.. The statute was rewritten and liability was limited due to excessive awards decades ago in the late 80s, as the the legislature codified liquor law liability in a statute title “New Jersey’s Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Servers Fair Liability Act” (Act). Also, any drunken patron also has to assume a certain percentage of responsibility for his own actions

                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                        What fourunder said. I don't live in NJ, but where I do live (the suburbs of DC) I've never heard of liability for drinking placed on the bar. Apparently where I live, bartenders over serve all the time, given the amount of people I know with DUI's. the only time I ever see somebody in a bar getting cut off for drinking is when they are acting a fool or their head is on the bar. So from a personal experience stand point, I very highly doubt it had anything to do with laws. The bartender told OP he/she could order another one, he just chose not to give OP the excess of the first drink.

                                                        I frequent the same bars myself, and as a result, am friendly with most of the bartenders who serve me. Just the other night I ordered a rum and diet from a bar known to make their drinks strong, and they are huge to boot! I was in a mood that night and got half way done with my drink and decided that the amount of rum in my drink just wasn't enough. I decided to ask the bartender to top it off knowing that she would. What I didn't expect for her was to give me a double shot of rum to add myself, and I didn't get charged for it. That's my kind of bartender and one I like to return to!

                                                        1. re: SaraAshley

                                                          in most states (all?) the serving establishment, and the server/bartender, can be held liable if somebody gets into a wreck or causes injury or property damage to another.

                                                          some places can be more lax than others, especially in urban areas where many patrons use public transport or walk.

                                                          just because you "haven't heard of it" and frequent places where overserving is the norm doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            Fair enough - are their any well known cases of this being successfully prosecuted?

                                                            1. re: SaraAshley


                                                              however, most often these cases are settled without going to trial. insurers know a jury verdict can mean a huge pay-out and try to avoid that as much as possible.

                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                If I can recall correctly, the NFL, Giants and the State of NJ were not liable...only the Car Insurance Carrier and Aramark Foods Company. The original award was tossed and settlements were reached

                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                  there is a case pending here in mass where foxboro stadium and patriots' owner robert kraft are being sued over kids who died in a dui after tailgating at the stadium.

                                                                  it's not uncommon to cast a wide net with the true intent of catching a specific fish.

                                                                  as i said, most often these cases settle out of court.



                                                              2. re: SaraAshley

                                                                Many years ago in Honolulu, Pizza Hut served pitchers of beer. In one case almost all the beer at one table was consumed by one individual, who subsequently left the bar and wrapped his car -at high speed- around a conveniently placed telephone pole. The heirs, knowing what deep pockets are for, got quite a substantial settlement. Two days after the accident, long before the lawsuits were even filed let alone finished, Pizza Hut stopped selling pitchers of beer.

                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                  years ago a friend of our family went bar-hopping. she wound up going in the wrong direction on the garden state parkway and having a head-on collision. she lived but the medical bills were astronomical.

                                                                  her family sued the last bar that served her -- having found a logo'ed matchbook in her purse and then receipts that matched up to the timeline. they won.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    Many years ago, over 3 decades, I worked for a National Chain restaurant. I had negotiated a deal for my friends from the Country Club I was affiliated with with the National chain restaurant. In short, it was Free Golf, food and drinks.....in exchange for Free Food and Drinks at the Chain.

                                                                    One night, a friend, who was not actually part of the deal had drinks between 9-10PM with those who were, and he had 3 draft beers verified by a comp ticket.....he left and later returned @ closing time , tried to order some more drinks, but since we were closed, we could not serve him. He was clearly very intoxicated at this time. I tried to arrange a cab for him to take him home, but another friend said he was driving, so he would take care of him. They left.

                                                                    I woke up the next morning only to find out the other friend allowed him to get in the car on his own and the intoxicated friend ended up rear ending another car. He got out of the car, crossed the highway and was subsequently run over by two other vehicles. A Good Samaritan stopped to help the car that was rear ended. When he got out of the car, he was subsequently hit by two off-duty Policemen returning home from a late night breakfast. Naturally I was Shocked and remorseful for the the terrible events that transpired...but, I did what I was supposed to do under the circumstances before me from the previous evening.. The friend was a super guy, but he had his demons.

                                                                    The estate of my friend sued everyone, but not me ....however I was deposed for what I knew for the lawsuit. Ultimately, the estate got a very small settlement since it was determined he had contributed to his own fatality....and not from the Chain restaurant though. From the policies of the two cars who hit him. The Good Samaritan got a small settlement from the Insurance carrier and estate. He also received a settlement from the police department that hit him.

                                                                    Lawsuits may be filed, but it's not a given just because a restaurant is involved, the lawsuit will have merit and ultimately win a judgement, or receive settlement. ....and for the record, my friend who caused this whole scenario was worth millions and had the top rated law firm in the state handling the case for his wife and his estate....so representation was not the problem for the estate not receiving a judgment, which had a trial by jury. It was lost because the restaurant was not responsible in the eyes of the jury.

                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                      The moral to the story you post is your FIRST LINE: "Many years ago, over 3 decades..."

                                                                      Laws have changed in many jurisdictions. What a jury found not to be the negligence/responsibility/liability of a defendent back then----under the law as charged by the judge, may be quite different than what a current jury, looking at the same facts, might find when charged by the judge under current laws....................

                                                                      Things have tightened up quite a bit. I remember when DWI/DUI requied a blood alcohol level in excess of 1.2 or 1.0 in most jurisdictions. Now .8 or lower are common standards for arrest and conviction.

                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                        in New Jersey, the statutes may have changed with lower levels and limits for conviction for DUI....but it's actually harder to prove The restaurant or servers are at fault today....than 30 years ago. Also, except for cases where medical treatment are necessary for life...the judgements have also been curtailed, as not to award tremendous amounts. Even in the case noted by hotoynoodle, the original reward of 105 million was thrown out and a settlement was reached for 25 million....23.5 to the little girl and 1.5 million to her parents.

                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                          Along these lines there was a very interesting article in the Asbury Park Press recently (within the last two weeks) where a driver got into an accident, I believe a one car accident, left his severely injured girlfriend in the car and left the scene.

                                                                          He was found not too long there after at a local bar to where the accident took place, some of the other patrons called the police because of his appearance and odd behavior. Once the police arrived they questioned him and he admitted to being the driver of the car involved in the accident, however they can't charge him with DUI since he legally consumed alcohol AFTER the accident took place, they won't be able to tell what his alcohol/blood level was at the time of the accident.

                                                                          Was the guy brilliant or lucky?

                                                                          He was being charged with leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report the accident. I would like to know if the girlfriend stays with him.

                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                            See.....where I live, he still would've been charged and most likely convicted, as well. I've seen it happen for less.

                                                                            My younger brother was charged with a DUI a couple years ago. His case was pretty straight forward, but it kept getting continued. As a result, I sat with him in court many times and listened to many different cases. One in particular stuck out to me. In this case, it was a guy who was being charged with a DUI and he was pleading not guilty. How this whole thing started was that he had returned home from (somewhere, presumably drinking) to his mother's home where he lived. Him and her got into an argument (nothing violent, just an argument) but she wanted him to leave the house, so she decided to call the police. The police show up, inform her that they cannot make him leave the house, he lives there, legally, notice has to be given, etc, but then notice that he has been drinking. They decide, right there in the kitchen of the home, to perform a sobriety test. He fails and also fails a breathalyzer. He admits that he had driven and had been drinking prior to driving home, but also states that he had started drinking more when he returned home. The cops arrest him for a DUI. His mother testified in court that he had been drinking beer when he returned home. Logic would tell you that there was no way to determine how drunk he was before he returned home, and you would think that the case would be dismissed. Nope.....the judge convicted him. I was shocked.

                                                                            I also have a case of a friend of mine who had pulled over into a parking lot close by to his house to change a flat tire. His car was off, his keys were on his belt loop, he was not in the driver's seat at the time. The cop shows up to see what is going on and determines that he has been drinking. My friend won't admit to driving the car that night, but is arrested anyway, even though technically the cop has no way of proving he was driving, since he didn't physically see him. My friend was also convicted.

                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                              Similar thing happened to my friend while driving in PA. Driving home after the semester was over, rear ended on the highway and driven off road and up an embankment. The guy who hit her had been drinking prior to the accident. He then returned to the bar after the accident and continued to drink. Couldn't charge with DUI because they couldn't determine his BAC during the accident. Thankfully my friend wasn't seriously hurt and her family had insurance.

                                                                              In my experience (8 years in MD, 10+ in NJ, and 5 in MA), bars in Baltimore were less likely to cut people off. And the people I knew from MD were less concerned about DUIs. While the bars in NJ and MA are more likely to cut people off. And people are more concerned about DUIs.

                                                                    2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                      Well, I stand corrected then by both yourself and hotoynoodle. I still think a lot of it is bs and more emphasis should be placed on personal responsibility. I'm responsible for myself when I go out and drink. I don't need anyone else telling me when I've had enough, and with this, I know when I've had too much and when I can't drive. I would never place the responsibility of this on the bar I was drinking at.

                                                                      1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                        our friend crashed her car when i was still quite young but it was a story that stuck with me and as an adult, i spent many years tending bar and waiting tables.

                                                                        i don't disagree with your feelings about personal responsibility and have a very hard time with the whole nanny state world in which we now live. however, lots of people make stupid choices when they imbibe and there is no way for an establishment to know in advance if you're a good risk or a bad one. erring on the safe side should not be perceived as a bad business model.

                                                                        if everybody was as self-aware as you claim to be there would be zero dui's.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          And I don't disagree with you that erring on the safe side is a bad business model. I think its a very noble cause for a bar to care more about the well being of the people they are serving, as well as any innocent bystanders that person may come into contact with on theur drunken ride home more than profit. I do disagree that it had anything to do with the OP not being served the excess drink, however. I'll also still probably chose to go to a different bar if I ever find myself in one that becomes too controlling with their serving, but that's just me. Thankfully, In all my years of drinking in many different bars in many different places, this has never become a problem for me, so I doubt it ever will become one.

                                                                2. re: SaraAshley

                                                                  <<I frequent the same bars myself, and as a result, am friendly with most of the bartenders who serve me.>>

                                                                  you are a REGULAR.
                                                                  in my experience the rules are often different for REGULARS who tip well, are pleasant, are patient, who can be relied upon to order and pay for enough on a regular basis to contribute to the fixed costs of the restaurant/bar.

                                                                  normally the management is quite aware of who the regulars are and either explicitly or tacitly support some sort of special treatment of folks in that group by the bartenders, by the servers, and sometimes even by the valet parking attendants.

                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                    Some of this is true, although I wouldn't call myself a particularly lucrative regular. I never order more than 2-3 drinks, if that. Lets just say, I'm not the girl buying rounds and rounds of shots for all her friends, I'm the girl taking them, so my tabs never adds up to much. I had a $4 tab the other night for one drink, it was too strong for my empty stomach so I only had half, told the bartender I didn't want the rest and got a beer. She still only charged me for the drink, and on the $4 tab, I left $4. Object of my affection whom I was with that night who is also a bartender, but not at that bar, told me that my tip wasn't enough and that I should tip $10 like he did, on similar charges. I think next time we'll just let him pay for everything ;). He's a better regular than me, but I'm really, really nice. :)

                                                                    All that being said, this particular bar in my example above, is still known by everyone who's ever been there for their heavy handed pours. I no doubt believe you, westsidegal, could go walk in there tonight, never having been before, and have yourself a tipsy-tastic time for no more than $10. :)

                                                                    1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                      Let's not be bashful here, a man needs to be a regular AND a good tipper to get some buy-back appreciation from a bartender.

                                                                      A girl, well you just need to be a somewhat regular and a decent tipper will suffice. I personally think your tip of $4.00 was sufficient. If you ordered a mixed drink and it was $4.00, how much was the beer going to be, $3-4? So your total tab COULD have been $7-$8 for the two drinks, if you left a $10. bill and said keep the change that would have been "appropriate". Your tip of $4. on $4. was fine.

                                                                      You are 100% correct, next time let him pay for everything!!

                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                        I told him that she (the bartender) still loves me, despite my apparent shitty (to him) tip. He told me secretly she probably hates me for my tips. We left and passed her at the front door on our way out smoking a cigarette (hey! Isn't that another thread) and she graciously hugged me and told me she loved me. Nothing for him!

                                                                        1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                          See!!! Exactly my point, you chicks rule the world!!

                                                                          I think you need to find a higher caliber for your affections!

                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                            Probably true! Hah, even he tells me that.

                                                                      2. re: SaraAshley

                                                                        if a bar is <<known by everyone who's ever been there for their heavy handed pours>>, then it is the NORMAL bar policy for that particular bar.
                                                                        what the OP received was the normal policy for most bars.
                                                                        what i was saying was that often, a bar's "normal policy" is overlooked for regulars.

                                                                        when i went to the restaurant/bar at which i was a REGULAR on the night that my beloved dog died, they treated me to an entire meal (3 courses) as well as drinks as well as parking. the servers refused my tips.
                                                                        obviously, someone with no history at the establishment would not be treated the way i was treated that night.
                                                                        this was NOT restaurant policy, it was management making a REGULAR feel valued.

                                                                  2. re: Midlife

                                                                    Here in California everybody sues everybody for everything. The state legislature even tried to make the owner if a wine chop guilty of a felony if one if their employees sold a bottle to someone under age. The bill was finally amended to insert the word 'knowingly' , but it's still pretty tough.

                                                                3. I have mixed feelings about this. At the only one of my hangouts where I get a mixed drink — a Bloody Mary — I get what the bartender mixes. It usually doesn't fit in the glass, so he keeps the remainder on ice and tops up the glass when there's room. This has been the practice for all of the bartenders there, so it seems normal to me. I tip more for this than for a beer, because it's more work, not because I get a little extra.

                                                                  On the other hand, I don't think the situation called for leaving an insulting tip. Once in my life I left a two cent tip, and it for much worse treatment. I would have left a dollar, my minimum tip at a bar, and moved on, without making an issue of it. Perhaps he was just following the house rules.

                                                                  1. Uggg! I shouldn't have to reassert this, but you've left me no choice. Ultimately, this issue isn't about "what you pay for", State laws, how nauseating lawyers are, or protest through tip.

                                                                    This issue, damn it, is about wasting perfectly good alcohol. It is simply morally wrong. "Hey, Bartender, drink it yourself if you have to, but for the love of all things holy, don't dump it! There are drunks shaking in Florida, for chrissakes. What would your Uncle Patrick say???"

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                      if a bartender is consistently over-pouring and having to toss booze down the drain, he sucks at his job.

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        I agree. More importantly s/he is committing a mortal sin.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          not necessarily, hotoynoodle.
                                                                          there is an establishment that i frequent that has the same bartender every friday and saturday night.
                                                                          she handles the entire bar as well as ALL the cocktail orders for the restaurant and the patio.
                                                                          she handles an unbelievable number of orders every weekend and goes like a bat out of hell for hours, never stopping.
                                                                          often booze is "wasted."
                                                                          at one point the owner of the restaurant told me that it was FAR cheaper for him to fund the "wasted" booze than it would be to staff the bar with two additional, "normal/careful" bartenders for the evening.
                                                                          he does the math a couple of times a year and the answer is always the same.
                                                                          the bartender WANTS it that way because she makes enough in tips in those two evenings to support herself and her acting career.
                                                                          the owner WANTS it that way because it keeps his labor costs down.
                                                                          on the weekends that she is shooting and can't work, the restaurant puts 3 normal, careful, bartenders behind the bar and they never can keep up. on top of it they end up tripping over each other as they struggle to keep up the pace.

                                                                      2. Honestly, I think many of the posts about liability, and/or "you got what paid for", miss the point. Part of what you pay for (at least in so-called "high end joints") is the total experience, the ambience, including service. When I was younger (much younger) I would meet my wife at the Drake Hotel, on Michigan Avenue, in Chicago. We would order Manhattans (the winter Martini), sit back, eat the (no charge, no peanuts) mixed nuts. The drinks would be served in a little silver shaker, and poured out by the server. Whatever was left, we could add to our glass as desired.
                                                                        Later, when we moved to Boston, we met at the Ritz, overlooking the Common. There, the same practice was observed; we'd order a Martini, it would come in a shaker, and we would add any remains to our glasses as desired.
                                                                        This all felt like luxury; no one rushing us, the fancy little shakers, etc.
                                                                        By contrast, in Boston, I left my office on Federal Street and popped intl the Parker House (famous for Parker House rolls) for a bracer before hitting the red line back to Cambridge. The bartender took a shaker, added ice and gin, shook it about, and served it to me. When I said, "that's not a Martini, a Martini contains vermouth", he became defensive, if not irate. Point being, this was not the experience I had looked for-I didn't stiff the bar tender (i.e I left a tip), but from then on, if I wanted a Martini, I walked across the Commons and the Public Garden, to a place that seemed to want to enhance their clientele's experience, not just to process and move us through, tread mill style.

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mchametzky

                                                                            How do they miss the point? Being pissy that a bartender didn't give you the rest of his mistake is ridiculous. The experience is getting what you paid for: a martini filled appropriately with the correct ingredients and properly mixed.

                                                                            What you're describing is a different type of service. If you typically paid for, and expected, a martini to come in a little shaker and you didn't get it, you'd have a right to be upset. If you ordered a little shaker, had it filled, and the bartender accidentally poured a bit too much...would you be mad he didn't give you a 2nd little shaker?

                                                                            1. re: QuakerInBoston

                                                                              It seems to me that the 'experience' should include respect on both sides. It's hard to tell which side was truly disrespectful but a bartender's defensiveness if he makes a Martini with no Vermouth is out of line unless it was requested 'very dry'. Pointing it out is not, unless done disrectfully IMHO.

                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                Sorry, I was including the OP's post in my response and assuming MChametzky's reply was at least referencing that in some sense. I agree that the vermouth thing was worth commenting on, for sure.

                                                                            2. re: mchametzky

                                                                              I agree that this topic has gotten off the original issue, which seemed to me to be more about the bartender's attitude than about the act of dumping the remainder of the drink. I work at a place that has some policies that not all guests agree with, but I am always polite and understanding in explaining if questioned. Sometime's that's not easy when the guest is aggressive and negative in questioning the policy. Some people have better filters than others.

                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                Thank you, I agree. I submitted a post, above, suggesting that the OP's point might have been lost.

                                                                                I may not have expressed myself clearly, but I don't think I did anything tha could be construed as "Being pissy to a bartender". I've tended bar, and I know how stressful it can be. As I noted, I paid my bill, left a tip and left the Parker House (which seems perfectly reasonable to me).

                                                                                More to the point I had hoped to make (and apparently missed the mark) was the difference I experienced between places like the Drake (Chicago), the Ritz (Boston), Galatoire's (New Orleans) and many other places-most of which I don't remember the name. I think that's kind of important, if you run/own a restaurant/bar. Leon Galatoire always made us feel welcome-and induced a desire to come back. So did the Ritz, so did the Drake. At Galatoire's, on Friday, at lunch, when we ordered the "welcome wagon"- a shaker of Martini's, and an entire plate of raw onions, olives, radishes, and more, he (and the staff) made us feel like it was really their pleasure to serve us; as I said, this is the kind of experience that makes people want to come back-and to tell their friends to come. The Rib Room in New Orleans exuded a similar vibe.

                                                                                So, clearly, there are countless places where one can just belly up, order, pay, wipe you mouth, a la Cagney, and leave: business transacted. Despite that, if one is lucky, one may have the opportunity to sit down in a place (with or without silver shakers), and be made to believe that the people (employees) interacting with you recognize (even acknowledge) that we're al part of the same species , and if they can make you feel good for a few minutes, that's worth it.

                                                                                1. re: mchametzky

                                                                                  Sorry my comment about pissy-ness was about the OP's actions, not your actions!