HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Bar Standards

I don't usually like to complain, but tonight I was pushed over the edge.

The amount of bartenders short pouring in the city is out of control. I usually let it slide as the amount of alcohol I'm served isn't as much of a concern to me as the vibe and people I am with, but when I over hear a bartender being called out for short pouring and recognize it's a legit call, I'm livid. Am I the only one?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am not sure exactly what you are saying here? Who "called out" the bartender?

    I usually drink in places that I go to on a regular basis so I find sometimes I have the opposit issue, they like to over pour for regulars. But they also do not under pour to others as their job is to gain new customers.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pourboi

      The girl a couple of people over called out the bartender for a few shots of Jameison he was pouring for another group. I'd say he was pouring 1/4 to 1/2 ounce.

      1. re: AngeloTO

        with no ice and a glass with a wide bottom a shot of liquor may look under poured. There are many sized glasses If the customer is ordering a Jameson and straight, no rocks I would assume they are an experienced drinker and would know if it is 1/4 ounce (most shots of straight liquor are 1oz- 1.5ounce). As this was not your drink or it seems the drink of the person who called them "out" it could even be that the customer wanted to try the Jameson with a friend who had never tasted it before and asked for the drink to be split into two glasses.. I am calling BS on any story that a bartender would try to pass off a drink that is so under poured (1/2oz) when there is no mix and or ice in the glass...

        1. re: pourboi

          Respect P, but I seriously do believe there is a new phenomena of "alternate" sources of income (or staff libation) by shorting drinking Customers. May be it is even the result of stricter enforcement; I dunno. I have seen this myself, discussed this with others, and have seen other miffed Customers more and more lately.

          Bartenders are adept at dealing with challenging Customers, so if he or she were falsely accused of shorting, I'd think they would handle it professionally, and demonstrate that the Customer is wrong. Onus is on the bartenders.

          Owners should be looking into this, Customers should be wary, and people should be calling out bartenders doing it and telling others too.

          1. re: PoppiYYZ

            I am not saying it does not happen I am saying that in the circumstances described by the OP it does not seem remotely credible... being served 1/4oz of Jameson straight up in a rocks glass? come on that would be like a millimetre of liquid in the glass. It is like in a restaurant ordering a "dozen" chicken wings and the server only bringing you 3 on the plate.. they may get away with 11 or even 10 but 3 no way..

            1. re: PoppiYYZ

              I agree with you Poppi. Just last week at 2 different bars I ordered a double Jameson's and I saw the bartender pour me 2 3/4 oz shots. I didn't call him out, I just didn't tip him. The second place I called it out to the server after receiving only 1 oz. After a few moments another Oz came my way. It is a sad trend of late.

      2. There does seem to be something going on recently, and it is widespread.

        I have noticed a huge drop off in pours especially when in comes to draught beer. On the rare occasion I get fed up and ask for a top up, I get quite the sour-puss reaction !

        Europe (especially Germany) has a liquid level line on their glasses.

        BTW, you may not get many replies due to the title of your post. Maybe start another one with, "Short Pours, I'm Mad as Hell !" will get things moving... ;-)

        8 Replies
        1. re: PoppiYYZ

          For draft beer (depending on type) there should be a 1" head give or take 1/2"

          1. re: pourboi

            My 94 year old uncle believes the glass should be soooo full (regardless of the liquid), the first sip must be taken BEFORE the glass can be safely lifted.

            If it's worked for him, it's good enough for me too !! :-D

            1. re: PoppiYYZ

              If that is what you are complaining about then you deserve the sour-puss reaction.. :-o

                1. re: pourboi

                  Seriously though Angelo TO, what type of drink was it, and if possible, what was the location.

                  Let's not paint all with the same brush, but paint heartily those that deserve it.

                  1. re: PoppiYYZ

                    It was Jameison shots poured in rock glasses. I will keep the location nameless as I don't like to slam independent establishments online.

                    1. re: AngeloTO

                      you should. under-pouring liquor is fraud and they should be exposed.

                      1. re: frogsteak

                        Agreed. Name names and let other contributors confirm or dispute. Let the swarm ultimately decide who is right.

          2. I've seen it recently as well. A 9oz pour was a mere few millimetres higher on the glass than a 6 oz. Asked the bartender and encountered a weak rebuttal.

            2 Replies
            1. re: roostermom

              Last year my wife and I both received noticeably short wine pours, so I summoned the owner. Our glasses were immediately topped up and served with an apology. Later our server accidentally (?) knocked over my wife's wine resulting in our meals, everything, being on-the-house that night.

              There are still some responsive folks working in hospitality. You just have to inform someone who cares and can implement corrective action.

              Where bartenders are skimming, easily done without rigid measuring systems, it's not in their interest to give you a full pour.

              1. re: iamafoodie

                There is no perfect "rigid measuring system" if the staff knows what the system is they will figure out how to get around it. Short pour a couple of drinks so that your buddy can get an over pour. Staff knocks over a shot glass of water say it was Vodka, extra pour on the house.

                I once was in a place and I was sure there was no alcohol in my drink at all, I took it to the bartender and told him. He said it was impossible as they used the "donut" system where each pour was guranteed to be the same amount. He picked up the bottle of rye and a shot glass and "poured" ... nothing came out of the bottle... it was empty.. yes the system works great AS long as there was lioquor in the bottle! He fumbled an apology and poured me a new drink from a fresh bottle.

            2. Well. Tonight I saw a bartender at Barhop gently reprimand the other bartender that his draft pour had too much foam. The unsuspecting patron enjoyed a generous beer because of the resulting correction.

              Maybe there is still hope AngeloTO !