Get Smart about appeasing bartenders

by Cyle Talley

Tending bar ain’t for the weak of heart, and it ain’t just a cheap way to get drunk on the job, either. Let Angie Davis of El Rancho Tavern tell you what it’s like to serve your drunk ass every weekend.

The place is packed and things are wild. How do I get a bartender’s attention?

Eye contact. Usually, a bartender has a system. We’re not just back there shootin’ guns, randomly picking whoever. We see who comes in and we definitely try to serve in that order. Don’t wave your damn finger, that will definitely not help you at all.

What’s your system for keeping things straight?

The Ranch has a really long bar, and on a busy night, there’re two of us, so I draw my line and then typewriter back and forth. Those are the fun nights. You’re just hittin’ it hard.

Anything a person can do to be “missed”?

Waving your hand, definitely. Putting money on the bar isn’t going to help, either. Like, obviously you’re going to pay for the drink, douche. Those are usually the people who don’t tip.

Insider tricks to ordering?

It’s different because The Ranch is, you know, divey. Step up and order what you want. If you see that I’m busy, don’t try to have a conversation with me. I want to get you served and then serve the next person so that we’re all having a good time.

How much do bartender’s hate credit cards?

We don’t hate credit cards. We hate running credit cards a bunch of times. We don’t want to run it every time you want a drink – just leave the tab open. It’s so much easier on everyone. My coworkers are going to be stoked that’s going into print.

On that note, what are some common bartender pet peeves?

Whenever someone asks me, ‘What should I drink?’ or ‘What’s good?’ Everything’s good, dude. You’re at a bar!

What’s the drink you secretly judge people for?

Margaritas. But mostly because they make so many dishes. Martinis, whatever. We rarely make them at The Ranch, so I’m always sort of impressed. Literally, just the other day, this big biker dude with long hair ordered a Grey Goose dirty martini. At least he knows what he wants and isn’t like, ‘What should I have, girlie?’ I’m a bartender. That’s what I do – I make drinks. I’ll do anything you want. I’m here to help you have a good time.

Anything a customer can say to get a little extra booze in their drink?

I always pour the 1.5 ounces. Always. [Winks] OK, OK, sometimes a friend walks up, or I’m talking with somebody and they say something that makes me laugh, or gets me going. If they’re personable, I might give a little extra splash, but come on, I’m going to make the drink the way I’d want to drink it myself. Which is the right way!

The Ranch is known as the place nights go to end, the proverbial last stop –

Are you going to ask me the craziest thing I’ve ever seen?

Of course I am.

You see a lot, but it’s not as bad as you’d imagine it. People are usually pretty good about getting cut off. They look at you with that half grin, ‘OK, yeah. I’ve had enough.’

What’s your favorite Drunkism?

I really like what I call The Tornado. That swaying in a circle. That’s the one that makes me giggle every time.

What’s the feat of drinking that’s impressed you most?

One time, I saw a kid on his birthday drink Three Wise Men. Jack, Jim, Jameson and Jose mixed. Four of ’em. He drank them in a row, but this girl set ’em up on her chest, ’cause she had a … a really large chest. He literally didn’t even use his hands. He took every single one off her chest, all mouth, like boop boop boop boop. That’s a lot of booze. I was like, “Good job, dude, but now you’re done for the night!”

Best and worst things that’ve been said to you.

Well, I’m a big, big chested woman, so any time anybody says anything about my chest, I’m like, ‘Duh. Thanks. I know. What can I get you to drink?’ That’s the worst. The best? I really like when people tell me that I’m doing a good job. You can get a lot of negativity from the other side of the bar sometimes. You know, there’s 50 people on one side all wanting something, and only one of you on the other. So it’s great to hear that you’re killin’ it and doin’ a good job.

Cyle Talley


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