I’ve Never Tended Bar But I’m Going to Guess Bartenders Hate Being Called “Barkeep”


I was out having a drink one Friday night. It was like 8:30 and it was pretty busy. Despite the crowd, the bartender was doing a great job. I had a drink in front of me, so I couldn’t complain. The guy next to me however had yet to be served. After waiting (for not a long period of time) the exasperated douche yelled out, “Barkeep!” at the bartender.

I’ve never worked behind a bar in my life, but I do have a lot of experience being at bars. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess bartenders hate being called “barkeep.” Short of snapping your fingers or launching some sort of projectile at them, I can’t think of a ruder way to handle this.

I’m now talking directly to anyone who does this: do you realize who you are? You’re a real life version of Judge Smails from Caddyshack. This is you:

No one uses the term “barkeep” anymore. In fact, I can think of why you’d even refer to a bartender as “bartender.” Or as anything. Just stand there and wait your turn. You don’t have to address them as anything. If you have to call them something, how about, “Hey, Human Being Who’s Just Trying To Do the Best Job They Can Despite It Being Busy – In Fact, Even If You Weren’t Busy You’d Still Deserve Respect Due to Basic Human Decency.” It’s a little wordy, but it beats “barkeep.”

It makes you sound like 18th century French nobility. What’s your next move, telling the other people at the bar they can eat cake? Make sure you don’t get any powdered wig in your Jack and Coke, Louis XIV.

Calling a bartender “barkeep” makes you sound like exactly what America was fighting against during the Revolution. You’re like King George III and General Cornwallis rolled into one big giant ball of smug. You are a humanized version of an episode of Downton Abbey, a show I’ve never seen but that I know is British. I therefore assume it has a degree of smugness associated with it.

Speaking of revolutions: this guy was revolutionizing ways to ensure a bartender spits in you drink. I can’t think of a better way to get a bartender to spit in your drink beyond explicitly stating, “I will give you a 200% tip if you spit in my next drink.”


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