THE BARTENDER KNOWS #14
Ok, ladies, here we go. This one is for you.
I’ve receive some criticism here and there about how much I rail against certain shitty female bartenders. I’ve also criticized certain fashion choices, crappy attitudes and many other gender-related issues regarding the world of modern bartending. But the pendulum must swing both ways. Now the cock is on the chopping block (is that an actual saying? It should be). Run for the hills, men. I’m no traitor, but today, I’m coming for you (not like that, you pervert).
Here’s the truth about my fellow male bartenders. If you can’t finish university, you can become a bartender. If you just got out of jail, you can become a bartender. If you have a serious (and undisclosed) drug problem, you can become a bartender. If you don’t play in an awesome, original band, you can become a bartender. Men are always useful in the bar atmosphere. They can lift heavy stuff and most of the time don’t mind cleaning vomit from behind the toilet bowl. Men are good to have around a bar because it does intimidate would-be robbers and potential psychopaths (although I do know some ladies who could knock a dude out bareknuckled, hands down).
But sometimes men suck — as bartenders, I mean. Let me count the ways MEN are failing us in the taverns of today:
- HITTING ON ALL THE LADIES.
Listen here. Half the benefit of working in the bars is the access to single women. This is a fact (not counting the easy money, free booze, being able to travel anywhere with a couple of smart shift swaps, etc). But I’ve walked into perfectly empty bars and the bartender is busy on his LEAN (you know, that sort of lazy bend over the bar that dudes do) chatting up some lady across the bar. He should have noticed someone walking into his bar. He should have greeted the person upon entry. Instead, there he is, acting like Harry Styles cuckolding Jason Sudeikis, trying to get his dick wet. Make the glass wet, homeboy, the girl can wait half a minute. Save the X-Rated business after you handle MY business. There’s real working men out here who need a drink (but since you’re a young male bartender, you’re probably still trying to figure out what real work is).
2. THE ATTITUDE.
Aw man, here’s another epidemic of male toxicity. The EGO of some of these bartenders, it’s ridiculous! First off fellas, you should be happy you’re even behind the bar. That’s tax-free money, son! Like “stuff it in your mattress” kind of money — no one will ever know where you got it. So what’s with the fake arrogance? As described above, you’re a novelty item. You’re like those weird costumed characters at Disneyland, hidden underneath layers of cloth and fur. The characters need to be there — you don’t. We need Mickey Mouse and Goofy. We don’t need your macho attitude. It’s not a privilege to be served by you. Being a male bartender is the equivalent of fronting a mediocre local cover band in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Yeah, you’ll get laid. You’ll get drinks bought for you. That bad attitude will not lead you to immortality — it will just lead you to the drug problem you probably have already started to develop with diligence.
3. REVERSE STRIP-CLUBBING.
I discuss in every column about the phenomenon of getting “strip clubbed” at bars (check the old columns). Definition: You will take what we give you (shorted drinks). You will not complain (or we will kick you out). You will pay what we say to (always over-priced). You will enjoy this (total submission). I explained this theory of getting “strip-clubbed” to a person at a local bar the other day. They had the perfect analogy for it. They said: “Oh, it’s like being at an airport bar. It’s cold. It’s impersonal. It’s over-priced. And there’s no way out.” I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I told this person: “Damn, you should be the writer. That’s EXACTLY it!”
It’s one thing to get “strip-clubbed” by an uneducated, haughty, supposedly attractive lady bartender. At least there’s an illusion (totally unsubstantiated) that the dumb drunk guy thinks he might be able to get it on with the bartender, even if she’s being rude to him (she thinks you’re scum, btw). But what about getting “strip-clubbed” by another dude? What’s that about? It’s even worse when that same male bartender knows you’re a bartender too. This just happened to me the other day here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (I won’t say where. I will say it’s some place off Metropolitan Avenue. I’ll let you guys guess where).
This dude knew me. We even worked together at one time. He was friendly enough. He measured each drink. Each one cost $9 dollars for a two finger pour. I bought five of them. There was no buyback. The drinks stayed that same measured pour. Hit the tourists with that stuff, man. Leave us fellow bartenders alone. I could have just drank at home. People don’t go to bars for the booze. They go to the bars for the experience — and this experience sucked. What’s even worse? Three hot girls came in right after me and he didn’t measure a goddamn thing. He bought all of them a round of shots for the hell of it. I still tipped him perfectly (of course). I didn’t mention my concerns (who would listen?). I smiled, saluted him and walked out.
This was a total betrayal of our craft. It’s like two doctors sharing medical advice to one another. We should be sticking together in all this.
Like I said. Male bartenders suck. And yes, as a male bartender, my EGO will not be satisfied until being “strip-clubbed’ becomes part of the bar nomenclature.
Of course there has to be a post-script to this column. There are PLENTY of fantastic male bartenders out there. There’s guys that will greet you the moment you cross the boundary of their shift. There’s dudes who can read your mood, feelings and intentions the moment you pull out that barstool and act accordingly. There’s the fellas that know and live by the buyback rule and ain’t scared of a heavy-hand pour. These men show up on time, keep the money right in the register and prevent fights from going down on their watch. They are the examples of a Great Male Bartender.
Careful though. They will still go home with your lady if you’re not paying attention. I mean, that’s half the reason why we do this job.