Sunday, May 1, 2011
Memoirs of a Twenty-something Bartender
There's a certain glamour, I suppose, being a bartender. I'm in charge of controlling your drunk, and at times, your level of fun. I can allow the beasts to unleash or hold them at bay and depress them with some form of audible torcher, bringing them to tears. I control what's flowing out of the speakers and have been known to piss a person or two off because of that control. I'm proud to say I now work in a music venue, so some of that control is happily relinquished. Depending on the establishment, serving booze can assist in building a reputation. I can think of a few local celebrities who are known, primarily because they are a bartender. I've worked in a variety of bars from a high brow sporting establishments sky box bar to a neighborhood dive and now reside in what I consider to be one sexy hot spot. Bartenders are kinda like your librarian or local porn shop clerk. We know your habits, level of tolerance, many of your secrets...we hear the whispered conversations, we know when you're sneaking around, we know how much you spend on your 'habits' and we know your schedules and priorities. Basically, don't piss us off. There is an unspoken bar etiquette. 1) If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to drink. This is a great theory, unfortunately, there are many that violate this. I've had people come in and order beers all night, not leave a single dollar. 2) Don't hit on the bartender. Being complimented on my 'nice rack' by a slobbering drunk is not, in actuality, a compliment. Hitting on the bartender will not get you quicker service. 3) Know what you want when you call on us. Making us walk down the bar only to quiz us and decline a suggested drink will not produce prompt and efficient service. 4) Yelling 'Hey barmaid!!' from the opposite end of the bar will not get my attention in the way you want it to. Politely holding out money will, however, as will sliding your empty beverage container to the inside of the bar. 5) If you're spilling drinks, you should just STOP. I've run the gammet as far as careers go...state employee, retail, warehouse, tutoring. I feel most at home behind a bar. Perhaps spending many hours in my chosen watering holes led me to love the bar life, perhaps it's the constant interaction with people. Although, it's a job which enables people a slightly unhealthy habit, I find it also has its positives. I listen. I listen to a lot. More than I'd like to some nights. But, it's what I do.