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9 Things People Get Wrong About Bartenders

by Melissa Allen Dec 18, 2017

1. We love to party.

Non-bartender friends often assume we have crazy social lives just because we are out late most nights. But a 2 AM beer on a Tuesday night is usually just a quiet post-work cool down, not an epic party night. So, don’t get disappointed when we’d rather grab an early dinner than go out on our days off. Staying in can be a luxury.

2. We are all players.

Sometimes we flirt, it’s a part of the job. And some bartenders take advantage of the easy access to attractive singles. But for the most part, bartenders’ dating lives are like everyone else’s: a mix of marrieds, serial daters, singletons, and everything in between. Plus, working nights can put a crimp on dating.

3. We are mind-readers.

This happens every busy shift — a patron that we’ve never served before asks us to make them something fun — dealer’s choice. Or we get a phone call: “Will you be busy at 8 PM tonight?” I wish we had a crystal ball, but we can’t predict the future or what kind of drink you might enjoy.

4. We don’t have degrees or higher education.

Bartenders come from all different backgrounds — GED to PhD. Some of us choose to bartend because it is the best way for us to make a living, others because they love the work itself, others still for extra money or to fund different endeavors. As in any line of work, every individual has their own story.

5. We want you to ask us about our hopes and dreams.

Just because you share your issues with us doesn’t mean we want to open up to you. We want to make you a drink, not tell you our life story… unless it’s a really slow winter night and you are buying us Pappy Van Winkle’s.

6. We are all mixologists.

We have a drink list for a reason. Pick something from the menu or go with a classic cocktail. When it is a busy night, we often don’t have time to craft a drink for someone whose tastes we don’t know. There are specific cocktail bars that specialize in individually crafted drinks if that is what you are looking for. An exception: if you have been chatting with us all night, or you are a regular, we might concoct something special for you.

7. We wish we had weekends off.

One of the perks of the bar life is having a non-traditional schedule. Sometimes a weekend off would be nice, but in general, avoiding the morning commute, the two-hour wait for a table, and the 6 PM supermarket line is worth it.

8. We know everyone.

Working in the service industry, we do meet a lot of people every day, and we make connections with other bar staff along the way. Some nights out, we run into several acquaintances, but it is a bit of a mirage. It is an industry with a lot of turnover, so our favorite bar can change staff seemingly overnight. Plus, our regulars often don’t recognize us out of context, which can be a good thing.

9. We are going to sell you top-shelf and secretly pour you well liquor.

I’m sure there are some shady establishments out there that may pull this kind of move, but 99% of the time, a bar would never do this. But for some reason, customers often make this kind of comment, “Better pour me what I’m paying for, I can tell the difference.” Alright, buddy, watch me then. I’m getting the jigger out for this one.

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