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Best and Worst Bartenders
  • bornnraised August 21, 2013 - 2:41 pm #84728 Reply


    I  was wondering what restaurants and bars the community thought has the best and worst bartenders in Arlington. Here’s my lists


    Fireworks: Really friendly and acknowledge you right away

    Lyon Hall: These guys always recognize a face and are very knowledgeable

    Circa: Fast and attentive


    Mister Days: Impolite and ungrateful

    Spider Kellys: Slow and amateurish

    Honestly, the list of the worst could go on and on. Mostly, I want to know who takes care of you the best.

    novasteve August 21, 2013 - 2:43 pm #84729 Reply

    All of those bars are full of people who are the french/german word for showering.

    Tabby_TwoTone August 21, 2013 - 2:45 pm #84732 Reply

    I agree with your good bartenders list. I don’t go to Spider K’s or Mister Days though so can’t comment.

    I’ve had mixed experiences at TNT Bar and P. Brennan’s

    Bard August 21, 2013 - 3:39 pm #84752 Reply

    Most bar service in Arlington is very average. Bartenders are neither good nor bad — they work at corporate-owned establishments that care about profits first, hospitality second, and their service does just enough to not alienate customers. I’ve only been to a few bars where I consider the service exceptional, including Fireworks and the Arlington Rooftop (oddly, considering that place is sort of a disaster since they went full-on  Clarendouche). A couple of the guys at the Hut are also cool.

    Hank August 21, 2013 - 4:01 pm #84755 Reply

    Great topic!  I have to say unequivocally Ragtime.  Very nice and always remember your name.

    hbar August 21, 2013 - 4:16 pm #84762 Reply

    My wife is the best bartender in Arlington.

    Tom August 21, 2013 - 4:18 pm #84763 Reply

    From a Courthouse perspective, I can’t say enough good things about the Rooftop. You’re gonna want to get in touch with Billy, he’s a hell of a guy. I really enjoy Fireworks, too, but I don’t go there as much for some reason. Been to the Wilson Tavern once and had a great time talking with the bartender. I should pop in there again sometime now that I think about it, that was months ago… but I digress. If you’re in Ballston, you’re definitely gonna want to hit Rustico. Their bartenders are very cool and knowledgeable. Only go to Bailey’s if you’re okay with the indoor smoking thing, because the bartenders I’ve had on the smoking side are all very awesome. (One of them said “[they] put all the jerks on the non-smoking side,” but I suspect it was just a little bit of poking fun in the workplace.) Before I moved down to Courthouse, Bailey’s was always my go-to spot since I lived so close to the mall and could smoke indoors, it’s a rarity these days. The guys in Rock Bottom are cool too. As far as bad experiences go, I can’t think of any that were less than simply average. As @Bard said already, bar service around here is by and large painfully average.

    meowkitty August 21, 2013 - 4:18 pm #84764 Reply

    I had a bad experience at Fuego.  The bartender spilled half of my drink (not exaggerating) on the bar as he slid it over to me, and didn’t refill it or even clean up what he spilled.  I called him on it and he just kinda shrugged and turned to the young cute girls next to me.  He did throw some napkins in front of me, so that was nice.  He then spent the rest of my time there ignoring me and paying close attention to everyone around me.  I’ve heard from a couple of friends that they’ve had bad customer service from the bartenders as well.

    I also agree with Lyon Hall being on the best list.  The bartenders are so attentive and friendly, and they make great drinks!  I have to add Eventide to the good list, although there are a couple bad eggs in there.  The couple of times I’ve been there I’ve had great bartenders, but I witnessed a couple others that seemed not as great.  I have enjoyed the bartenders at Ri Ra as well.  Nothing outstanding, but nice, attentive bartenders who were able to give thoughtful recommendations.

    Bard September 4, 2013 - 2:40 pm #84969 Reply

    come to think of it, i’ve had bad bar service at fuego as well. right in front of customers, an off-duty employee sidled up to the bar and started complaining loudly about management with one of the bar staff who indulged, encouraged and participated in the shit talking. it was really weird. her work ethic reflected how much she cared about her employer, as well.


    John Fontain September 4, 2013 - 3:24 pm #86002 Reply

    My experience at Lyon Hall must be the exception, because I had about the worst service from a bartender there.  Stood right in front of a bartender for a good five minutes while he didn’t pour one drink for anyone and chatted with someone.  When he finally decided to get back to his job, he walked away and started serving people waiting down at the other end of the bar.

    Considering that bartenders can make a buck for as little as 20 seconds of work, I’d think they’d want to be hustling the entire time and collecting as much in tips as possible. All too often, I see just the opposite for some reason – bartenders who barely acknowledge the customers waiting to be served and doing a lot of nothing whilst looking down so as not to see the customers waiting.  It’s something I’ve never understood.  Am I alone on this?

    vibrancy September 5, 2013 - 8:53 am #86017 Reply

    Agree that this is a good topic!  @John, no you’re not alone.  As long as the customers are relatively polite/not obnoxious, I also never understood why bartenders wouldn’t be hustling to serve as many drinks as possible when the bar is slammed.  That’s what I’d do if I were in their position.

    Need.A.Bigger.Shark September 5, 2013 - 10:47 am #86033 Reply

    How are we defining best and worst? Hooking up the patron with a cheap(er) tab, stronger drink, fast service, remembering what a patron likes/previously odered, all of the above?

    @Vibrancy, I think most bartenders do in fact hustle when the bar is slammed. Its a balancing act: if a bartender doesnt stop to converse somewhat, they arent going to know if the patron wants another round, if the drinks were satisfactory, if they need anything else. Sometimes a little “politicking” goes a long way. It makes bartenders more personable, and being perceived as someone’s friend is a sure fire way to get better tips, which in return is going to get better service.

    Now if they are standing in one spot chatting their asses off, thats something different. But I havent seen that very often, even when the bar isnt packed. Unless its a bar full of regulars.

    vibrancy September 5, 2013 - 11:21 am #86038 Reply

    @N.A.B.S., imho, it depends on the context.  If a bar is slammed, tough for the few (if any) patrons that want to chit chat with the bartender as opposed to other people in the bar and/or friends they came with.  While the bartender may be getting a bigger tip from these few loners, he/she is also likely aggravating at least 10 other people who just want a bud light or a vodka soda so that they can return to their friends.  If it’s slower, then sure, chatting with the customers is great.

    newty25 September 5, 2013 - 11:49 am #86047 Reply

    I live in Ballston and like the service at Carpool, First Down, Tara Temple, PF Chang’s, and Rio.

    I think A-Town, Bailey’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings blow.

    It’s hit or miss for me at Front Page.

    Tom September 5, 2013 - 3:58 pm #86095 Reply

    I never really understood the appeal of Front Page. I’ve never had a bad experience, but none too remarkable. They have booze so I never said no, but it was never a very welcoming atmosphere in my opinion. When I worked at Vapiano, all my coworkers loved it for whatever reason. ALSO damn I forgot about Uncle Julio’s, too, I love that place. Haven’t been in months, though. Bartenders are very friendly, knowledgeable with good recommendations, and my girlfriend is a huge fan of their margaritas.

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