After a long day of studying, what’s better than to head to the nearest watering hole for a cold one? Nothing. We walk into the bar to be greeted by our friend, the bartender. Are they really our friend though?

Bartenders are like the lunch ladies of college. Only the cafeteria is now a hot and crowded bar and instead of paying with your little lunch line punch card, it is only adequate to whip out your Visa and pay up. Watch out though, because you could be getting ripped off. 

Here are some ways that your bartender could be tricking you out of your money. 

Overdoing It On The Ice

lime, lemon, liquor, juice, alcohol, ice, cocktail

Ask for a water at the bar, they’ll give you a full cup of water with two ice cubes max. Ask for a vodka cranberry and they’ll give you a cup of ice with some cranberry juice on the side and a splash of vodka. I’m no scientist, but the chemistry of the entire thing doesn’t make sense. Not too much ice (ice), baby.

Pouring Top Shelf When You Didn't Order It

liquor, ice, vodka, alcohol, water
Alex Frank

Chances are, when you order a vodka cranberry, you tell the bartender “vodka cranberry.” You don’t say “vodka cranberry made with the cheapest vodka you have.” How do you know that the bartender isn’t pulling top shelf vodkas, such as Grey Goose or Belvedere? You may be in for a surprise when you get that check of yours. Always ask for well liquors if you're ballin' on a budget.

Skimping On The Liquor

syrup, maple syrup, beer, liquor, wine, whisky, alcohol
Christin Urso

Sometimes bartenders do the “long pour.” This is when they purposely hold the liquor bottle high and pour. While it may look like a cool bar trick, the long pour actually creates the illusion of more liquor raining into the cup.  In a situation like this, you're not getting any more than a regular shot, you could even be getting a less.  

Ordering Speciality Drinks

Sangria, strawberries, mint, peach, cocktail, ice, lemon
Carolyne Su

It’s your 21st birthday party and you’ll cry if you want to. Well, you’ll definitely cry when you get your check and the bartender charges $9 per every birthday shot you ordered (let’s just say, you hit double digits). They may have claimed it was the “birthday special" or this was their "special shot." There’s nothing special about going bankrupt on your birthday, though. Pay attention and ask the bartender how much their specialty drinks actually cost up front.

Not Ringing Up The Drink or Giving a Receipt

bill, cash, money, coffee, tea, beer
Anna Arteaga

“Alright sweetheart, that’ll be $4.50.” A lot of times, bartenders will give you a price with no proof, which means they're telling you what you owe without giving you a receipt, unless you’re paying with a credit card. For the most part, we could care less because we just want our drink in our hand. But ask for a receipt or check the menu — they could just be rounding up, they could make a mistake, or they could be downright lying. 

Not Mentioning Added Gratuity

date, coffee
Becky Hughes

Some bars automatically add gratuity to a tab and not mention it, so you may be unknowingly tipping your bartender double. Make sure to double check your receipt, because as much love as we want to give our bartenders, we love our bank accounts as well.

Don’t get me wrong, not every bartender is the enemy. They do provide us the proper ammunition for a night out. However, sometimes the economically smarter idea is to stick with bottled beer.