8 More Rules at the Bar

Bartender missing
Pick one TV, buddy.

Back in 2013, I wrote a post called 8 Simple Rules at a Bar. As soon as I wrote it, I added a new entry to my Evernote notebook called 8 More Rules at the Bar. It has taken three years to gather those next eight rules, but this past weekend, rule number eight emerged as a woman interrupted the conversation I was having with the bartender. I’ll get to that later, you know, “full story at 11:00” and like that.

Don’t come here to have that conversation – It’s not like I make a habit of listening in on other peoples’ conversations, but when you’re in a small bar, it’s hard not to hear stuff. It’s how some great conversations start and how I’ve made some friends. Person A says: “Did you see that throw?” to person B, and it’s fair game to add: “I never would have thought he’d get the ball there in time.” On the other hand – when person A says: “I asked you to meet me here because I think we have to talk…” Yeah, I got nothin’.

Do not try to dominate all the TVs – The bar I am usually sitting at has eight stools and a few tables. There are four TVs, two of which can be seen from the bar. I stepped up to my favorite stool and asked the bartender if she could put ESPNU on the TV closest to me. The guy at the other end of the bar said: “I’m watching that.” I said: “OK, I actually prefer looking at that TV” (the one closest to him). To which he replied: “I’m watching this too.” And, then I introduced him to this rule.

We don’t care that you’re an expert – Bars are full of decisions that have already been made. From the beers on tap, to the snacks on the counter, the types of wings available and the myriad coach/player/driver/etc. decisions being made in the NFL, MLB, NASCAR NHL and NCAA Women’s Softball (the thing I wanted to watch in the rule above) stuff on the TV. You may be smarter than all of the people making all those decisions, but other than a passing expletive/groan/sigh/rhetorical question, we don’t want to hear it.

It’s a playlist – You may not like the music, but nobody wants to hear a rolling commentary of how bad each song is. It’s not like there’s a DJ in the back room. Give it a rest

Don’t pick on the bartender – She works here, she doesn’t own the bar. She doesn’t set the prices, or pick the beers and she didn’t prepare your food, she only delivered it. In addition, some of us like her, and some of us are bigger than you. Just sayin.

Don’t hit on the bartender if you’re a jerk – Lot’s of guys aren’t self-aware enough to understand that they’re a jerk, but once the bartender points that out, it’s time to pack it up. I’ve witnessed some dumb, creepy and crude attempts over time. The most recent was a married guy who actually said to the bartender: “don’t you realize that I’m hitting on you?” She replied: “I do, but you don’t seem to realize that I’m ignoring you.”

Don’t make those comments – You know: “why did you wear that shirt?” “Why didn’t you leave your backpack in car?” “Stop photographing your food.” Unless, of course, you’re at the bar with a six-year-old. Otherwise, you’re heading for Rule #1. Consider this a warning rule. Overbearing comments are like a gateway drug to the “we have to talk” talk.

If you didn’t read the menu, don’t complain about your food – Saturday. A woman interrupted my conversation to ask why her meal was served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes instead of being served over linguini. The bartender explained that that’s how it’s described on the menu. The woman said –  seriously – she said this: “I make this at home and I always serve it with linguini.”

Now I guess it’s time to start working on rules 17 – 24.  By the way, the photos in the gallery were collected over a few years Smile


  1. Definitely very entertaining list and I would sign this like the Constitution, Dan. And keep coming with the addendums until you covered the vast need for more, and placate those who need civility at all cost (like me)! :)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I love these rules. Oh yes–the pros who know all there is to know about everything and have an opinion on everything, also. That’ll drive you to drink! You are doing good with the foodie-artistic shots, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha ha ha – great post! I work in a bar, and some of the snippets of conversations I hear in passing are definitely a bit private for being held in such a public place. And then there are all the smart and thoroughly inappropriate comments directed my way because I’m a curvy blonde with big boobs and some people seem to think that alcohol makes them witty and highly attractive to anyone with a pulse – nope, it makes them look dumb and desperate. Oh, and spot on about complaints about the menu/ food – I often don’t take the initial order, or make the food, but I get all the grief anyway. Yesterday the weather was hot, so the outside beer garden was busy and my top two complaints of the day were (1) too many flies and wasps buzzing about when customers were trying to eat their food which spoiled their enjoyment of their meal, so could they have a refund – er, no, YOU chose to sit outside in nature, so deal with it, and (2) far too much dust and noise coming from the construction site next door, spoiling the ambience – hello, there’s clearly been major building works IN ANOTHER PROPERTY going on for months, so if you don’t like it, sit inside! :-)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ruth. Another view from the inside. The bar I usually go to is in a restaurant. I usually have a beer, yack a bit with friends and then take some food home. They have an outdoor patio too. It was in the 90s and very humid. Someone complained that “it’s very hot outside…” As if the bartender could fix that! – The inside bar was mostly empty – I think that’s now the first of the next 8 rules :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You sound like the perfect customer – you’d probably be known as Yuengling Dan in our pub, as we tend to recognise customers by their regular choice of beverage! :-)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your rules! A friend and I once noticed an elderly lady deeply engrossed in our conversation so we decided to have a little fun. We quietly talked about how to bury the body. hee hee hee

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice rules, Dan. I love the quick come-back of the bartender in Rule #14, but I suppose she’s had to deal with that before. Many times.
    I would prefer to be at the bar in the first photo than at work any sunny summer afternoon. Where is this place?
    The last photo of the sandwich and slaw is making me hungry…I need to go eat breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The sandwich and the first photo in the gallery are at the Pool Bar of the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort. I know, how snooty sounding. It’s where our company has often held its Annual Meeting. Other than that lunch at the bar, and a brief walk up the beach afterwards, most of my time is spend inside a windowless meeting room. I will say that the opportunity to eat a burger and a cold beer outside in February is a nice feeling. No doubt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think that sounds snooty at all. You’re having lunch and a beer in style. It makes up for the boring meeting rooms.

        I wish I could go to an annual meeting some place where it’s warm outside in winter. That’s an awesome bonus of your job, Dan.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The best was when my daughter was in graduate school. I took her with me those two years to give her a break from full-time work and lots-of-time-school. She got to enjoy the beach full-time for a few days.

          I do usually try to eat at that bar when I go there.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. We were at Red Hook Brewery on Saturday. Great beer, great lunch and good conversation at my table. But, I’d say the rest of the place was ‘mostly’ obsessed with their cell phone feed. You look around these days and everyone is just staring and swiping at their phone. I often wonder if they realize that their life clock is ticking while they are obsessed with what everyone else is doing online. :-) I’ll look forward to the next set of rules, Dan. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. In the first set of rules, I included “be prepared to talk if you sit at the bar” – I always try to eat at the bar when I travel and I like having a casual conversation with the nearby person. When they stay glued to their phone, it feels like a waste.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Haha! I’ll stop shooting my food when I stop eating ;)
    these rules are great, and could apply to many places. I tend to prefer bars with the tall booths. They make me feel like nothing exists outside of my booth :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Private Joey space. I do like those when I’m with someone. You could apply these at s coffee shop, too, but there are a host of other coffee shop rules. Like don’t expect the waitress at Joe’s Diner to speak fluent Starbucks.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ” The most recent was a married guy who actually said to the bartender: “don’t you realize that I’m hitting on you?” She replied: “I do, but you don’t seem to realize that I’m ignoring you.”” HAHAHAHAAAAA. good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Be glad that people still go to bars rather than stay at home surfing the net. Otherwise there’s be no bars for people to go to! That said, the only time I go to bars (pubs) these days, is usually to use the loo (bathroom).
    But that woman… good grief! What an idiot…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I know there are idiots who act like you’ve described. Fortunately, I’ve never been in a bar or pub when they’ve been anywhere near that obnoxious. I like the neighborhood bar/pub scene. Now that I’m transportation-challenged, I haven’t been and miss it. Do people really think they can have an important intimate discussion in a bar? Robin Williams’s character in Good Will Hunting had the right idea. Go sit in a park if you don’t was to talk at home or in the office.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The worst of these were collected while traveling. The “we have to talk” was in the quiet local bar, which was awkward. The linguini comment was also there but it provided much laughter after the people left. It’s probably a running joke by now.


  11. Apologies Dan! How did I ever miss this post? I agree on all counts. I once sat at bar where a disgusting guy was hitting on me. The bartender, a female also, kept rolling her eyes. Finally I aked if she kept any insect repellant behind the bar. She said yes, why, to which I replied, “There is a huge cockroach I need to get rid of.” Then she pulled out a jumbo sized can of Raid and put it on the counter. I didn’t really want to think about why she needed that huge can, but we WERE in NOLA, after all. He looked mildly insulted and zig zagged his way to the other side of the bar. Oh! Then a drunk biker fella tried to impress his girlfriend by spraying the stuff and lighting it with his cigarette lighter. I called it a night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness – that’s a great story. This post might be before we discovered each other’s blogs. Guys hitting on women in bars never cease to amaze me. Even older, married guys. I eat at bars when I travel and I see some really stupid men.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. When many young women ask me why they always end up with crummy boyfriends who cheat on them I always remind them they should not be looking for great relationships in a bar which was usually where they met. Not to say this is always the case, but generally speaking the longest lasting relationships do not typically begin with a bar pickup. I now must backtrack through your blog for other wonderful posts I have missed. Stay tuned…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The original 8 things is out there. I’m collecting 8 more. I think I have 5 or 6.

      There was a guy hitting on the bartender you represent. I was the only other person at the bar. I was ready to leave but I could tell he was making her uncomfortable. She asked me if I was ready to wrap it up. I said “just give me a glass of water. I think I’ll stick around a while and keep you company.” The guy left within five minutes.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. This guy was a serious jerk. He was telling her how, when he was dating her best friend, he was always thinking about her.

      In other words, I am always ready to cheat on the girl I’m dating.

      Liked by 1 person

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