After a few drinks, people will say just about anything without any filter. It's no surprise that bartenders have heard some pretty crazy things while slinging drinks behind the bar...especially things the didn't want to hear in the first place. These bartenders took to Reddit to share the most outrageous things they've heard while working. Let's just some people really can't keep it together. Content has been edited for clarity.
"This guy comes in, probably early 30's, and starts pointing at the bottle on the shelf.
Man: 'What’s that?'
Man: 'I’ll have one.'
I give him a shot.
He does it again. 'What’s that?'
Man: 'Cool, let me get one.'
I’m starting to question whether or not this dude has ever drank before, but he’s 30, so surely he has. I pour him a glass.
He sees someone order a smoked old fashioned. As I’m making it, he goes 'I’ll have one of those too, please.' At this point, I know I need to start asking questions. I make him the drink and start the small talk. He starts getting very political very quickly...and then he starts talking about how people who are crossing the border illegally and ruining our economy aren’t worth the dirt under his feet and that they deserve to be dealt with. He says God will smite them for ruining the economy and lowering the value of the dollar. Actual psycho talk.
I walk away, gather the crew in the back, and tell them to watch this guy. I’ve never felt unsafe at a bar before, but this was the time. They all thought I was crazy, he seemed like a normal dude, etc.
I was afraid to stop pouring him drinks, but I manned up and told him that he’s a little overserved and that I can’t serve him anymore. He got irate, stood up, and took his shirt off. I was ready to freaking pounce on him the second he made any type of move. I almost did, but then I realized he was just trying to get his jacket off because he was hot and wasted. He wasn't armed, we were good. He sat back down. His mother showed up and started lecturing him on what God would want him to do. 'God wouldn’t want you to drink, God wants you to mind your mother, and I’m your mother, do as I say.' She started preaching to him, loudly. Quoting scripture, etc. So, right off the get-go, I knew why this guy is crazy. She was crazy.
His response was that in some book of the Bible, God actually commended one of his servants that disobeyed his parents. He didn’t just say it, he yelled it. Then he started yelling, 'GET OUT! GET THE EFF OUT!'
I told him he needed to pay his tab. Oh boy. The tab was $60. He only had $20. He tried to give me someone else’s card. It declined. He said, and I quote, 'You’re gonna regret that. You’re gonna pay for that,' ....because his card declined. I told him to give me the $20 and we'd be square, but he’d have to leave. He didn’t.
His mother, luckily, had called the cops and they showed up. They showed up, she knew he was supposed to be in a facility, but they were trying to see if he would be non-violent outside of the facility. He wasn’t. As far as I know, he went back the next day.
I’ll never forget that."
"I live in a quiet little town. Most of the bar patrons are local residents who come in after work to hang out and chat. I went in early and started prepping the bar. The bar usually opens at 4, but I just left the doors unlocked when I came in at 3:00.
It was dead empty and I had the music cranked. Then, I heard the bell of the front door. The door was backlit, but the figure that occupied it was blocking most of it. As he stepped into the bar, I could see him more clearly. Imagine an Armani suit draped over a mountain.
'Kingpin...' I said to myself.
He steps in, and with a heavy Sicilian accent, he asks,'You open?' Before I could answer, four similarly attired 'gentlemen' came through the door. They put together two of the four tops and sat down. A few minutes later, another group arrived. There were greetings and hugs and some long side glances.... and I stood there like a freaking streetlamp.
These guys were all older, 50+, pretty brutal looking, with those cold, calculating eyes.
Eventually, one of the guys came up and asked for the whole bottle of Remy Martin, the top shelf bottle that had been gathering dust for 5 years.
'Sure, let me dust it–'
'Just give me the bottle.'
And he plunked down ten $100 bills that looked like they were fresh from the mint. I got him eight glasses and he said he only needed seven. 'The boss wants water.'
The entirety of the conversation was conducted in what I believe to be Italian, but the accents were so thick, I could only pick up a few words. I had my headphones on because I didn’t wanna die in case they thought I was listening.
They stayed for about an hour, left a $100 tip on the table, and didn’t cause any trouble. One of the guys even put the tables back where they were before they left."
"I speak both English and French, so the best parts of my day are when French guests come in and think they’re safe speaking to one another since they’re in a predominantly English city.
But no one is safe.
It’s the most satisfying feeling ever, when halfway through service, I bust out the French and get their scared and shocked reactions depending on the conversations they’ve been having.
Sometimes I’ve interjected when they’re blatantly commenting on me. One time a man was speaking to his colleague about how trashy I looked with the tattoos on my arms because I had a pretty face and nice figure and had the potential to be really beautiful. Which is fine, because to each their own. I don’t expect to be everyone’s cup of tea. It was the fact that they assumed I couldn’t understand they were commenting while I was standing in front of them, presenting them with their food. That made me mad.
At the end of the meal, I ended up walking over with a piece of paper that had a tattoo shop name and their phone number written on it. I smiled and gave it to him and said, in French, 'My tattoo artist is very talented, I’m sure with a little work, you’d have the potential to be really beautiful, too.' He was shocked, and didn’t know what to say. I thanked him for coming in, grabbed the cash he’d left on the table and didn’t bother returning with the change. They left and I haven’t seen them since.
Another time, I overheard a small group of friends debating over what one of my tattoos actually was. It’s the drawing from Shel Silverstein’s poem 'Masks,' but the guesses were Stonehenge, Pink Floyd’s album cover for Meddle, and the Easter Island statues. It’s usually pretty fun to see how people interpret the art I’ve chosen to display on my body."
"I was 20 when I started my first bartending job. I was and am a very small girl. I'm 5'1, small framed, and petite. I'm not the kind of girl who can fight off a bunch of men. It was a huge nightclub, but had a smaller 'sports bar' tucked into the back. This place was always nearly empty even if the rest of the club was packed because no one goes to that type of club for the kind of vibe the 'sports bar' had. There was also only ever one bartender working. Since, I was the new girl, I got the dead bar.
Anyway, while working one night, I overheard two older men talking about me. This place had booths and I don't think they realized I was on the other side wiping off tables. They were very confidently and descriptively discussing 'taking me' after my shift by following me to my car, grabbing me and throwing me in the back of their truck. The main point of contention seemed to be whether or not I'd scream and whether that would draw attention. They could use a knife and tell me they'd kill me if I screamed, they said.
To say I was terrified would be an understatement. I grabbed the nearest person I could who worked there, who happened to be the club owner and a personal friend of my father (which is how I got the job). I'm sure any of my co-workers would have immediately called the cops as well, but I think because he knew me and my family personally, he took it super seriously and nearly shut down every exit in the place. He called the cops and had four bouncers brought out and had them stand outside the exit of my little area. When the two would-be kidnappers noticed, they immediately tried to leave and were told by the bouncers, 'You're not going anywhere.' When the cops arrived the two were arrested for uttering threats, causing a disturbance, assaulting an officer, and maybe something else? It was a long time ago, but I remember those three charges.
My boss/owner sent me home right away (it was still pretty early in the night, I think around 11:30) and paid me $250 cash to 'make up for any tips I would lose out on,' which I was ecstatic about because I would never have made anything near that in my little dead corner bar. I was walked to my car by a bouncer every night after that. Previously, it had been 'hey, if you want one of us to walk you to your car, just ask,' but the owner made it mandatory for all the female employees to be walked to their cars. Because this place was HUGE, literally the biggest club in town, there were more then enough bouncers and the bouncers were all super nice guys who were happy to do it. The guys were banned from that club and a few others in town since they were all owned by the same guy. Basically they had photos of them up and also as soon as their ID was scanned at any club or bar owned by the same guy, they'd be denied entry."
"I occasionally cover shifts at a very college-y bar. All the bartenders are in low cut shirts and we serve a lot of fruity shots and Long Island Iced Teas. Two stories stand out to me:
1. An older married couple came in around 9 pm. I let them know it was about to get really loud and crazy with a bunch of barely-21 kids. They said they didn’t mind and that it was 'date night.' They chatted with me for a bit, showed me pictures of their adorable daughter, tipped well. Fast forward to a couple hours later: the wife had been grinding on the husband all night, then they came back to the bar to order shots. They started making out again and he popped one of her lady lumps out of her low-cut top and was fondling her while falling all over the bar. They had a great time and left holding hands with her chest still exposed. I guess it was cute?
2. Same college bar. A bunch of fratty boys came in and ordered shots from me right away. One guy goes, 'Looks like a buncha easy girls in here tonight. Game on, boys.'
I immediately stopped pouring their drinks and asked him to repeat what he said and that I didn’t appreciate his problematic language in reference to women. He instantly backpedaled and his friends made excuses for him, saying things like, 'Sorry, he’s already wasted, he didn’t mean it, etc.' I told him I couldn’t serve him if he was already wasted, so the boys made him apologize to me directly and promise not to get up to anything shady. I had security keep an eye on them the rest of the night, but they were relatively harmless.
Also other stories about countless dating app dates, couples fighting, talking about substances, etc. Never a dull moment behind the bar!"
"I worked at a speakeasy style bar where people thought thin curtains were soundproof. Also nobody sits with a pillow on their lap normally, you're not fooling anyone.
The funniest one was when this guy from one of those sugar daddy websites brought not one but TWO girls half his age on a date and just filled them with drinks. Despite the craft drink environment, they sucked down 5 lemon drops apiece and had 3 rounds of shots. After two lemon drops, I FINALLY convinced them to try something different, which was basically a raspberry lemon drop variation.
For being barely over 100 pounds, these girls could hang. The whole conversation was them sitting down while this guy talked about traveling to capital cities around the world. He talked about expensive cars he'd driven, expensive stuff, and just pretty much held a conversation that anyone else would take up a religion if they didn't have one just so they could pray for this depraved soul.
There's a little foyer that we need to stand in to unlock the big wooden door for people when letting them out of the bar. There was a way the girls were standing so they could see me and him, but he and I couldn't see each other. I look at them with a very subtly tongue-in-cheek look and said, '...So did y'all have fun?' while flicking my eyes toward the guy in the booth. They both burst out in giggles.
As they were leaving, the guy was saying very loudly how great it was. I told them to come back any time and he shouts back, 'Yeah we will buddy, if you see them, look for me.'
Sure thing, dude."
"I was a bartender at a hotel bar. We had all sorts of interesting folks come through.
One time a group of guys, of varying ages, all came down and took the biggest table. No big deal, it was a slow night. They proceeded to reach in their bags and set up a game of Dungeons and Dragons and start playing, accents and all. I distinctly remember something about Bob the Necromancer. The other guests thought it was funny and interesting, so I figured no harm no foul and let them play all night.
Later in the night, the same guys still playing, we witnessed some guy with a gold robot head made of cardboard go running by the main window of the bar. He was wearing the gold robot head, shoes, and nothing else. The cops arrived shortly after and we all had to give statements. The cops proceeded to interrogate me about the D&D players because 'they like to dress up in weird costumes, right?' I told the cops that the guys hadn't left the table all night. One member of the adventuring party bid the cops farewell, in character.
Another time, I had a camera crew show up and start setting up. They were apparently with some ghost hunting show and were checking to see if we were haunted. I guess the owner had put them up to it (No press is bad press?). So I let them do their thing.
Apparently we were 'super haunted' (not the exact words they used), but the episode never made it to air. They ended up finding a secret crawlspace which was pretty cool, but it was completely empty."
"People don’t realize that we can generally hear everything you’re saying, regardless of how loud it is. The speakers are usually positioned to the outside of the bar so we can hear.
This girl I used to work with at a different establishment years ago kept insisting that 'I hated her' to her friends for over five minutes. Which isn’t true, I just don’t particularly like her, but I was very polite.
So I turn around and address her in front of her friends and say, 'I know you don’t realize that I can hear you, but I don’t hate you.' I made it very uncomfortable for her and her friends laughed.
There have been multiple times that she’s come in that I tried to bridge the awkward and uncomfortable gap because she comes in pretty often. It’s my job to make everyone feel positive, my income relies on it. She’s always the one that’s been rude (which is why I don’t particularly like her) and I had enough.
One time she was crying hard at the bar, I bring her a water and a few napkins without her asking and without saying anything or even looking at her too much—instead of kicking her out which is what I normally do in this situation. She scoffs 'okay' and rolled her eyes and ignores me for the rest of the time she’s there when I ask if she needs anything.
Calling her out was my way of being passive aggressive to her. I wish I could have recorded her face. It was the perfect way to get back at her because that’s just the type of person she is.
I see roughly 200-500 faces and I manage 2-9 people a night, I don’t have the energy to actively hate someone. But speaking poorly of me...right in front of me for at least five minutes pushes my buttons and I’m not the type of person that quietly sits by.
She’s been nice ever since."
"I overheard two men, presumably in their 50’s, discussing their marriages. One was just oozing with enthusiasm and gratitude for his wife and family. For context: I typically am lost in my own thoughts/on autopilot much of the time bartending (long build times on fancy, expensive drinks), and likely miss lots of juice, but this man’s wholesome appreciation for what he had was remarkable. I made a point to listen.
As he wrapped up a brief story of a recent family vacation, his buddy segued into a recount of his own family’s recent trip (Hamptons... Martha’s Vineyard... something like that). He had zero emotion in the telling. His disillusionment was palpable.
He went on to describe, in some detail, utterly passionless love-making with his wife in their vacation home. It was obvious, even as a stranger, that he was trying to curry some sympathy from his friend. Some momentary silence. I ran some drinks down to service bar. I came back to their side of the bar just in time to hear the unhappy storyteller chuckle and say he should just find the physical stuff elsewhere. Another, shorter silence. I assumed he was looking for some sort of validation, of which he got none.
He then proceeded to deluge his friend with an inspired rationale for his recent online search for a casual bone. The happy friend was utterly silent, and I even turned to clock his facial expression, which was impassive. The long-quiet man drew a deep breath and let it exhale rather dramatically. He said, 'You’re not going to do that.' I gathered from this brief sentiment that he and the other man had been friends for some time, and, more than likely, their families knew one another.
He used the next few minutes to tactfully bring this other man back from the precipice of infidelity, before directing their collective attention back to the Sixers game on the bar’s one unremarkable little television.
This took place over a year ago, and I’ve seen neither man since, but this was the single encounter that helped me realize how bartenders get a very unique glimpse into the lives of people who use bars as meeting points and spirits as courage."
"They were talking about how and when to skip out on the bill. They were from South Coast of the UK and obviously thought their whispering was helping mask their very distinct accents. Their whole plan involved waiting for me to take my break.
So I took my break while one was in the loo, grabbed the GM, we walked out the back and round the front. Apparently, guy came back from the toilet, dropped a few quid for a tip on top of his unpaid bill and an unrelated card receipt. He shuffled off to the door with his mate and bags.
GM and I asked them if they had a great night, they said they had. As the second they stepped off the premises, we let them know we had overheard them.
I went back in, GM came in a few minutes later with about twice the bill in notes. I cashed them off and asked what to do with the left overs. It was a tip earned for kindly not calling the police."
"I manage a bar in a busy tourist town in Ireland. TWO elderly American ladies or (Yanks as we collectively called them) were sitting at the bar drinking Ketel One and soda. These women must have been in their 80's. They were gossiping in thick Lois Griffin Rhode Island accents about their neighbors in the retirement village back home.
One of the ladies suddenly got quite upset and angry at what the other lady was saying and screamed, 'IF MY EUGENE WAS STILL ALIVE, HE WOULD SHACKLE HIM TO OUR GARAGE DOOR AND SHOVE HIS FORTY-FIVE UP HIS REAR AND WOULDN'T HESITATE FOR A MOMENT TO PULL THE TRIGGER.'
The other lady nodded in agreement.
The screaming lady then screamed, 'HECK MURIEL, I WOULD DO IT MYSELF. THAT POOR GIRL NEVER COULD HAVE CHILDREN. SHE HAD IT COMIN TO HER THE FILTHY BROAD.'
With all that, I had to ask them politely to keep it down or leave. I wish I knew the whole story."