You can take the bartender out of the bar, but…from overtipping, sleeping in, and being able to make everyone else feel comfortable, here are seven habits that are hard to shake even when you leave bartending.
1. Sleeping in
No alarm clock, breakfast in bed, and leisurely mornings listening to music are standard. Living life in reverse has its challenges, but slow mornings are one of its perks. It can be a literal rude awakening adjusting to early mornings. As nice as it is to have nights off to relax and recharge, we’ll never stop wanting that extra morning time for pancakes in bed.
We’ve said it before but for bartenders, shots aren’t about getting drunk, shots are about camaraderie. Alas, getting drunk can be an inevitable byproduct, but it’s often not the goal. Even after we leave the industry, shots remain our go-to whenever we can sense a social function needs an injection of fun. But please, no chaser.
3. Going out on a Tuesday (or Monday, or Wednesday)
We all know weeknights are the best nights for going out. The pressure of “having an awesome weekend” is off, bars are less crowded, restaurants have tables available, and you never know what to expect. On the flip side, of course, lies the Wednesday morning hangover. But if you learn one thing from bartending, it’s how to work hungover. This may be a ritual we never shake.
4. Compulsive hand washing
Bartenders are constantly washing their hands. This is certainly a good thing. When you work with the public all day, you need to protect yourself. Every time you make a drink or clear a dirty plate or touch your hair, you have to rinse those hands. Even after you stop bartending, it is ingrained. This habit definitely helps us come cold season, but we always need copious amounts of hand lotion.
We will never stop overtipping. It’s in our DNA now. Even when not warranted, even when we receive bad service, tipping below 20 percent isn’t an option. It annoys our friends and it’s not great for our bank account, but it’s our way of putting some positivity into the world.
6. Befriending the staff
Imagine you’re at a fancy, catered party. Perhaps a wedding or a gala. As your date, you’ve brought a friend who spent years working as a bartender. You come back from the restroom and your friend is nowhere to be found. What do you do? Check the service bar. Odds are your friend is chatting with cater waiters and doing shots with the bartender. Once you find your tribe, it’s hard to let go.
7. The need to make everyone else feel comfortable
Part of being a great bartender is making your bar guests feel comfortable. Social situations provoke anxiety for most people. By making your bar guests feel welcome and recognized, it creates a bond of trust between you. Even after you leave bartending, you will find it hard to lose this character trait. At a party, you’re the one initiating conversation with the quiet girl on the couch. At a work meeting, you’re the first with follow-up questions after a colleague’s presentation. Bartending teaches you how to be present and engaged with the people around you, which is a gift.
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