Is this NAW? It feels like a NAW... I don't know

This has been sent in as a NAR story, but something about it is rubbing me up the wrong way. Maybe because I myself am a whiskey lover but I don’t want to gatekeep people’s drink preferences.

What do you all think? (Story not edited; presented as submitted:)

Bar, Boulder, Colorado

Our mixologist is an awesome, no nonsense woman in her late 40s. A young dude comes in to the bar and proudly orders:

Young dude: "Give me a [high-end whisky brand] and coca-cola.
Mixologist: "No. I will serve you a [brand blended whisky] with your mixer.
Young dude: “I am the customer and you will give me what I ordered or I will have you fired.”
Mixologist: “Sir, I am not pouring coca-cola over $200 dollars worth of a rare single malt. Now, do you want a drink or am I serving someone else.”
Young dude: “I want your manager.”
Manager: “No, you really don’t. If she poured that drink, I’d fire her and if anybody I knew ordered it I’d disown them. The door’s that way if you don’t like it.”

The young fellow sulked about but got the cheaper drink anyway.


Definitely NAW.

A retail establishment may have private opinions about a customer’s choices. They may even try to advise the customer that there are better choices (like not using an expensive whisky when you won’t taste any of the good bits over the mixer). Heck, I wince every time someone drowns a good gin in tonic.

But plain refusing to serve someone because you think they have bad taste? WTAF?


In matters of taste, the customer is always right.

This is, quite literally, a matter of taste.


NAW - no matter how much it pains the staff, the paying customer likes what they like. To refuse them is to declare yourself as a jerk.

If I may, how about this as a title:

Refusing customers like this is very whiskey.


100% NAW. What the customer wanted was a perfectly valid choice; I wouldn’t do that as a whiskey drinker myself but unless the customer is asking the bartender to break the law or ignore policy; the bartender has to provide the drink.
At the very least, the bartender and the manager should be a lot more gracious about it “no! you are wrong and go away if you don’t like it” isn’t any way to treat a paying customer.


Its an easy NAW - the customer did nothing wrong other than try to order a drink his server and their manager didn’t approve of.

In comparison: In my younger days I celebrated Hogmany at a nightclub in Glasgow which sold bottles of champagne for the occassion (it wasn’t part of their normal menu). For safety reasons they kept the actual bottles behind the bar and provided flute glasses so that you could take one portion per serve.

This meant any time that you wanted another serving from the bottle you had already bought, you needed to rejoin the bar queue. Which, being Hogmany in Glasgow, was enormous. I thought nuts to that and made the server pour my champagne into pint glasses instead. They definitely did not approve and it visibly pained them to do it but when they confirmed I wasn’t joking they did it despite disapproving of my life choices. As they should have done in this story.


Definitely a NAW but, as a whisky connoisseur, I am on the side of the bartender. However, I would have asked for payment in advance considering the sum involved. Alternatively offered the cola on the side.


Just to be awkward, if it is a Scottish single malt (which it’s heavily implied to be), it’s whisky without the e.


So that’s how you tell…isker


A rare example of British English taking out letters in a word instead of cramming them in.


Well, given that the original spelling was ‘uisge beatha’…

I think, in fact, this is an example of the Irish putting an ‘e’ into the more common transliteration in order to differentiate their product.

If you’re thinking about words like ‘colour’ etc, of course it was the Americans who took the original ‘u’ out because spelling is hard :wink:


Yeah this is NAW.

At best OP can advise them against it, or offer coke on the side so the customer can taste the $200 whiskey neat before mixing. But as everyone else said, in matters of taste, customer is king.


Definitely NAW. By all means, make suggestions and recommendations, but DON’T dictate what your customer can buy. If they can afford it and it’s legal to do so, let them have it. You’re not the one ruining their experience (and who knows, maybe it’s not even ruined for them in the first place.)


Yup. Check with the customer, explain why you’re asking (“most people drink such an expensive whisky straight or with ice, so I just want to be sure I understand you properly”), then do the thing.

If someone usually drinks it that way, they are probably aware that it is unusual and won’t be surprised that the server would double-check before making the drink.

Refusing the request outright, on principle, is not okay. People are allowed to like different things. Just so long as they are prepared to pay for them!

PSA for food snobs: The sense of taste can vary hugely from one person to another; it’s not just cilantro!


The customer is flexing. Orders an expensive whisky they don’t like, and smothers it coke so it will be indistinguishable from JW or Bells or whatever. They are presumably are ordering the much more expensive whisky because they somehow believe it will taste different to a cheap blend when mixed with coke, or because they want to boast how much they spent. That’s fine, if a bar is happy. But you are allowed to open a place of business and not believe the customer is always right. I mean, they are wrong in the case, and if the bar would rather not have their business, then that is their right.

A former US president who shall remain nameless, apparently liked to order expensive steaks well done, rending them inedible. He would then smother it in ketchup, the sugar and salt make it possible to eat. While I guess that is his right, I would respect a restaurant that wouldn’t do that to a steak. An animal died to provide that food; it’s death should be honoured.

Of all of Donald’s many sins, his love of well-done steaks was not on the list. If someone is paying you money to consume a thing you are selling, you don’t get to preach to them that they’re eating it wrong.


I wondered how long it would be before we got a food snob talking about well done steaks.

There’s nothing wrong with a well done steak. Except apparently many chefs’ inability to cook one well.


If I had a steak restaurant, I would serve nothing above a Medium. However, this would be made clear on the menu. There are many things wrong with burnt leather.

(For those vaguely interested, I have my steak Blue. Getting a chef to make one of these is also a ball ache.)

1 Like

Any steak that still contains any kind of pinkish/redish colour is a crime against nature. :stuck_out_tongue:


On one hand, I 100% agree that this is NAW; if the customer wants to flex/have a horrible drink but pays for it, it’s on them.
On the other, don’t bars, being private establishments, have the right to decide what to serve? If that’s the case, they’d definitely have to make it clear that there is no deviation from the offered menu, though.

1 Like