A Bartender Explains How the Way You Pay for Drinks Says A Lot About You

Twice a month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau pops by Stick A Fork In It to chime in about a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

Work in The Biz long enough and it’s gonna ruin how you deal with the general public. (I’m not talking about the fact that you’ll probably not want to deal with them at all if you don’t have to.) Put in your time slinging drinks or running tables and you’ll turn into a veritable Obi-Fucking-Wan-Kenobi when it comes to reading people. There’s stuff you pick up on quick as a bartender—like who’s already wasted/shouldn’t be served, the couple on the awkward first Tinder hookup and the 50-something-year-old guy posted up at the bar, nervously looking around to see if anyone notices that the bombshell brunette he’s with isn’t his wife (who’s probably at home calling a family law attorney anyway). I’m talking about more subtle behaviors, like which cocaine cowgirl really has all the blow in the building and who is creepy-hover guy trolling for some (any really) chick at the bar. Whether you realize it or not, how you pay for your booze on a night out also says a lot about who you are and what you do for a living. Inside scoop? Drumroll…


Keep Your Money in Your Shoe? STRIPPER

Working gals don’t have a lot of pockets and I’ve never seen one use any of their orifices as an ATM (that would be either totally gross or totally epic by the way!) so they have to make do with a folded stack of bills in their Pleaser or Ellie 5 inch heels. It’s a great system and that stripper perfume hides the foot smell. Just watch out for the glitter when handling their cash; your gal back at home might not believe you were just doing your job.

Pay with Lots of Fives? SERVER

Let’s face it: servers tip out their bussers/food runners with singles and usually leave with a pocket full of 5s and 10s with a few stray 20s thrown in. If I get someone at the bar that’s coughing up those medium-sized bills I know it’s a server for sure. Hopefully they are gonna be less high maintenance than the rest of the bar crowd, but I bet they tip better. By the way, servers never use plastic until their cash is long gone and they are straight-up blackout city. And, oh, that hangover the next day? It’s a doozy!

Hand Me a Wad of Singles? VALET

Valets are stuck with the dollar bills but they get a lot of exercise, right?! Unless they are parking Bentleys at The Center Club, Las Brisas or some other Newport Coast-esque entitlement fiesta, they probably aren’t getting much more than two bucks for each jog across the street. So it’s inevitable they will show up with a stack of ones to buy that shot of Jameson and bottle of Stella.



I see these people once in a while and wonder: Did they really earn that black slab of metallic self-importance? Or is it daddy’s company card and kiddo just got promoted to Junior VP of West Coast Customer Relations or some other bullshit title? That card looks and feels like the obelisk from 2001: A Space Odyssey and it’s a Kubrickian mystery how a 22-year-old kid gets one on his own. If they invented some new piece of surf gear, just sold their garage-based snowboard company for 3 million, rocked a new clothing line or are some sort of music publishing genius, more power to them. Sadly, it’s usually some spoiled brat that is throwing around the “get it done now” card.

Flip Flops and 100 Dollar Bills? DRUG DEALER

I can spot this guy a mile away. Spicoli shorts, wax pen and a wad of 100s just screams trouble and I can’t believe every cop in the world doesn’t drag this guy out of his car for a chat. In my bar? Well, I know what you are up to pal! So watch it……..

Accidentally Hand Me a Dave and Busters or Vons Club Card? YOU ARE ALREADY WASTED

Nothing screams “you are cut off” more than this and I’m shocked you made it past the bouncer out front. If you are so faded you really think you are gonna pay with whatever credits are left on that D&B card that’s okay, you probably should be napping in your car though.

Roll with your Mom’s VISA? DIRTBAG

Listen kids: if you’re so broke you gotta swipe the folks card from home you should probably just stay there, get crippled high and rock the Xbox. Friday night FOMO is perfectly understandable, just don’t ask Mom to pay. And for sure you don’t want me dressing you down in front of your pals when I call you out, I’m merciless about it.

Sweat-Drenched Credit Card Pulled from your Bra? YOU ARE FROM BEAUMONT

When someone from the Lake Havasu/Layne Bryant crowd reaches into their slingshot bra and hands me their pre-moistened Discover card when opening a tab…well, sometimes it will make one want to wear a hazmat suit. Listen, I don’t keep my cards jammed in my perineum, nestled cozily up next to my balls. Don’t do likewise to me lest I grab your card with a cocktail napkin or, even worse, a pair of tongs.

Follow @ocweeklyfood on Instagram! And check out Dave’s podcasts: Memphis Mondays and Fat Drunk And Happy!


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