January 29, 2018 glimpse_team

How to Speak Bartender

Slang is used in many occupations. Doctors have codes to save time, lawyers have specific jargon, and the list goes on. Bartenders are no exception. The following bartender slang ranges from industry-wide to more localized words, but you’ll be surprised how often some are used.

  • B.A.– Barrel-aged beer.
  • Baby -A quickly taken small shot, usually comprised of beer.
  • Bartender’s handshake– Typically given for free, this small shot is a gift from one bartender to another when they are customers at their bar. This is usually a shot of Fernet-Branca.
  • Behind the stick – Night shift at the bar.
  • Beverage program – A fancy name for a bar’s menu of drinks. Beers, wines, liqueurs, and cocktails can all be found there. Great bars are described as having good “programs”.
  • Boomerang – A regular or trustworthy customer is used to relay this drink from one bartender to a bartender at another bar.
  • Build – This term is used to describe a cocktail that requires a specific order of construction. Complicated drinks need a bartender to build them.
  • Burning – A bar will “burn the ice” by pouring hot water onto the ice bucket for a couple reasons. First, if glass breaks they need to melt the ice to clean it out. Secondly, at the end of the night, the ice must be melted.
  • Cheaters – Ever see the cluster of unlabeled bottles on the bar or just behind the counter? These are called cheaters. Often bitters, syrups, and liquors that will be used often during a shift are kept close by.
  • Dancing – Bartenders and barbacks dance behind the bar to avoid knocking into each other.
  • Drain pour – This slang is used for a beer so bad that the only option is to pour it down the drain.
  • Dusties – A name given to bottles of liquor that haven’t been touched in a while. Whether they are expensive, odd or not necessary for cocktails, these bottles can gather dust.
  • Hazmat – Jargon for a barrel-proof and extremely alcoholic whiskey. Typically, this slang word is used for bourbons over 140-proof, but these can still be flavorful, yet hot drinks.
  • The Point – The end of the bar that is closest to the door. The best bartender should work in this spot.
  • Service Bartender – This bartender must prepare drinks for customers on the floor. More often than not, a service bartender is less friendly than their fellow bartenders.
  • Service Bar – The area of the bar where servers pick up drinks ordered by customers at tables.
  • Spec – In other words, a spec is a cocktail recipe. It can be as specific as quantities and ingredients, but when a bartender asks another for help, they will receive quantities quickly.
  • Sours – Sours is an umbrella term for any sour tasting beer: lambics, gueuzes, or American wild ales.
  • Staff Meeting – When the staff takes a round of shots during a shift.
  • Three-Deep – A busy bar where the crowd can be three-deep surrounding the bar.
  • Ticker – A beer drinker who is only in it for quantity. These customers enjoy flights or tastings and go for small quantities instead of savoring one good beer.
  • Till – Cash register.
  • Tinder Date -Two people, often on an actual Tinder date, who are very awkward in their interactions at the bar.

Whether you are a bar owner/manager or just a someone who enjoys bars, these slang terms are insightful and even funny. From the owner and management side of the industry knowing the ins and outs of the business is paramount. To further monitor interactions between your employees and customers, catch possible theft and learn more about what sells and what is hurting the bottom line, contact Glimpse. Their video analysis and bar management software will be the best decision you’ve ever made. 

Gif of bartender mixing drinks

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