Owning A Bar – Bar Tending – Drink Recipes

Bar Owners Drinking


Bar Owners drinking in their bar


is one heck of a subject.
I have been a bar owner and a bartender — so I know both sides of this issue.
I feel that it is fine for an owner to drink, (most of them do) as long as they do it with a bit of class. Unfortunately, that is not always what happens, !!! Some bar owners — when they are drunk — can be their employees worst nightmare !!!


I cannot tell you how many times I have seen bar owners absolutely drunk on their butts.


Every bar I worked in had owners that drank. Some could handle themselves pretty well and others — well let’s just say it was not always fun !!! It was quite an adventure at times though !!!  Like playing tug-of-war with my boss and her bottle of wine. Me trying to take it away, her begging for just one more drink. It was kind of funny — but I won  that battle. It was after last call — so I told her NO NO NO !!! She gave in … for a change !!!


I am sure if you go to bars, you have seen an owner or two pretty messed up.


Sometimes it can be a good time had by all — but many times it can be just downright awful. Especially when the owner gets drunker and drunker. Then gets louder and louder, then gets meaner and meaner or just down right obnoxious !!! Maybe the drunk bar owner gets way to carried away flirting with customers to the point of embarrassment for all.


Then how does a bartender cut their boss off ???

Not as easy as it should be — at least not in my experiences !!!


I remember short pouring the boss


many many times. That can’t be done very well if they are wine or beer drinkers.  Then you as the responsible bartender need to get creative. (Especially if you really do like your boss)


For instance, one thing I use to do is try to act busy and try to just avoid the bosses insistence of another drink. Usually that didn’t work very well though – Because the boss would come behind the bar and get their own drink anyway !!! I would get the dirty look !!!


Often times I would try to get the boss to eat

try to anyway. Give her chips or peanuts or a sandwich. I would just shove food at her in hopes it would soak up some of the booze. Coffee was always prepared. Not always drank by the boss, but I would give her some anyway. I have had bosses that didn’t drink coffee. I hated that. Coffee and food do help, believe me it does.


OK now here is the thing, if you are a bar owner and you drink to the point of being a problem for your employees and your customers — WELL — SHAME ON YOU !!! Not only will you lose customers, and possibly lose damn good bartenders — you are also drinking up your profits!!! Now how absolutely stupid is that?


Talking to the boss


about their getting to drunk is a difficult conversation, to say the least. I do remember talking to more than one boss about this very subject when they were sober. For some owners it was not a big deal to be able to talk to them about their insane time the night before. It could even lead to a good laugh. Especially if the boss is hung-over. However, there are those bar owners who basically tell you to deal with it, or they just don’t want to hear about it. So it all boils down to the type person you work for. A nice boss or an absolute jerk !!!


At bar meetings


the subject came up plenty. Usually the boss would just want to blow off the whole subject. But, if we all insisted on talking about it, they would promise to be better. Yeah Right !!! If anything, they would just get worse.



Now for you bartenders


if you have a boss that is one of those obnoxious types when he drinks, and you have just had enough, then my advice is — cut him off!!! One of two things can happen. He will either accept or not. But it is your right to cut him off. Now will you have a job after you do? That is something you will find out. When I cut my bosess off, I would either get threatened to be fired or told just give me a damn drink or whatever. The main thing is I usually got called the next day and apologized to. I even got asked many times “Who do they need to apologize to?” “Were they really that bad?”  Stuff like that.


Now if a bar owner is absolutely impossible


and is forever getting drunk and gets all mean and nasty or treating you just wrong … do yourself a favor and QUIT !!! I did – and it felt GREAT !!!!!!


Reasons owners drink in their bar


are several. Some are just total alcoholics and that is the worst !!! I know of one bar owner that got so many DUI’s because the cops would just wait for his bar to close and follow his fancy car when he left. Well I can tell you the police knew that he would be drunk. It was just ridiculous. He ended up losing his bar after several DUI’s … which was a good thing !!! If you work for one of those alcoholic bar owners, I feel so sad for you !!! Try telling one of those owners they can’t drink in their own bar. You would be out a job. Then again, maybe that would be a good thing for you.


Drinking with customers


Through my own experience, I found that customers love the owner to drink with them. I am not much of a drinker — however, I would drink in my bar every now and then. My customers loved it when I drank with them, because I was the kind of owner that gave out lots of drinks when I was feeling no pain. haha My bartenders loved it too. I didn’t drink in the bar very often. But when I did … I was fortunate enough to have bartenders watch my back. I even remember one of my bartenders telling the other bartenders “no drinks get given away unless I OK it.”  She knew me well … the light weight bar owner — that gave away her bar damn near when I decided to party. It really helps to have employees watching out for you. It is also good NOT to be much of a drinker.
Oh be careful on giving away drinks, in some places it is illegal to give away drinks. That is another subject though.


Customers can be an issue at times


because they always want you to sit and have drinks with them. Well I learned that some customers get upset if you won’t party with them. So I had to handle that with finesse. Told them I had to much work to do, or my head hurt or I just couldn’t handle drinking right then, maybe in a little while. Stuff like that.


So, I would say that most bar owners do drink and some to the point of ridiculous. It is a difficult thing to cut off a bar owner. There are many ways to handle it though.
Hopefully if you own a bar or want to own a bar, you will be smart enough not to act a fool. Treat your employees and your customers with respect and they will treat you the same. Most of them anyway !!!

Print Friendly

12 Responses to Bar Owners Drinking

  • Bar owners drinking in their bar is a BAD plan. Bartenders drinking at work or on duty is even a worse plan. While it all may be fun and games when it’s going on, I can honestly say that in the past 30 years I’ve never seen that kind of thing end well.

    I suppose the extreme would be a man I worked for, who when tanked would start off by accusing his wait staff and bartenders of stealing from him and then that would escalate him into physically picking fights with his customers. Just punching them to see if they would punch back. He was a nut job indeed. Then he would complain about his business falling off. At one point he was raking in a whopping 145.00 per 12 hour shift. Yup it was that bad. After pretty much banning him from his own bar within 2 weeks that figure rose to 8500.00 for a 12 hour shift.

    It wasn’t easy, I had to get his wife and family to ground him. He wasn’t happy with me, at first anyway.

    In my state, who ever is behind the bar is the one legally responsible for everything that goes on IN the bar. Not the owner even if they are there.

    • Hi Rain
      First of all I am sorry it took so long for me to comment back to you — I think I must have approved it and then went brain dead and forgot to comment. So sorry about that.
      One thing that ruins a bar is a bar owner being a pain in the butt. I don’t know where you work, what state, but the law is the bartender is responsible ? I like that, then again it could be bad if the owner causes problems. It could get real ugly I am sure? Thanks for great comment, and again – I feel bad about such a late reply. 🙁

  • Interesting read, our local pub is a disaster – originally by an alcoholic woman who drank until she had to place the bar into liquidation, one of her sons then took over the business and now works everyday with his mother still living abive the bar and drinking in it every day whilst her other son now drinks with her too – all the while no one controls the akcohol abuse and its getting worse every day, last week a young lad put his head through a window there cos they allowed him to drink so much that day he went completely binkers and when the police called out the next day to question what happened – they spoke to the mother who proclaimed the young lad was hooked on alcohol and a touble maker!! Appears no one is shutting them down – furthermore her husband drinks with her after his work each night and together they run the darts leagues and during the day she babysits her grandkids all the while with a glass of vodka close at hand! And no one can seem to see or do anthing to stop the destruction she is causing to her family and to innocent well paying customers.

    • Hi Edward
      Wow — that sounds like a catastrophe waiting to happen. I sure hope someone does something about it soon. Sounds like a big mess to me. Bummer for the customers. I am surprised they have any customers come to think of it. :o( Nothing worse than a drunk owning a bar. Geezzzzz
      Thanks for writing Edward.
      Take Care,

  • good comments and advice. I was an alcoholic bar owner-its a lose lose lose. lose for your employees, customers and yourself..

    • Hi John
      Thank You for your comment — and yes an alcoholic bar owner is a losing situation for all. Some owners just don’t see the harm they are doing to their selves and everyone concerned.
      Hope all is good with you now.
      Take Care

  • Don’t get high on your own supply!

    In 7 years of bar ownership I have only had three drinks in my bar (doesn’t count sampling new recipes or doing quality checks). I don’t allow my employees to drink on the job. If I am in my bar I am working, so it would be hypocritical for me to sit there and get wasted. Instead, if I want a drink or two I go to other local bars and socialize a bit. It lets me keep in touch with other owners and is good for marketing too.

    We are in a small town. If I really want to tie one on, I go at least two counties away. I don’t need stories about what I did coming back to haunt me!

    • HI Barbara
      I agree completely — there is nothing worse than a bar owner in their business drunk on their butts. I have seen it time and time again. It is not a nice thing to see or put up with when you are an employee working for your drunk boss.
      Thanks for your comment — excellent !!!

  • I have only drank twice at my bar. Once was a surprise birthday party for me and I agreed that if I were going to drink, I needed 2 chaperones. One was a friend and the other was one of the bouncer’s wife. Their job was to get me out of there if I became an ass.

    Usually when my patrons want to drink with me or buy me a drink – I thank them but tell them. “I wish I could buddy, but I gotta stay sober. I sometimes give people a ride home if we cant get a taxi here and if I get a DUI they could take my liquor license. Then we would all have to find another place to drink.” That usually gets me out of it with a hand shake and everyone feeling good.

    • Hi Tony
      Thank You for commenting, and I love your ideas.
      You sound like you are one of the bosses that I wish I had sometimes when I was a bartender.
      Great advice. Thanks so much.

  • Great post, really enjoyed it!
    — Christy


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I give away a huge amount of free information on this site and I also promote some third party products. I will not recommend anything that I haven't used or needed or find to be of significant value. Yes - Sometimes I receive a commission when these products are purchased from this site. Once again, I do not or will not promote anything that is not useful or valuable.