Whenever you and your friends make your way into a pub to have a few drinks, you want to think of the bartender as a friend. They’re responsible for serving up all those librations, after all, and their outgoing personalities make you feel comfortable while you unwind.
However, not all bartenders have your best interests at heart. It’s a job, of course, and many of them want to make as much money as possible during their shift. While most bartenders are upstanding people, some might employ subtle tricks in order to squeeze as much dough from you as possible. As you become intoxicated, you’re less aware of what’s happening around you, and that’s when some of them will take advantage of your wallet.
Here are 10 sneaky ways that bartenders can rip you off while you spend time enjoying a few drinks. You’ve been warned…
1. The rim dip: This method tricks your senses into smelling and tasting alcohol when, in actuality, there’s much less of it in your glass than you think. The bartender will dip the rim of your glass into the alcohol that you asked for, which makes each sip taste and smell like they gave you a heavy-handed pour.
2. The long pour: Bartenders often will pull the bottles of liquor they’re pouring away from the glass quickly to create a long stream of alcohol. This fools patrons into thinking they’re getting more than a single shot’s worth of liquor. Sadly, it’s just an illusion.
3. Diluting the bottle: For the most part, this method isn’t entirely the bartender’s fault; the owner tends to play a role in this trick. In order to save money, some establishments will actually dilute their liquors with water. It’s usually about 10 percent of the bottle’s volume, so the average person would never be able to detect the difference—and it saves the bar plenty of money over time.
4. Swapping brands: This trick is actually considered a crime, and it can result in a hefty fine or even the revocation of a bar’s liquor license. Cheap alcohol is poured into expensive bottles, making people think they’re getting top-shelf stuff when it isn’t even close to the real deal.
5. Being stingy with the mixers: This isn’t exactly a ripoff, but it is a sneaky method that makes people think their drinks are stronger than they actually are. The bartender simply adds more ice and less mixer to a regular cocktail. Since the flavor of the alcohol is more pronounced, patrons think the bartender gave them a hearty pour.
6. The liquored-up straw technique: In order to trick people into thinking they’ve received a strong drink, bartenders sometimes fill a straw with alcohol before they place it into a cocktail. This makes the first sip taste exceptionally strong, while the rest of the drink is often watered down.
7. The top shelf switch: If the bartender notices that you’re becoming intoxicated, they might switch the brand of alcohol you’re drinking to a more expensive type without telling you. Now you’re suddenly paying $14 a cocktail instead of $7, and that difference adds up quickly.
8. Icing down drinks: Many bartenders put way too much ice in their drinks. This gives the impression that they’ve poured a hefty amount of booze, but in reality, it’s the ice that takes up almost the entire glass, not the liquor.
9. Failure to mention auto-gratuity: Bartenders sometimes neglect to tell you that the price of the drink you’re buying includes the tip. This means that, if you’re the type to leave cash on the bar, they receive double the amount of money.
10. Using fewer liquors than your drink requires: This is a tough one for a bartender to pull off, but it does happen. If a patron orders a complicated drink, such as a Long Island iced tea, the bartender might very well only use a few of the liquors required in order to save time and money.
The next time you and you friends go out to a local pub, keep an eye on what the bartender is doing. You just might catch them trying to pull a fast one on you!
Share these sneaky bartending tricks with your friends below!