Working behind the bar, you develop a love for the little things that make your job easier. For those who don’t work in the industry, these obsessions might seem a little bizarre, but from killing fruit flies to having an arch support in your footwear, here are seven things that bartenders are weirdly passionate about.
Ice can make or break a cocktail. Whether hand-cut or Kold-Draft, bartenders are obsessive about the ice that they use. Our idea of torture is bartending at a catered event where the ice comes in bags from the grocery store. At the end of the night, you can be sure that you’ll be picking out the few remaining ice cubes from a bag of slush.
When it comes to shoes behind the bar, function trumps fashion everyday. Once you start bartending, you realize it’s possible to fall in love with a deeply unattractive pair of non-slip, waterproof clogs with arch support, be they labelled Dansko, Crocs, or Skechers. When you stand on your feet all shift long, minimizing discomfort is your top priority.
3. Perfectly ripe fruit
Unblemished fruit at peak ripeness fills a bartender’s heart with joy. There is nothing worse than spending time preparing a complicated cocktail and having to garnish it with a dried-out lemon wedge or mushy orange twist. Especially when you’re charging $15+ per drink. It’s just embarrassing.
4. Freshly sharpened knives
How else to cut our perfectly ripe fruit, but with freshly sharpened knives? Dull knives are another classic bartender complaint. With sharp knives, we can prep our garnishes more quickly and efficiently with cleaner cuts. No one wants jagged little limes.
5. Killing fruit flies.
While bartenders are often friendly, warm people by nature, fruit flies make us go full Rambo. Fruit flies are an inevitable part of bars and restaurants. The moist, sugar-filled environment is an ideal nesting ground for these vile creatures, particularly in the summer. They fly into our noses, get into liquor bottles, and are unsightly to patrons. Armed with bleach, vinegar, and specialty fly repellant, we wage constant war against these invaders.
6. Wiping down bottles.
Bottles get sticky. It may seem a minor annoyance, but when you’re picking up a bottle of simple syrup 50 times in an hour, minor becomes major. Many bartenders are obsessive about cleaning bottles all shift long. It may seem compulsive to some, but the cleaner we can keep our bar, the happier we are.
7. Liqueurs, amaros, and aperitifs
Most bartenders love booze — it’s one of the things that drew us to this profession. When we go to other bars, we size up their vermouth selection. We love to geek out over the subtle difference between different types of amaros or source the best chili liqueur to complement our mezcal cocktail. Just don’t dare to give us a shot of Fireball.
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