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The Worst Holidays to Bartend, According to Reddit

Working on holidays can be one of the most taxing aspects of a career in the service industry. After all, what would St. Paddy’s Day be without a pub crawl, and Valentine’s Day without a place to wine and dine your significant other? That means on these special days. bartenders and servers will end up facing a flood of extra food and drink tickets until closing. The silver lining: holidays are often when business is at its most booming, and the tip jar may start spilling over.

Still, some holiday shifts are more draining to work than others. To find out which ones are the lousiest to grab a shift for, we consulted Reddit’s popular r/bartending subreddit. There, bartenders far and wide weighed in on which holidays are the worst to work on, whether that be due to notoriously skimpy tips, extra-entitled customers, or hordes of sloppy drunks creating an atmosphere of mayhem.

Here are the worst holidays to bartend, according to Reddit.

Christmas Eve

Though a Christmas Eve bar visit while everyone is back in town sounds good on paper, some bartenders in the subreddit say the occasion can also bring a heavy dose of loneliness and volatile moods.

User Neddyrow commented:

“Christmas Eve. It’s a bunch of people who have no friends or family because they are terrible people and they only have one place to go – our bar as we’re the only place open. I’ve broken up more fights on Christmas Eve than any other night. It’s weird. Brings out the crazies.
I love working Christmas night. People done doing the family thing and want to hang out with their friends who are home for the holiday. They are all in good moods and have money in their pockets. Plus they feel bad for me because I have to work on Christmas Day so the money is good.”

Valentine’s Day

There’s no doubt that Valentine’s Day essentially promises a full book of reservations, but it also brings an influx of entitled customers. Everyone in service is well-aware that it’s many couple’s “special day,” so don’t bark at your waiter if it takes an extra minute or two to fetch your Clover Club from the bar.

User sluttydrama commented:

“Valentine’s Day has some of the most temperamental, jealous, rude people I’ve ever met. They need to get laid.
They’re so entitled because ‘it’s OUR special day,’ and the kitchen gets slammed because it’s everyone’s special day.”

Memorial Day and Fourth of July

Even though many people get the day off work on these uniquely American holidays, many bartenders don’t. Both Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are built for backyard BBQs with your loved ones, but if you live anywhere remotely close to a good fireworks display, the crowds will likely swarm the nearest bar for a few rounds before the show kicks off. Chances are your local watering hole will either be a ghost town or a packed sardine can of drunken 20-somethings.

User sjaark commented:

“Memorial Day and Fourth of July. No fucking clue why we have to be open those days, but it’s always slow as hell and the only patrons you get are all the rejects that didn’t get invited to boats or backyard bbqs or pool parties etc.”

User asmallbean commented:

“Just learned I work at, apparently, the only place that pops off on 4th of July: outdoor bar with a great vantage point for my city’s (really, really mediocre) fireworks display. Still would rather not work it, but for opposite reasons (amateurs getting sloppy, people trying to take their drinks off premise, the whole thing is corny anyway).”

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve (also known in some circles as Blackout Wednesday) has been a tradition for decades. Newly-21 college students flood back into town and want to catch up with their high school buddies before being tethered to family affairs the following day. Unfortunately for bartenders, most of these fresh bar-goers have yet to get a handle on proper tipping etiquette.

User edjennersmilkmaid commented:

“Thanksgiving Eve. Mainly college kids home on break and legally at a bar for the first time. Ordering shitty shots by the dozen and tipping like they ordered one.
Also working MD tomorrow. We got this “

St. Patrick’s Day

Ah, St. Paddy’s Day. It’s the holiday when everyone’s Irish for the day — and also stumbling through the streets with clover leaf temporary tattoos on their cheeks and hurling half-digested pints of Guinness into the nearest receptacle. Though bartenders may earn an extra buck or two every March 17, most feel it isn’t worth the chaos.

User PhotoboothSupermodel commented:

“St. Patrick’s Day- hands down. Sloppy fools all out drinking like it’s their mission to pass out in the street. Dyed green fingertips for days because of the fucking food coloring and everyone wants a green beer, even if it’s a goddamn modelo. Sloppy, curdled, rudely named bomb shots sloshed all over the bar. Spending half my time watching for assholes who get mean off Jameson shots and want to fight. I fucking hate it. It’s like a war zone for the full shift. Not at all worth the extra money.”


At least St. Patrick’s Day is just a 24-hour affair. Oktoberfest technically runs for a whopping 16 days, and sometimes there’s barely enough beer in Bavaria to provide the world with an ample supply of Märzen. Trying to cram dozens of boot-shaped glasses into the dishwasher is a hassle most beer garden bartenders would give anything to dodge.

User danceswithronin commented:

I work in a German taphouse, so by far my least favorite is Oktoberfest. Oompah music blasting for ten hours on the patio and trying to keep up with tickets and glassware for hundreds of people? No thank you. Just the amount of furniture I typically have to move around in the bar to accommodate Oktoberfest makes it my least favorite holiday.

Mother’s Day

The bane of many brunch spot-employees is apparently Mother’s Day. The floor is sticky with Prosecco and OJ, and pleasing wafts of eggs Benedict are overshadowed by families bonding at top volume. If you really want to do something special for Mom, consider brunch and Mimosas in the comfort and quiet of your home.

User MrNavinJohnson commented:

“Mother’s Day is the day where all bartenders go to die.
It is the most painful shift of the year. Entitlement goes through the roof, and tip percentages plunge to the floor.
Overbooked as fuck and everybody wants a fast-pass. Not to mention the chemical warfare atrocities caused by over doing the rose perfume.
Fuck me, I won’t work that day any more.”

Packers Game Days

Sure, Packers Game Days aren’t actual holidays, but they damn sure are if you live in Wisconsin. One would think that customers hanging around the bar for three-plus hours would equal big tips, but allegedly, that’s not the case.

User EssEyeOhFour commented:

“When working in a small city bar/restaurant in northern Wisconsin, any packer game. Nothing but cheap loud fucks that are there for 5 hours and don’t tip.”

The article The Worst Holidays to Bartend, According to Reddit appeared first on VinePair.

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