3 Things You're Doing Wrong At A Cocktail Bar, According To New York Bartenders

cocktail bar interior
cocktail bar interior - Alexander Imagery/Shutterstock

If you're a cocktail bar regular, you probably think you've got the routine locked and loaded. You aren't pushy if it's a crowded night, you smile, have good banter with the bartender, and always leave a good tip. But, what if you're doing something wrong? What if there's part of your cocktail bar routine that you assume is all well and good, but to the person behind the bar is a big no-no? You may think you're an expert in cocktail bar etiquette, but there's always room for improvement.

We wanted to get the most helpful insight into what patrons are doing wrong at cocktail bars. So, we talked to the people who see it all day and night: the people behind the bar.

We chatted with Sidney Williams, Bar Director for Officina 1397 Hospitality Group, and Mike Vacheresse, bartender at Travel Bar in Brooklyn, New York, for some sage behind-the-bar wisdom on what they see customers often doing wrong when they sidle up to the bar. From a lack of adventurous imbibing to questioning cocktail ingredients, we see these insights as lessons on improving the experience overall. If you or someone you know needs a crash course on what not to do at a cocktail bar, we have the tips to guide you toward the perfect cocktail bar etiquette.

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

Not Being Adventurous

friends cheersing multiple drinks
friends cheersing multiple drinks - View Apart/Shutterstock

No matter where you go, every cocktail bar menu is different. Whenever you can check out a place you've never been, or even if your regular watering hole adds some new drinks to the menu, trying something new occasionally is a great way to expand your horizons. For Mike Vacheresse, "having a preconceived notion of what you want to drink before you arrive and not being adventurous" is a classic mistake people make when going to a cocktail bar.

Similarly, despite being around cocktails and spirits regularly, Sidney Williams continues to be outgoing and adventurous in his boozy endeavors. "If I'm researching things, I'll try anything that catches my interest."

So, how can this mistake be remedied? First, before you go into repetition mode and rattle off the drink you order every time, check to see if the cocktail bar you're at has a signature cocktail menu. Typically, this menu will feature brainchildren of the bar staff and seasonal drinks like refreshing summer cocktails that aren't on the regular menu, so if there's any time to be adventurous, this is your opportunity. Additionally, if you want to go outside your normal drink routine but aren't sure where to start, ask the bartender. They're a wealth of knowledge and will help point you toward something new and exciting to add to your cocktail repertoire.

Drinking Too Much And Behaving Inappropriately

unwanted drunk affections
unwanted drunk affections - Estradaanton/Getty Images

We've all seen "that" person in a bar before. They've been over-served, and it shows. They're loud, inappropriate, and can make your delightful night out a real downer. One thing our experts recommend not doing when out for the night at a cocktail bar? Being "that" person yourself.

Sidney Williams has a list of the traits that come with being "that" person, including customers who are vaping, guests who are arguing and/or crying, and men who are aggressively pursuing a woman or just generally disturbing other guests. "You will know by the look and body language of the person being bothered," he said. If you notice an unusual amount of side eye in your direction at the bar, check yourself because you may be falling into "that" person territory.

The best way to avoid being "that" person? In addition to our definitive guide to the do's and don'ts of ordering at a bar, we've got some additions to save you from embarrassment. First, know your limits when it comes to imbibing. Cocktails tend to be stronger than a beer or glass of wine, so knowing when to cut yourself off will guarantee you don't become that drunk and disorderly customer. However, if you intend to burn the midnight oil and stay until closing time, Manhattan in hand, treat yourself to a full glass of water after each cocktail to keep yourself from getting too drunk to function.

Going Rogue With Cocktail Ingredients

two cocktails on a wooden table
two cocktails on a wooden table - Dudits/Getty Images

We've spent a lot of time at cocktail bars -- for research purposes, of course -- and one thing that remains consistent is that at the end of the day, the bartender is your friend. With that in mind, an element of trust needs to be had with that bartender. They know what they're doing, and to question them regarding ingredients or techniques is challenging the expert at their craft.

For Sidney Williams, a common mistake he sees at cocktail bars is just that: requesting vodka instead of the spirit in a craft cocktail. He cites a specific example of asking for vodka in a Tequila Daisy instead of tequila. While you may prefer to mix up your signature cocktails in the privacy of your home bar, chances are if a cocktail is listed on a menu with specific ingredients, it's for a reason. Ultimately, this comes back to trust: Trust that the bartender designed that cocktail with the ingredients listed for a reason. If you like the sound of a cocktail on the menu but aren't satisfied with the ingredient list or are unsure about which spirit you want, ask the bartender for their suggestions. They're the experts, after all.

If you find yourself searching for a great cocktail bar in New York City, be sure to check out our list of the top 20 cocktail bars in the Big Apple, or if you're a fan of bourbon these 25 New York bourbon bars will be right up your street.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.