Tips for Tips 

When Do You Cut Someone Off?

We once saw a barmaid bring two shots of vodka, balanced precariously on a worn cork tray, to a spavined old drunk in the corner of a bar at the edge of the Bratislava city limits. She actually had to wake him up with a kick — he drank the vodka, and then he paid. But that’s a different story.
Where she presides:     Bar 36 NYC, Astoria
Favorite drink:     Vodka and soda
When they show any sign of not being in control of themselves. If they’re leaning on the bar, spouting off, acting overly impatient, that sort of thing. You have to ask them to leave then. It’s never been a problem. What you do is go to one of their sober friends, one who hasn’t been drinking as much, and tell them they need to get their friend out of there. They know they have to, for themselves, the other patrons and for their friend, who has had too much to drink. They understand it’s in their best interest.
Where he presides:     Forum, Union Square
Favorite drink:     Jameson
If they’re so drunk they’re falling off their stool or passing out, I’ll cut them off. Or if they light a cigarette and don’t know whether they’re outside or inside. Or if they can’t speak. Or if they’re belligerent and bothering other people. But that usually only happens on weekends, on the clubby nights.

Where she presides:     Virage, LES
Favorite drink:     Vodka and soda
I guess if someone is seriously slurring their words... if they’re falling down. Basically, if they can’t order. But it’s never gotten to that point. I’m fairly new at this. And plus, few people come here to just drink, since we’re also a restaurant.
Where he presides:     The Smith, East Village
Favorite drink:    Manhattan
You can tell when they’ve had enough by the look in their eyes, if they slur their words. I stop serving them right when they’re on the cusp of that, or if they come in and you can tell they’ve already been drinking. Then you just say no.
Where he presides:     Dressler, Williamsburg
Favorite drink:    Anything but vodka
The customers here recognize when they’re cut off, because it’s a pretty nice place. I’ve been lucky. I don’t have any problem cutting anyone off, because it’s not worth it, you know? They’re a liability.
Where he presides:     Motor City, LES
Favorite drink:    Ginger tea
I always want to cut people off when they start talking about their band. Especially when they compare it to Led Zeppelin. I’ll get in trouble for saying that, but it’s true.


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