Tag Archives: bar tending

Rookie Bar Gaffes to Avoid

Watching the latest Game of Thrones season (I’m not going to expound on GoT. It’s just a TV show), my boyfriend pointed out how much Bran-as-Three-Eyed-Raven sounds like all of us after our first year of college. That I’ve been out in the world, I’ve learnt things about philosophy and hidden histories and now I can enlighten all you old people aura of smugness. We have all been guilty at one point or another of “schooling” an elder on the reality of things.

This reminds me of what it was like to be a craft bartender the first few months after training. Six weeks of memorizing drink recipes and scribbling tasting notes about spirits and all of a sudden I KNEW EVERYTHING, and I wanted to drop this wisdom in every bar I graced with my presence.

Ugh, the memories of trying to order a Bijou from some hotel pool bar, then trying to walk the flippant woman behind the stick through an inevitably wretched concoction. That was the start of a realization, that just because I made fancy-pants cocktails didn’t mean I could expect everyone else to make them for me, or be grateful for my definitely-not-annoying schooling.*

As time went on and I spent more time behind my own bar, I learned more about what it meant to be a good customer.  I’m all on the side of capital-H Hospitality, here, and definitely don’t think a guest at a bar should be eye-rolled or belittled, but if you’re in the industry, you should hold yourself to a higher standard than civilians. Here are some of the most annoying things bartenders do to one another, trying to show off how in-the-know they are. I state these in full knowledge that I may have perpetrated any number of them over the past five years.  Continue reading

Crappy New Year, or Tip Your Bartenders Tonight

Tonight I’ll be partaking of a longstanding holiday tradition and working through New Year’s Eve. By choice.

Since gleefully reentering the food service world after years as a narcoleptic office rat in late 2010, I’ve made it a point, in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, to mention to my employer that if anyone is needed to bar-tend, serve, or stand around looking official on New Year’s Eve, I’m their girl. Because New Year’s Eve sucks. It is the worst holiday in the modern cannon. If I can’t peaceably hang out at home and watch The Twilight Zone, I’m gonna be making some money.

Part of this comes from too many years living in New York City, where my already crowded and overpriced town becomes, for one special night, four or five times more crowded and infinitely more expensive. Hordes from Connecticut, from the Island, from the far, far reaches of rural Jersey, from the midwest, from the deep south, from Philly and DMV, even Bostoners descend. As if every other place in the world had conspired to dump its worst people on us to fill the streets with shouting and vomit. Due to supply and demand, every nightlife establishment right down to your friendly neighborhood dive bar tacks a $20+ charge just to get through the door, and a mandatory prix-fixe of food you wouldn’t normally eat, just ’cause. It’s impossible to do anything, and impossible not to. Because it’s New Year’s Eve, and our culture and crappy, crappy movies have brainwashed us into thinking that if we don’t have fun in a crowded room full of awful strangers tonight, of all nights, what hope do we have for the rest of the year?  Continue reading