I have tended bar at a few places. I’m no mixologist, but I got enough experience to make some valid comments.
I have been looking for a new bartending gig. Some friends have made the classic comments about the how easy bartending is/how it’s not even a real job/you can wheel a ton, etc. Therefore, I feel the need to make something clear about the life of serving boozehounds:
A bartender is, effectively, a prostitute. You sell your attention, your time, and your work ethic to tons of people each night and you always gotta keep a smile on your face. Just like hookers, bartenders are on the receiving end of every possible human sentiment: people look down upon you, people think that you are best friends, people expect stuff from you, people want to pour their heart out to you… the list goes on ad infinitum. A bartender is the front man for a drug cartel with that cool mahogany ceiling & live band on Thursdays.
Any guy has buddies who have rattled off something along the lines of, “Oh dude, that bartender is my BOY”, “Yeah I know a guy that works there we are going to get HOOKED up”. These statements could not be more laughable. It is no different than thinking the stripper really loves you. Heroin, sex, booze…all are just drugs that have unlimited demand and a limited number of suppliers. If you walk into a bar to buy alcohol, you are a john looking to get your fix. The bartender is just there to serve, entertain, and all-around put up with your dumb, drunk ass, hoping that you provide well-deserved compensation.
Bartending, like prostitution, is no walk in the park easy profession.
Some thoughts about tipping:
When you spend enough time watching everyone else take drugs to mask personal deficiencies enjoy themselves, you need to keep yourself entertained. The easiest thing to do for fun is look for patterns: who is there all the time, what do people drink, what problems are people dealing with, how does that chick get so blacked out every night, etc.
However, all these patterns pale in comparison to the almighty trump card: who tips well*. I have heard drunken assholes say some absolutely vile things to female co-workers. However, as soon as the blacked-out nightmare leaves a happy hundy, all is forgiven. Tips are what make bartending a viable career in the States and, in my admittedly limited experience, I found the following genre of drinker to be the best tipper:
Affable bald white guy
The perfect patron. Affable bald white guy is easy-going, a little self-conscious about the cue ball, and wants to booze HEAVILY. He is genetically designed to rack up a respectable tab and, after you buy him a couple rounds, will throw you 30-40%.
As a final note to all you boozebags out there: tip your bartenders. It’s tough work.
*Obviously, it’s about waitresses but the theory translates. More importantly, it’s Tarantino.