[[quoteright:250:[[Manga/{{AKIRA}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/okgi6arj_6808.jpg]]]]

-> "All movie bartenders, when first seen, are wiping the inside of a glass with a rag."
--> --[[http://www.mediana.se/index.php?title=Hollywood_Cliches Little Book of Hollywood Cliches]], RogerEbert

In fiction, the sole IdleAnimation for [[TheBartender bartenders]] who aren't currently filling a glass is to dry a glass (unless they're the main character, in which case they will never do ''either'' of these things). You'll never see them stocking ice or frequently-ordered drinks, or trying to keep customers (who aren't the protagonist) engaged. In real life, bartenders who always have a glass in their hand tend to get fired.

Understandable in TV and movies, where it's an easy barkeeping duty to do in multiple takes, while many other jobs would need undoing before they could be done again and cause continuity problems. Less understandable in other media; it's probably a result of the stereotype.

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!!Examples

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[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Giriko works as a bartender. In his initial appearance, he's shown polishing a glass while standing behind the group's private bar.
* The page image is of the unnamed barkeep in the anime version of ''Manga/{{AKIRA}}''; his determination to man his station [[spoiler: gets him killed in the end.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Wormy}}'' in Dragon magazine #79. The troll bartender is shown drying a glass as he listens to his customers.
* The ''ComicStrip/MotherGooseAndGrimm'' [[http://www.grimmy.com/images/MGG_Archive/MGG_2012/MGG-2012-11-16.gif comic for November 16th, 2012]]. The dog Grimm is at a bar where the bartender is cleaning a glass with a cloth.
* ''ComicStrip/PardonMyPlanet'' has an occasional strip with a bartender drying a glass and listening to a customer talk.
** The [[http://www.oregonlive.com/comics-kingdom/?feature_id=Pardon_My_Planet&feature_date=2012-11-29 strip for November 29th, 2012]] has the customer complaining about his wife.
** The [[http://www.oregonlive.com/comics-kingdom/?feature_id=Pardon_My_Planet&feature_date=2013-01-12 strip for January 12th 2013]] has a similar scene with a customer talking about pursuing the American dream: life, liberty and the pursuit of happy hour.
** In the [[http://www.oregonlive.com/comics-kingdom/?feature_id=Pardon_My_Planet&feature_date=2013-02-21 strip for February 21st, 2013]] a customer is complaining about his wife not finding it romantic when he holds up her old black lace teddy and says "Let's see if you can still fit into this".
** [[http://www.oregonlive.com/comics-kingdom/?feature_id=Pardon_My_Planet&feature_date=2013-04-18 Strip for April 18th, 2013]]. A man says that when he told his wife that it would be O.K. if she found someone else after he was gone, he meant "gone" as in dead, not "gone" as in "at work".
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[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HeavyMetal'' segment "Taarna". When the title character goes into the bar the bartender is drying a glass. When she goes over to get information from him he's still drying a glass.
* ''Manga/{{Akira}}'' (1988). When Tetsuo goes to a bar after gaining his powers, the bartender is cleaning out a glass.
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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The bartender in ''Film/BlazingSaddles'' who "always kept things nice and clean" by spitting in them and shining them.
* The bartender at the saloon in ''Film/BackToTheFuture Part III''.
* ''Film/TheSting''. Just before Billie leaves the lounge of her whorehouse to warn the con men about Snyder, the bartender can be seen drying a glass with a cloth.
* ''Film/ThreeAmigos''. When the German walks into the BadGuyBar, the bartender is polishing a glass.
* The innkeeper in ''Film/MyWeekWithMarilyn'' is fiddling around with a rag and glasses in both of his scenes.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Aberforth Dumbledore's first appearance involved him wiping a glass that seemed to be getting dirtier. The barkeep washing glasses is an obvious cover for his eavesdropping. Two books later, the stereotype falls away altogether as he becomes a full-blown [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Rick Blaine type.]]
* Lampshaded in ''Discworld/GuardsGuards''. Sham the bartender is constantly cleaning glasses, which always confuses Vimes because the glasses never seem to be ''clean''. A possible (and obvious) answer to TP's dilemma offered by -- who else? -- DouglasAdams is that the cloth is actually dirtier than the glasses, resulting in an opposite effect where the alcohol kills whatever germs have peacefully been living on the towel.
* Mac, the proprietor of [=McAnally's=] Pub in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', is always either wiping glasses or polishing the bar.
* Late in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', there's a brief mention of a barkeep who does this and is generally obsessive about keeping his place clean. The story kind of pokes fun at this trope by pointing out that the bartender gets so worked up with cleanliness that it actually unnerves customers and drives away business, because people who go in for a little DrowningTheirSorrows don't want to feel like they're stepping into an immaculately kept palace or museum.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'': Adventure I6 ''Ravenloft''. The barkeep of the "Blood of the Vine" tavern mindlessly cleans glasses one after the other. When they're all clean, he starts over. He only stops doing this to take drink orders and serve drinks.
* ''Kobolds Ate My Baby'' 3rd edition. The sample village of West Bumble has the [[AdjectiveAnimalAlehouse Screaming Unicorn Tavern]]. The barkeeper is washing the three unbroken glasses in the place.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' supplement ''Acute Paranoia'', adventure "Botbusters". When the barbot (bartender robot) Jonesie receives a message from The Computer, he's standing around polishing some glasses.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* Brewster the bar-tending pigeon in the later ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'' games, which feature his café.
* The bartender in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' is doing this.
* The bartender in ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge'' is always cleaning the glasses... with his spittle.
* The default animation for the bartender at the Chicken Kitchen in ''VideoGame/GhostTrick''.
* The bartender in ''[[VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga Jedi Knight II]]'' invokes this, cleaning a glass as an excuse to ignore Kyle Katarn. Once Kyle slams his lightsaber on the bartop he [[OhCrap tosses it over his shoulder]] and switches rapidly to obsequious mode.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Catherine}}'' Boss, owner and barman of the Stray Sheep, is frequently seen polishing glasses.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Moe Szyslak does this all the time on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''.
[[/folder]]

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