Happy Hour and Other Complicated Math Problems

Posted: July 18, 2014 by divebardiva in Daily Ramblings

Okay peeps, I know it’s been a while but lets not dwell on the past and my apparent slack behavior. This blog is a helluva lot of work, and we needed a break. But we’re back! It’s on, bitches!

We’re here to discuss  some important issues because, once again, I am befuddled by the actions of the constantly clueless. Now, I fully understand that there are many who did not grow up in the type of bar atmosphere that I did. Sadly I feel that this may be due tocoddling your kids to the point they are entitled, whiny, lazy assholes. But I digress.

However, in this enlightened (yet often frightening) age of movies, television and rampant social media outlets there is just no way that you have not at least seen the movie Waiting — or, at the minimum, a list of shit on Facebook called “How To Piss Off Your Bartender.”

What’s that you say? You don’t give a frogs-water-tight-ass about your service professional? Well, guess what dumbass? These hard working professionals are handling the food that you eat and (in the bartenders case especially) are completely in charge of how much alcohol goes into your cocktails. Now you’re paying attention, aren’t you?

Much like a sneaky underhanded lawyer who pads their clients’ hours, bartenders have been known to pad tabs just like any other sneaky bastard in any other line of work. Now I wouldn’t pad a tab for the biggest asshole on the planet. But back in the day, I had a customer who always complained about a new glass — there was no reusing the last glass no matter how busy or what was happening. This guy always had to feel important by insisting you do something stupid and time consuming.

Any bartender worth their salt always wants the same drink glass. Less soap, less sanitizer and less of a chance to have the runs all day at work tomorrow. You can ignore my sage advice if you’d like. But if you were an asshole at the bar, and aren’t feeling up to par the next day, remember what I said.

Now again, even for the biggest asshole in the world (as a reference please see blog entry entitled Douchebaggery and Dumbassery), I wouldn’t add something to your tab that didn’t belong. Not because you don’t deserve it (because clearly you do), but because I take pride in my job. Just because you have chosen to live your life like a tool, I’m way above that.

Something I am not above, however, is making sure you get exactly what’s coming to you. You will not be getting one drop more than that absolute minimum amount of alcohol in your drink. And you will be paying for every one of those fuckers. Ignorance and bad behavior are perfectly valid reasons for slowing down your party caravan. And by slow, I am talking a cart with an oval shaped wooden wheel and an ox (singular) to pull that fucker. That party train, my clueless fellow, is gonna move slower than a bad James Cameron movie.

Okay, so now that we have gotten that little tidbit out of the way, on to the meat and bones of today’s lesson. As many of you know I have an old roommate we call “Irish.” When we’re together, I can be heard on more than one occasion stating the following, “You are the cutest boy EVER!” Now before you get all touchy feely about it, let me say that when I say this to “Irish” it could mean any one of three things.

1. Jesus you’re drunk.

2. How is it that you were not born a blonde.

3. You truly are the cutest boy EVER.

Truth be told, one and two happen quite often. Three occurs less frequently but it’s still a viable option.

So back to my cutest boy ever. The other day, I got a text from a clearly intoxicated Irish asking a question about bar math. He works in a different facet of the hospitality industry. And, since we haven’t lived together for 20+ years, sometimes he needs bar math help from a professional.

Here is the exact exchange including typos. Keep in mind that where he lives, it is commonplace for a bartender to buy their better customers a drink or two. This exchange involves the free drinks he received — not the ones he paid for. Otherwise, he would pay the cost for the drink plus tip.

Irish: Refresh my bar math. If  I’m charged 5$ for 3 5$ drinks. I pay what $ total.

Me: $15.

Irish: Okay, that’s what I tpought.

So, the fact that he worries enough to ask truly does make him the cutest boy EVER. However, his total should have been $15 on which he should, for all intents and purposes (please make a note of this phrase if you’ve been saying it wrong), tip $3. That’s $18. Giving her $15 makes you a rockstar — because the drinks were on the house — and still gets you out $3 on the cheap for what you should have actually paid.

This seems fairly straightforward. And to most in the bar business, or just regular rock star drinkers (who no matter how busy it is always get served first), it is just good business and drinking practice.  There are certain times where the math can be a bit complicated for the layman. The bar where I currently hang my bar towel, for example, has great food specials (2 for 1 $10 burgers) and a drink happy hour as well.

Now pay attention here, people:  I don’t own the fucking bar. I’m sorry, you didn’t hear me? I DO NOT OWN THE FUCKING BAR. Do not complain to me about being charged a quarter for extra dressing (that shit isn’t free ya know). And for fucks sake, instead of making sure you weren’t over charged, take a cold, hard look at what ya got for free.

Let’s just break it down rudimentary style, shall we? Here’s a  tab for you and a friend after an afternoon of 2 for 1’s and buy one burger, get the other free.

Bud Light $3.50 x 4=$14

Bacon Cheeseburger: $8.99

With tax you are looking at about $26…acceptable tip $5. However, you didn’t have 4 beers and one burger, did you? Ohhhhhhh no. You slurped down 8 beers and chowed on 2 burgers. The tab should have been $52 which makes your $5 tip a bit on the cheap side.

Just because you luck into a bargain doesn’t mean your bartender should get the shaft. I mean seriously, people, in Atlanta a tipped employees make $3.15 an hour. In New York,  the tax is so high that your shift pay is usually less than tax — so no paycheck for you. And in Minnesota, we make minimum wage. And the tips are considerably less than normal unless you work in the cities.

I am, by no means, complaining here. I’ve traveled around the world and across the nation on bar tips. (Thank you and hugs to all those who have contributed!) But I’ve also worked my ass of for every last dollar. I’ve smiled when I wanted to stab, had my ass grabbed so often I should have permanent marks, eaten most of my meals cold and over a garbage can, stood on my feet for longer in my lifetime than I have done anything else and listened to more problems than any human being should ever hear.

Being a server of any kind is tough. It’s a calling. Sometimes you have ones that make a clear and distinct impression on you. Those are the ones you hate to lose. If you know one of these servers, I implore you, do right by them. Make their night once and a while. They deserve it. And trust me when I say that when your beloved bartender leaves your favorite watering hole, you’ll feel it. Deep in the gut like oncoming diarrhea.  I know I’ve mourned the loss of more than one. But that, my friends, is a story for next week.

With love and liquor,


  1. Server X says:

    Hello all,
    Lovely to see the blog back up and running again! I have missed it so even in my absence from the serving industry. Although, this does not mean I am short of any stories, in fact I have some to add to the beautiful DiveBarDivas story. In reference to that ass-hat that she mentioned that demanded a new glass for every cocktail and her line:

    “You don’t give a frogs-water-tight-ass about your service professional? Well, guess what dumbass? These hard working professionals are handling the food that you eat and (in the bartenders case especially) are completely in charge of how much alcohol goes into your cocktails. Now you’re paying attention, aren’t you?”

    Now keep in mind, this guy thought because he knew the bartenders name and tipped a fucking dime a drink that he shat gold. This is FAR from the truth. He was though the bouncers BFF and roomy. But to turn a long story into a short one, I will get straight to the moral of this story: even if you think you have friends on the inside, if you are a dick to your bar tender your pizza is gonna get a whole lot of 300 pound bouncer man balls slopped on it. So don’t be a dick.

    Yours Truly,
    Server X

  2. divebardiva says:

    Oh my god Server X I had totally forgotten about that one.

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