Benji Spears is huge on bartending TikTok, offering advice to his 1.4 million followers on pouring drinks and handling tricky customers. One of his latest TikToks tackles a familiar problem for bar staff: How to avoid taking shots with pushy patrons, many of whom drunkenly assume that the bartender is their new best friend.
For obvious reasons, a lot of bartenders prefer not to drink on the job—or simply can’t accept every drink offered by friendly and/or annoying customers. Filmed from below the bar, Spears’ TikTok depicts a scene where he repeatedly tries to turn down a shot.
“You have to!” the customer exclaims, even after Spears rejected the drink several times. Eventually, he surrenders and knocks back a shot… before spitting the booze discreetly into a beer bottle.
His second trick is one you’ve probably seen in a movie. When a customer pressures him to drink another shot, he pours himself a whisky and then tosses it over his shoulder while pretending to drink. A classic!
@benjispears When you’re trained to not turn down shots bc it’s MONEY 🤑💰💵 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #serverlife #bartender #trend #trending ♬ original sound – Benjispears
With 3 million views and counting, this TikTok sparked a lot of discussion in the comments section—especially from other bartenders. Some of them also shared their own advice for avoiding shots, most notably the tactic of pouring a nonalcoholic shot and pretending it’s liquor.
“I have a decoy bottle of whiskey behind my bar that’s always just filled with ice tea,” the top comment reads, while another wrote, “I had a decoy bottle of ‘vodka’ that was just water for this exact occasion. Past 1pm everyone wants to do shots with the bartender.”
It seems like water shots are a very popular trick of the trade, although one person chimed in with a more sophisticated response to pushy customers: “I always point at the camera by my bar n say ‘oh the blue light means my boss is watching.’ The blue light is always on.”
However, Spears’ second solution earned some constructive criticism. Although tossing a shot over your shoulder is an undeniable classic, his method wasn’t exactly subtle, with several commenters remarking on the audible splash when he threw away the shot.
Ultimately though, the main lesson here is for customers rather than bartenders. Bar staff have to learn these tricks because customers push past their boundaries, ignoring the very obvious signs—and direct rejections—indicating that bartenders don’t want to take a shot in the first place.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Spears via TikTok comment.