It doesn't take anyone with any kind of real intelligence to realize that bars are sketchy, shitty black holes out to get your money in any way they can. They want it and if there's a way to get that cash out of your drunken hands into their pockets, they'll do it.
They'll nickel and dime you to death and unless you know your bartender, the odds that you're getting shafted in some way greatly increases.
For example, there are bars downtown who water their liquor down. One bar in particular comes to mind, but I won't name names. One distributor was telling me that while he was making a delivery, a female bartender happened to be cleaning some of the coolers and freezers and informed him that the freezer was so cold, that it froze the bottles of vodka they had in them.
"Liquor don't freeze, sweetie."
Another one of my friends who works(ed) for another bar was so convinced that every bar downtown fucks over their customers by watering their shit down that he, hands down, told me that I was a liar when I said that my bar doesn't. He told me that, on numerous occasions, he watched and often helped them to swap bottles of well liquor with empty bottles of Crown, or other top shelf selections.
I got a drink very recently at a wonderful establishment and was very suprised to notice that employees were served exclusively out of one well rack, while normal customers were served out of another. Their long island iced teas were poured directly from a bottle that had a handwritten label on it that said "Long Island Mix". I thought I had the best tolerance in the world on that particular night.
Some bars teach their bartenders to "short pour" mixed drinks, thereby helping the bar to save money in the long run on product.
There are other bars who not only fuck over their customers, but also their coworkers. Several bars in particular take a percent of their employees tip money every night without their knowledge. Not only is this illegal, but it's downright wrong. It's stealing.
Beyond just matters that affect customers which is just the tip of the iceberg, bars out there will cut corners any way that they can. Skimping on insurance, paying employees "under the table", underreporting income, and not paying employees for hours worked are also common themes.
So when you see that common sign at a bar that says "Wanted: Honest Bartender". Just know that the only reason they want someone who's honest is because they're the easiest ones to fuck over.