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5 things your bartender won't tell you

12:15 PM, May 17, 2011   |    comments
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TAMPA BAY, Florida - They can be a sight for sore eyes, but they can also enable the emptying of your wallet.

Over the course of an evening, bartenders may tell you a lot of things.  But there are five things (and a few others) they won't tell you.

Gallery: Things your bartender won't tell you

1) The quickest way to get a drink at a crowded bar is cash

"You see cash, you go to that person first," said Ben Archer, a bartender at The Lime in South Tampa.

Archer says bartenders can process cash a lot faster than a credit card.  That means more drinks poured, which means more tips.

Cash customers tend to be a little less frugal too, giving a dollar or two per drink instead of a flat 15-20% on a bill.

Unfortuantely for the weekend warrior, freebies can be tough to come by at a crowded bar or restaurant.  But if you're keeping the bartender company during the slowest times of day (mid-afternoon) or week (Mon-Wed), you stand a good chance of a kickback or two.

Better yet, if he or she sees you around the bar often, you can expect better service and more freebies.

3) It's OK to complain about the strength of your drink (once)

"It's OK to send your drink back," said Lindsey Hicks, a bartender at The Lodge restaurant in South Tampa.  "I want every customer to be happy. If they send it back, I always put a little extra in there."

Hicks said its even less of a problem if the drink is too strong or a draft beer tastes funny.  But both Hicks and Archer agree it becomes annoying when customers repeat the request a second time.

4) Bartenders will lie about their "favorite drinks"

"Probably 50 percent of the drinks I make, I don't like," said Hicks.  "But I tell people, 'Oh, my gosh, this is perfect. I drink it every time I go out!' "

She adds that when customers are excited about a drink, they walk away happy, and if customers doesn't know what they want, Hicks said it's often easy to convince them to order whatever is easiest for the bartender.

5) Bartenders love when you buy them drinks

Bartenders love when you buy them drinks because they either get a free drink or a giant tip.

At some bars, the bartender won't ring up the drink you're paying for.

"Some bartenders will take a bottle and fill it with water," Hicks said.  "(Customers) think you're taking a shot with them and you're not."

Which means the money you spent on that bartender bonus goes straight into his or her pocket.

More things your bartender won't tell you:

- He or she is married; customers (especially men) will tip better if they think they have a chance with the bartender.
- Most bars cut lemons and limes daily.  But some only refresh olives or oranges when necessary.
- Their biggest pet peeve is when you don't know what you want.  Asking for suggestions is OK, but being indecisive eats up their time.
Viewer Mary-Lynn Cetroli suggests ordering your soft drink and liquor separately so you can control the strength of the cocktail and get free refills of the soft drink after!

See Also: 5 Things Your Auto Mechanic Won't Tell You

Have something else your bartender won't tell you?  Or want us to focus on your industry next?  Tell 10 News reporter Noah Pransky why on either Facebook (www.facebook.com/noahpransky) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/noahpransky).

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