7 Bartender Scams You Lose Money To Without Knowing


7 Bartender Scams You Should Be Aware Of

Besides the traditional rip-offs when fictional drinks are added to your final bill, there are a few other tricks that bartenders pull when pouring your drinks. Have you ever felt that your alcoholic drink is very weak? Of course, you have. There are many bartending scams out there, and today we are going to focus on seven of them:


1. Dipping Glass

Watch the video below to see a perfectly pulled Dipping Glass scam:

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Dipping Glass Scam Video

Watch what the bartender is doing with your glass before pouring the drink. If he is about to pour in less alcohol, they might have a little sponge soaked in alcohol out of sight, under the bar. They quickly turn the glass upside down and push the rim into the sponge.

This way — although your drink has less alcohol– you smell the alcohol every time you have a sip or even taste it from the rim. See picture below. Alternatively, instead of a sponge, there could be a small plate with a bit of alcohol, as in the video above.

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2. Double Bottom

The measurement shot glass that the bartender fills with the alcohol is either made out of metal or dark in color. In a lot of cases, the bottom of the shot glass is double (or extremely thick), leaving room for only a few drops of alcohol.


3. Tight Pourer

Look if the pourer — which is the plastic or metal insert in the neck of the bottle — is tighter. This way, the bartender might seem like they are pouring for a longer time, maybe 4 or 5 seconds, but the alcohol is barely pouring through the insert. This trick works well for them especially since the glass is already full of ice or coke.

4. Filled Straw

In this procedure, the tiny straw in your drink is filled with liquor. It is dipped into the full strength liquor. The human tendency is to take the first sip through the straw. While they may state "Oh my gosh, that is really powerful", the drink itself contains very little or no liquor. The victims then sip from the glass, but their taste buds have already been attacked the false assumption that the drink is loaded with booze.

"The patron has no idea that there is not even a shot of liquor in the whole drink just a stirring straw worth of alcohol. This scam works for bartenders not only with margaritas but with any drink for which a straw is used", says Craig Buzz" Conroy, travel author and researcher.

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5. Low Mix

This trick may be surprising, but instead of less alcohol in your glass, the bartender may put less mix (coke, soda). While the amount of liquor is still de same, the fact that your drink feels stiffer increases the probability of you buying more, since you finish the drink faster. Plus, you feel the bartender likes you since you wrongly think he put more alcohol in your glass! Nice little trick.


6. Automatic Gratuity On Your Bill

This scam is a double-win for the bars. Many of them include an automatic gratuity on your bill, which is most likely not mentioned throughout the night. Of course, you can tip more, but at least find out first if it's added.

If you pay with your credit card, the automatic gratuity scam is covered by the fact that bartenders avoid to give you the itemized bill besides the credit card receipt.

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7. Switching Bottles Contents

A lot of times, unscrupulous managers switch the content of the bottles, especially for the hard alcohol like vodka. In the back of the bar, they would pour, for example, Stolichnaya inside a Grey Goose bottle.

They are both great vodkas but have a big difference in price. Since most of the patrons are mixing the vodka with coke or soda, chances of someone figuring out the scam are very slim. 


Bartending Scams: How To Report

Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here


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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

1 thought on “7 Bartender Scams You Lose Money To Without Knowing”

  1. i once had a guy come into my bar in las vegas everynight for 4 days straight asking for a hennessy double. He would harass the ladies and make customers leave. After the third night of no tips i had it. 3/4 bacardi 151, 1/4 hennessy. After his second hennessy and 151(that I bought for him) he was sleeping at my bar. I reason to kick him out so I did. Three nights later he stopped back and ordered a coffee. "I don’t want you buying me any more drinks" he said. Tipped me a 20 on coffee!

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