Bartender Culture Insights into the Lives of Barfolk

Inside the Industry

Bar folk live by their own set of rules and codes, some are universal and some territorial.

For example, if the society that roamed by day knew how much alcohol night dwellers really consume they would catch a buzz from a handshake. Alcohol tolerance levels are through the roof thanks to consumers who behave badly.

We are all aware that alcohol can take lives, but what about the lives that are saved? When impatient amateurs waste a server’s valuable time with stupid questions about frozen drinksa shot is in order. When a 200-pound football player complains that his amaretto sour is not strong enoughit is time for a cocktail. When you have to explain to someone that cranberry overpowers the flavor of the vodkapour the staff a stiff one. And it’s not just the staff that sneaks away for a quickie. Attention annoying nagging women: Your men are putting back shooters with the staff while you are in the bathroom, paying cash so it’s not on the tab.

Another secret of the service industry is that a true liquor salesperson knows how to sell drinks according to the consumer’s ailment. A sore throat or stuffy head might surface suggestions such as Rumpleminze or any number of hot toddies. Tired maybe a coffee drink or a Jagerblaster. Back pain/tooth pain calls for tequila, whiskey, or a lot of vodka. Red wine might mellow out a headache. And a martini in any form is always relaxing during times of stress.

However, one of the greatest work related stress relievers seems to be the race to the “last call”. Most people in the service industry partake in the coveted race to last call quite often. There are several challenging stages. Initially, one is faced with completing their duties in time to go to another bar for a drink. I’m not sure if the thrill lays in the fact that someone else is now serving or if it’s just a desperate need for a change of atmosphere.

The second challenging stage is getting everyone organized, leaving the laggers behind, and keeping the location secret from people whom you can’t stand to spend another minute with. The third, and most vital, stage is sliding up to the bar and obtaining a beverage, even though liquor bottles are being put away and lights are on.

This is of course accompanied with obscene tipping, to show we are members of the society and we feel their pain. Having transferred some frustrations to the local bartender, one can relax at time with a civil bottle, I mean glass, of wine.