Ever Chase a Freeloading Customer?

11/09/2005 12:00 AM |

I once found myself in the uneviable position of having drunk up a $45 tab and not having the money to pay for it. Luckily, the bartender let me leave my lucky scarf as collateral while I went to raise the funds. I still send her Christmas cards every year.
Where she presides: T.G.I. Friday’s,  Midtown West
Favorite drink: Glenfiddich

We get that occasionally here. It’s not too fun. We tell the manager, and it’s pretty much at his or her discretion to void the walkout check. If he doesn’t, then me or the server are on the hook for a tab. That gives us an incentive to keep an eye on people, yes. Actually, people don’t actually drink and dash here that often, but it’s horrible when it does happen.
Where he presides: Frousdale, Midtown West
Favorite drink: Maker’s Mark Manhattan

I had some people run out this week, actually. Normally, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this was a huge tab. I wasn’t having that. I actually chased them down. They tried to keep walking. Then they tried to give me their business card — bizarre. Then I finally made it clear that they had no choice to pay up, which they did. That’s the incredible thing about our bar. People are crazy here! And we love each and every one of them.
Where he presides: Trash, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Any neat Scotch

Sort of yes, sort of no. What happened was it was last call one night and I had about six or seven customers and usually I’ll give a person their drink and then go on to the next person before I take anyone’s money. So I give this one guy a beer and he walks away without giving me any money. I yelled at him and my boss who was also behind the bar asked what I was yelling about. So I told him the guy didn’t give me any money. So the guy basically walks up to the bar and says ‘I’m broke, I thought you were buying’. I’m like, ‘no, if I’m buying you a drink, I’ll tell you I’m buying you a drink.’ He says ‘Well, I thought you were hooking me up.’ I said, ‘no, that wasn’t the case.’ So, my boss says, basically, that he has to go. But the guy is just hanging around. Even with our two doormen standing there next to him he’s not leaving. So my boss gets out from behind the bar and says ‘you’re giving me no options but to put my hands on you.’ So then he leaves.
Where she presides: Flight 157,  Chelsea
Favorite drink: Frozen blue margarita

We keep credit cards for tabs here. So if people want to run out, great! We’ll just run their card and add a good tip. A woman in here the other night said she was going to the bathroom and very obviously ducked out of here. Obviously, she forgot I had her plastic. It should be entertaining when she comes back for it.
Where he presides:
Kavehaz, Flatiron
Favorite drink: Scotch, neat

I’ve never had anyone run out on a tab, but I have had people try to steal stuff at the bar I worked at in college. Pretty bizarre. This guy tried to steal our barstools. He had a truck parked outside and was just carting them off! He successfully stole about three of the things, before we caught onto him. Yeah, we ended up throwing him to the ground and calling the police. Unbelievable. He was pretty calm afterwards. Drunk people react one of two ways when you confront them: either violent and aggressive, or completely passive. They’re never very reasonable.
Where she presides: Pencil Factory, Greenpoint
Favorite drink: Bushmills on the rocks

No, I’ve had to yell across the bar at people before, though. I was cocktail waitressing here, though, one night when a bartender ran down the street after a guy. And the guy lived right around here and went upstairs to his apartment and he chased him up the stairs. He was pissed. I’ve never seen him run like he ran after that guy down the street. The guy had run a tab on a credit card and swiped the card, but then left without signing the receipt.