Matthew D’Abate
4 min readJul 31, 2022

Oh, the questions I get! Last week’s was quite a doozy — plenty of responses from that one (sex sells, always). This week’s inquiry is more instructional, but just as interesting. Luckily your bartender knows everything, so this shouldn’t be such a bother. Buckle up, buttercup.

It’s the question of the Resume. Basically, you want to become a bartender and get that perfect job so you too can wake up at sunset, make under the table tips, get off work by dawn, and become a highly functional drug addict slash crafty spinster.

Most jobs require you to give them a CV or a resume so that they can get some idea of who you are and what sort of relevant experience applies to the position. Usually on one piece of paper, you are to convey the whole of ‘you’ to your potential employer.

This might be great if you are applying at The Gap or Applebee’s, but for a serious tried and true bartender position, the resume is virtually useless. Now before you erase your Indeed profile completely, let me clarify a couple of things.

The moment you walk into the bar, introduce yourself to the current employee and shake hands, the bartender has already clocked you. You hand them that freshly printed piece of paper of the jobs you suffered from previously and the second you leave that establishment, that same piece of work you toiled over goes right into the wet garbage. Sometimes the bartender has a little pity for you and will place it with the other 100’s of resumes from bygone years in the drawer that no one has opened in three years. Why would one bartender be so cruel to a fellow soldier? Easy answer.

They want to keep their job.

There is no security in the bar world. I’m not joking; zero, zip, nil, nada, fucking none. There’s more job security in recycling cans from street trash than in the bar world.

I have never gotten a job as a bartender by turning in a resume. It’s never happened. Not once. I also haven’t gotten a job from my illustrious English Literature degree — although I think those two topics are unrelated. Let’s take it back to gender. Women, you want to become a bartender? Just walk in. Talk to anyone who has a modicum of power and you’ll be fine. You’ll be hired over anyone even remotely more experienced than you on pure principal (see TBK #2).

Fellas, a resume won’t help you either. Here are the facts. The bar world is the ultimate Cult Of Personality. Similar to Hollywood or Drug Dealing, it’s really about who you know. We’ll get more into the hierarchy of the bar world; the owners, the managers, the employees, the investors, etc, etc, in future columns.

Here’s the harsh reality. Any bar that requires a resume for an interview has already sold themselves out. They showed their hands! Why, you ask? I’ll break it down real quick. Since the bar world is a Cult Of Personality, that means they shouldn’t have any problem finding people to man the helm of their trusted steed. They hire from the recommendations of their employees. 99% of the time someone got their bar job because another employee of said establishment recommended them.

The fact a bar ‘requires’ a resume says many things. One, their employees don’t like the higher management — and would never recommend their friends to work for the same disaster they found themselves in. They’re probably angling to escape right now. Second, the employers don’t trust their own bartenders and would never take their recommendations anyways. Now this is just a full-on toxic environment. It’s a bar, not the fucking UN. World affairs are not at stake here, but the amount of discord might as well be equal. What a drag! Who wants all that?

So, a bar that requires a resume proves two things: Their employees hate them and they hate their employees. Who would want to relax after a long day in a vibe like that? Not no one.

Because what is a resume — really? A bunch of words typed down on a piece of paper. How do you know those references are real? Couldn’t that ‘previous manager’ just be a loyal buddy willing to pretend they worked for them? What bar manager (not the cream of the crop of intelligence, if you know what I mean) has the time to dutifully explore each and every reference on this flimsy paper example? Does it make you a better bartender if you can write nice things and print them out? I think that’s a clerical job.

It doesn’t help when two men break bottles in your establishment and try to cut each other. It doesn’t help when someone overdoses in your bar bathroom. It doesn’t prove you can mix cocktails, charm strangers, and wipe up three spills from the local drunken college students — all at the same time.

A small piece of paper is there to do exactly what you think it should do:

It’s something to wipe your ass with. And, it should be treated accordingly.

This is just a little more free advice from your local bartender, keeping the lights burning for those who need that last call. And until next week, this shot is on me.



Matthew D’Abate

Matthew D'Abate is a writer and host of @KILLTHECATRADIO. He is the founder of @LITERATESUNDAY and the bartender @THEBARTENDERKNOWS.