Get some Bitchy Waiter in your email!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Neat vs. Straight Up

As a cocktail server, I am coming across many terms that I have never encountered before. Despite my eleventy-billion years of slinging food, some words have not made it into my lexicon. One of them was "back" when referring to a chaser. For example, "I'll have a shot of Jack with a ginger back." Okey dokey... In my three weeks at the new job, I have had three people order a "back" of something. Weird. Now, I was the first to admit that I was unaware of that bar term and just asked the first dude who ordered it what it was and it was no biggie. But last shift, someone clearly did not understand the bar term he was using and blamed it on me when his drink came out wrong.

Two people are waiting for the show to start and I go to take their order. The lady asks for some drink I have never heard of. It was called a Mazzarerk or some shit like that. I think bitch made it up or dreamed it. She asked me if I knew what it was and I told her no. "Well, does the bartender know what it is?" My telepathic powers were in the shop that day making me unable to read the bartender's mind so I had to to tell her that I didn't know if he knew what it was. "Well, it's made with rye," she says like that will jog my memory. Ohhh! A Mazzarerk made with rye! Now I remember! What a cunt. I tell her we have a barbook so we could look it up and she says that if the bartender has to look it up to make it, she doesn't want it. I dunno, I guess because then he would be following a recipe and that would somehow make it all wrong? She has to think about it. The ass wipe she is with says he wants a Maker's Mark, straight up with a ginger back. I tell him how I have just learned that word and how odd it was to have heard it for a third time in just a couple of weeks. "Well, it means a chaser." He said it all condescendingly like he should be so proud of his alcoholic knowledge. I assured him I knew what it was and tried to tell him that I've been waiting tables for eleventy-billion years but realized I didn't really give a shit. His boozehound lady friend says she'll have that too. Fine. Two Maker's Marks, straight up with two ginger backs.

Now, in my head, "straight up" means chilled and poured into a martini glass. If I ordered a margarita straight up, it would be chilled, shaken and poured into a martini glass. You can even Google and Wikepedia that shit, because that is what "up" means. I bring them their drinks and the guy looks at the glasses and moans. "No, no no...up! I don't want it shaken. Look, you can see it's got bits of ice in it and now it's all watered down. Up means just pour it right from the bottle into a glass, go it?? Up, up!"

"Oh, you mean neat then, not straight up." The asshole shut up. I got his Maker's Mark neat with his ginger back and placed it in front of him and walked away. He tried to ignore me for the rest of the shift but he wasn't really because it was me who was ignoring him. I got his second round and then gave him his check all the while thinking how I wanted to take that bottle of Maker's Mark and neatly shove it straight up his ass.



Cielo Gold said...

Sounds like that "cunt" wanted a Sazerac. It's a rye drink that gets an absinthe wash. But if she ordered a "Mazzerac", she clearly was confused on what she really wanted in the first place so I wouldn't be too worried.

I find it really humorous when people come into the bar (I'm a bartender) and think they know everything, but yet the way they order their drinks shows their true colors. Up versus neat is a great example.

The funniest is when people come in and tell me how much they love tequila. So when I ask them if they want a blanco, reposado or anejo, they look at me like a deer in headlights and are too afraid to ask me what the difference is. Honestly, if they love tequila so much, they would know.

I will never forget the time I had two old timers at my bar, one of them asking the other what the difference between whiskey and scotch was. The guy doing the explaining got the two mixed up so I stepped in and corrected them both. I got a fatty tip for that one!!

People, people, people. I educate my customers for entire shifts sometimes.

The Bitchy Waiter said...

Thank you, Kathleen, for clarifying what she was unable to articulate. Another great example is a twist versus a wedge, So many times people order a twist when the really don't want that.

Anonymous said...

Yeah neat and straight up are two different things. Like scotch neat and water back is totally different from a cocktail like a martini ordered straight up. On our squirrel system there is no modifier for neat so I have to put no ice. Crazy cause neat used to be used a lot way back when and back also.

BB said...

I had someone come into our bar the other night. It's a lot less classy than yours I'm sure because mine is a college bar. But it was parent's weekend and the parent's love to relive their youth. Anyway, this mom asked me to make her a drink that I had never heard of and then handed me her phone so that I could read the directions off it. If I was not extremely bored I would have told her we didn't have the ingrediants to make it, which is my usual response when I have no clue what they were talking about. But I was bored so I humored her.

TiffJ said...

I love with classist, wannabe pieces of doo-doo try to condescend to others, before doing their research.
Even I (someone who has never tended bar or worked in the food industry) know the difference between 'neat' and 'straight up.'
Nothing like a slap in the face with a correction, to shut that brand of trash up. Fake alckies.

That Anonymous Asshole said...

thats your bad actually. while he could have ordered it neat, and that would have solved all issues, 'straight up' usually means 'just pour it asshole' especially if they ordered makers mark. if they wanted it 'chilled' they would have ordered it that way. people drinking 'straight up' whisky and scotch dont do chilled typically.

you have to take context into account. an 'up' martini is more typically served chilled, sure. although not always, sometimes people drink that shit warm too.

anyway, contextually, you should have known to either not chill it, or to ask whether they wanted it chilled or not. most people dont want their straight up makers chilled. im just saying. thats all you. as the professional you should have known how to get them a good drink without making them feel stupid. you get better tips that way too.

Dustin said...

LOL.! since when does "straight up" usually mean "just poured out of a bottle"? that's what "neat" is.... it has nothing to with any "context". what are you talking about? anyone who has ever worked in a bar knows that straight up means chilled. that's not the bitchy waiter's bad, dude. it's yours. and it's not his job to read his customer's mind so that they can feel good about themselves after ordering a drink incorrectly.

you order a maker's mark neat. straight up only means neat if you're a hillbilly ordering shooters for your huntin' buddies.

Unknown said...

Ahhh, you've got to love people in the "service" industry who act like life would be great if it weren't for all these f*&king customers.
You wait tables or bartend for a living. Most people don't drink for a living and therefore might not get their orders perfect. When customers act like a$$holes, then I agree they deserve a good trashing. No one deserves to be disrespected.

It would be great if servers, yes servers, would find a decent way to help people make corrections without making them feel like jerks. Nothing like paying $12 for $2 worth of alcohol just to have your server give you a bunch of attitude because your drink order volume experience doesn't equal their drink order taking experience volume.
How about:
Customer: I'll take a Maker's Mark up
Waiter: (Kindly) In our bar, up means chilled. Would you rather have that neat, which would be room temperature?
Customer: Yes, that would be great. Thanks!
Your method of bringing me what I didn't really want and getting into a pissing match about it means I'm going to a different bar next time.

The Mini - Maker said...

From my layman's standpoint, I always thought "straight up" meant "right out of the bottle". Then again, I don't drink, nor do I (or have I) worked as a bartender or in the FS industry. Thanks for the interesting info!

Generic Viagra said...

Straight up is better, there's no doubt about that! neat is only for week people! seriously

sarita said...

Ah, Kelly, you have clearly never made an old man's well manhattan the very specific way he ordered it and then had said fossil treat you like an idiot because he had no idea what he actually wanted so you had to call over your manager to make this gross, cheap drink so you could resist telling him to go die already. Just for instance.

It's easy to say servers/bartenders should always be kind when you haven't spent 12 hours being treated like someone's mentally handicapped servant. Don't be a dick and I won't be a dick, it's really that simple.

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. Straight up means chilled in a martini glass. When you tell a bartender to make your drink straight up, you're telling them to chill it with ice. If you don't know what you're ordering then it's on you, not the bartender.

Anonymous said...

Other way around, dummy.

Anonymous said...

It really is that simple.

Kate said...

LOL. I'm not sure how you can write such a trashy, poorly articulated and condescending piece and pass it off as though you're some too-hot ~*~server~*~, and not know what a Sazerac is. Jesus H.

Ignorance is forgivable. Being condescending while you're being ignorant is less so.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Asshole & Kate have it right - it's all about context. 95% of the time if someone is ordering a whiskey shot "straight up", they mean really mean a neat shot. Yes, technically it's not the correct term, but part of the job is trying to get what people actually mean to order. Plus, it's not like this stuff is in the dictionary and is a hard & fast rule. Straight up applies more to cocktails such as martinis, Manhattans, gimlets, and any other that is also served on the rocks, more than it does to shots. You're saying "I want this chilled and without ice as opposed to being served with ice". If they want a chilled shot (which like I said, is almost never whiskey, generally more vodka or tequila) they will almost always say "chilled shot."

So yeah, save your snark for when YOU actually know what you're talking about. Oh, but you've been waiting tables for eleventy billion years? My, you're like, at the top of the shit pile.

Anonymous said...

From the bartender's point of view-
Bitchy was right. A drink served "up" or "straight up" is chilled, then strained. A drink served "neat" is poured directly from the bottle into a glass.
Also, a martini rant-
Do not look at me like I have 3 heads when you order a martini and I ask you if you want gin or vodka. Classic martinis are made with gin. AND VERMOUTH. Martinis, whether they be vodka or gin- have vermouth. Embrace it- try it once- it's delicious. If you don't want vermouth, it's not a martini. It's a spirit served "up". A drink poured into a martini glass does not a martini make. Also, a "dry" martini refers to it being made WITH dry vermouth. Not without.
Bitchy, you should really try a sazerac sometime. They are delicious. Next time you see an old bald guy in a vest behind the bar, ask him if he knows how to make one. You won't be disappointed.

Unknown said...

It's called a service job for a reason. You are supposed to anticipate the needs of your customers. So yes, while the customer is technically wrong, in all practicality, most bartenders these days know that when a drink is ordered straight up, the customer means for you to just f'in pour it in a shot glass so he can take it to the head. If he had just said 'up' then I'd be with you, but 'straight up' is more commonly used to mean neat these days. I dont care what your Wikipedia article says, you're a dumbass if you don't take it in context.

Anonymous said...

We know who says straight up when he means neat. Fighting this hard against someone who knows what they are talking about isn't a great choice because then it makes it obvious that you don't know what you're talking about. If I ordered a drink straight up and the bartender/waiter gave it to me neat because they were "anticipating the needs of their customer" I'd be pissed as hell and I'd make them redo it. Just because YOU say something incorrectly doesn't mean that EVERYONE does. Oh yeah, also, shove your nonexistent bartending experience up your ass.

The Customer said...

I must disagree with you Kathleen Neves. Just because someone loves tequila doesn't mean they must know anything at all about the aging process.

I am glad you educate your customers, I personally enjoy learning more about my drinks.

Anonymous said...

Growing up, I always heard it the other way around. The term "straight up" meant straight from the bottle, and "neat" meant chilled with ice and strained into a glass. Somewhere along the way, the two terms got switched.

That said, if you order a shot of Jack "straight up" and the bartender chills and strains it, your bartender is either clueless or an asshole. FACT.

Anonymous said...

@This guy above me.

You're probably thinking of "Straight".

Straight and Straight Up are not the same.

Straight is straight from the bottle (Neat)
Straight up is chilled and strained (Up)

Neat has always meant the same thing, so has straight and up..

Somewhere along the way, some jackass had the brilliant idea of using Straight and Up together in the same sentence.. Hence the confusion.

Straight up is an oxymoron. They contradict each other. So always clarify what the guest wants, because if they are ordering a Macallans 25 straight up and you serve them a chilled shot of Macallans. Then you're gonna have a bad time. (But if someone is ordering a Macallans 25, they probably know exactly how they want it).

Now if it's some college kid that wants some cheapo tequila straight up, chill that shit and throw it in a shot glass.

Anonymous said...

To the Bitchy Waiter ... If you've been "slinging food for eleventy billion years" and not slinging drinks for eleventy billion years! Personally, I think you been slingin for too long. Time to get out if shit like that is pissin u off enough to be writing about it! Seeeeee ya!

Jenni said...

And we always hope our fat tips express the gratitude and the recognition that educating us wasn't your job but you did it anyway and we came away better for it.

YOURDUMB said...

Beautifully said..... Ive bartended for many years. If you cant be nice to your customers (your bread n butter).... HELLO!!! find a new profession.

YOURDUMB said...

Beautifully said..... Ive bartended for many years. If you cant be nice to your customers (your bread n butter).... HELLO!!! find a new profession.

Anonymous said...

The most annoying thing for me, is the argument I have to go through regularly with the bartenders I presently work with (and many in the past). I have been a server, server trainer, restaurant manager for little over 35 years. When I place and order with the bartender for an "up" drink, and I get a neat shot. I say, "Could you chill that and strain it into an up glass?" Then the argument begins. No I did not ask for a martini. Just because the only up glass we have is what most people call a martini glass, doesn't make it a martini. I do not want a double pour to fill the glass. I just want it served correctly as "up". I am the middle man, as a server. The bartender doesn't need to second guess what I am asking for. They don't have to determine what I meant. The question of "up" or "neat" is something I took care of already with the guest(if needed), so when I order "up" from my service bartender, I know what I am asking for. I have tried many times with many bartender to educated them on the difference in terms over the years. Including trying to educate them about the different types of glassware and when and how they should be used. Sometimes bartenders are more resistant to education than the guests. There are ways to help educate without being condescending. With a guest, I say, "Just for future reference..." "or "To avoid confusion in the future you might try..." I have one bartender now than insist on pouring anything and everything ordered "neat" into a snifter. I am desperately trying to break him of that one.

Unknown said...

WOW...WHY ARGUE ABOUT IT? Its true different areas of the U.S. call things differently....dont you think? With good communication between bartender and customer there shouldnt be a problem....unless either one just treats people badly in general.

seerak said...

Look to me like the bartending world is simply struggling to deal with the same sort of linguistic leaking that affects the real world.

Out there, the phrase "straight up" simply means direct, no detours, no extras. It's pretty obvious why people from out there would walk into a bar and intuitively use that same term to request a drink poured directly into a glass, no extra steps or process expected. Why would they think of using an adjective that out there merely means "well-organized, not messy" and sometimes "cool"?

It begs the question: why should the serving world expect its idiosyncratic lingo to be any more immune to that effect than that of, say, the study of logic and its fallacies? :)

That said, I don't mind learning such things, as they are part of the experience. I just let the server know I'm a drinking neophyte and let them guide me to something new.

Maru said... is a portal to promote trade relations between professionals and bulk wine, alcohol derivatives, and encourage business transactions between them. Bulk Tequila

Unknown said...

Get good air Jordan shoes at a reasonable price.
Opting for the Jordan space jams will be a good choice
Reasons for choosing Jordan Retro 12 black and white Shoes

Unknown said...

Watch Khabib Nurmagomedov Boxing Live Streaming Online :

Eillen Sharma said...

Jaipur escorts
Escort service in Jaipur
Russian escorts in Jaipur

Jaipur call girl
Jaipur escorts

Eillen Sharma said...

Model escorts in Jaipur
Air hostess escorts in Jaipur
Housewife escorts in Jaipur

College call girls in Jaipur
Escorts in Jaipur
Jaipur call girls

Eillen Sharma said...

Escort service in Jaipur
Call girls in Jaipur
Celebrity escorts in Jaipur
Call girl in Jaipur

kia sharma said...

Get a performer Call Girls Service in Mumbai | Enjoy life with Mumbai escort
Sensual call girls in Mumbai are highly flexible in everything be it their body or if it is giving pleasures to you. Mumbai Escorts Service Anything you demand them and they come into action immediately. Girls are easily accessible, real and trendy. They try to make you feel most comfortable. Young women are available in your service 24*7. You can always choose your desired meeting destination, and they will be there at that time that you ask them to come for. Overall, they focus on creating a convenient escorting experience so that you keep coming to them again and again. Interestingly, each experience gets better than the previous one.The Independent Mumbai Escorts are quite aware of your budget constraints while providing the best quality escorting service. Therefore, they are most appropriate that you can get anywhere in this country. Compared to their service quality, rates are competitive and affordable. You enjoy more and pay less. The more you travel, the more you save. To get a performer call girl service in mumbai, first you should visit our website. you can call us on +91-7339989682. By this simple method you can meet your favorite escorts in mumbai.

kia sharma said...

Delhi Independent Call Girls Service | Enjoyable With Delhi Call Girls
Our Delhi escorts are best for fun and enjoying and world class services providing by you. We have very nice girls in escorts here. Delhi Escorts Service His face is very good, we have call girls and it is very much like to have a budding friendship. As much as we have call girls, you can take time to roam them and spend time. We all know that Delhi is a very beautiful and royal place to visit. Visitors have come in our Delhi Escorts and enjoying with a joy and happiness. In our escorts figure of girls who have ours here is very good and attractive, meet them with new peoples. It is very nice to make new friends and our escorts will give you their fullest support in our best services. In our Delhi independent escort we have provide best services are available 24*7 hours as per the client’s requirement. Our escorts will provide full services to you at least in time so that you do not have to face any problem from us and you also get your work done in less time. You do not even need to spend more for these services. Delhi Escorts is providing high class services for clients fully satisfaction and enjoying our company. Our escorts are very popular in every fields serve the best opportunity to our clients.

hookstefan said...

Try not to keep enormous pressure in your psyche while allotment bunches of assignments to check the getting a handle on power for the specific subject. Put all migraine-related business work at one side and make the modest solicitation to assignment help online

poker idn apk said...

Poker ceme domino sudah menjadi permainan kalangan masyarakat tentunya, apalagi bisa bermain di hp seluler kalian tentunya akan lebih asik lagi bukan? jika ingin bermain permainan kartu kalian bisa datang kesitus kami untuk merasakan permainan kartu di aplikasi.

poker 77 deposit pakai pulsa

aplikasi poker 77

aplikasi idn poker 77

download idn poker 77 apk

download poker 77

download poker 77 apk

login poker idnplay

login poker apk

login idn poker apk

download idn poker apk

poker idn apk

download aplikasi idn poker

instal aplikasi poker

instal idn poker apk

instal idn poker 77

idn poker apk versi terbaru

idn poker apk versi 2.1.0

aplikasi idn poker versi 2.1.0

download idn poker versi 2.1.0

download poker IDNPLAY

Anonymous said...

I like the valuable information you provided in your article. I will bookmark your blog and check back often here. I am sure I will learn many new things here! Good luck for the next!
Thank you for sharing.

nila said...


nila said...


nila said...


Mahi Chopra said...

Spend your precious time with the sultry Mumbai escorts for heightened pleasures and sexual satisfaction. Mumbai escorts offering elite girl version Escort offerings in cheapest quotes.
Mumbai Model Escorts, Cheap Mumbai Escorts