Rant and Rave: Hey bartenders: Pregnant women are customers, too.

A few weekends ago, my husband and I stopped by the Cherry Cricket, an old standby, for some pre-dinner drinks. He got a pint of Dale’s Pale Ale. I ordered a Sprite. And that was the last we saw of the bartender. We tried all of the normal tricks: Catching her eye, waving a hand—waving money, but nothing worked. It was like she had beer goggles on. Or, in this case: belly goggles.

Yes, I’m pregnant. And, yes, I still hang out at bars because so much adult socializing revolves around watering holes. I’m not ordering up pitchers of beer anymore, but I’m a paying customer who just wants a glass of chocolate milk. (Don’t laugh. It’s delicious, and you know it.) After that, I might get a little crazy and ask for a Diet Coke. Most likely, I’ll order whatever food you have on the menu, because, well, I’m pregnant and that’s what pregnant women do.

We left the Cricket that night, disappointed, and that scenario has been repeated at nearly every restaurant and bar we’ve been to in Colorado of late. When I order a non-alcoholic beverage, the waitstaff disappears, usually with a scowl, to serve other tables. Once, after ordering a $40 steak, our waiter rolled his eyes when I said we wouldn’t be ordering a bottle of wine. Apparently, the massive tip he could have earned on my entrée wasn’t enough.

I understand that busy staffers have to make decisions, and that my round belly reads: “small bill.” I’d be more willing to accept that argument, though, if most bars had decent options for nondrinkers. Too often, I ask what the NA options are, only to be told I could drink O’Doul’s. Uh, no. Often they only have sugar-y, caffeinated sodas. Sometimes, they have to check the kitchen to make sure the milk hasn’t expired. Occasionally, the bartender offers to mix some ginger ale and cranberry juice—and then charges me $7 for the concoction.

That’s all fine, but once my nonalcoholic drink is more expensive than my husband’s pint, I should become your most important customer. After all, I’m paying for the privilege.

Bonus: A few local places have figured out that non-alcoholic options pay, including Frasca Food and Wine and Olivéa. Kudos!

Image from Shutterstock

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.