5 Things You Should Know About Your Bartender

 

maurice amonBeing a bartender is not the easiest job in the world. You have to not only be abnormally organized, but you also need to have an extensive memory. As a bartender, you need to be overly friendly and willing to listen to people and be able to offer empathy both verbally and in liquid form. Bartenders play the role of therapist, friend, and party buddy. In essence, a bartender so much more than someone who pours your drinks and takes shots with you during a good time.

Thrillist spoke with a number of bartenders and anonymous industry pros about the parts of their jobs that are least understood. Hold this dear to you the next time you go to your favorite bar and hang out with your favorite bartender.

It looks easier than it is

Unlike conventional jobs, bartender often work longer than usual shifts. Shifts can last sometimes up to 10-12 hours and at times you may not get a break. Bartenders don’t usually come to work and just start making drink. There is extensive prep work that needs to done including slicing fruit and garnishes for drinks. Additionally, after spending a number of hours entertaining and catering to people, there is about an hour or two of cleanup.

A bartender’s life is not a endless party

One thing that a lot of customers may think is that a bartender’s life in nothing but shots and parties. Thrillest expertly compared the bartender to the parent at a slumber party. A bartender spends the entire time working to make sure that everybody else is having fun and no one goes overboard.

People trust bartenders more than their therapist

You don’t have to pay a bartender for their time. You pay them for drinks. Especially with a little bit of liquid courage, people tend to open up a little bit more.

Human interaction makes bartenders feel like they’re people too

Most bartenders are pretty open people. Talking to bartenders will make them feel like they aren’t just a robot. Tipping well will definitely add to your drink experience.

A bartender’s “favorite drink to make” will be the drink you enjoy most

Ordering a bartender’s signature cocktail will earn you a nod of approval and a bartender is usually happy to make something that they’re comfortable with and that they’re comfortable making.

Top 5 Bartending Hacks To Engage Customers

 

When one thinks of bartending hacks and tricks, the visual that comes to mind is always the bartender that does a number of bottle flips complete with flames and liquor being poured onto multiple levels of glasses. However, these aren’t the only things that can impress and be appreciated by a customer. Restaurantnews.com put together a simple list of hacks that will sure to make any customer happy and a continuing patron.

Getting To Know Customers

Being extra friendly is the number 1 rule in any bartender’s book. Getting to know your customers is a definite plus. Find out their favorite drinks, have them taste test new drinks that you’re creating, learn a little about their interests and family life. People like to feel like they are your friend and a part of a group. Not only does this method create happy customer, but it also creates loyal customers. And this method definitely doesn’t hurt in the tip department either. If you’re having issues remembering some facts, don’t be hesitant to jot down notes.

maurice bartenderKeep Your Bar Clean

Dirty bars can be major turn offs for customers not to mention it’s unhygienic. Clear up empty glasses, wipe up spills, and throw away any trash on the bar such as napkins garnish etc. Don’t underestimate an unorganized bar. Organization makes it looks cleaner and better, but it also makes you as the bartender look like you have things under control. All in all, no one looks good behind a dirty bar.

Anticipating Your Clients’ Needs

Great bartenders are in tune with their clients and don’t necessarily need to probe into what their customers want. Knowing what your loyal customers’ “regular” is becomes a great help and makes the customer feel like you know them. If their glass is empty, either refill it or ask if they would like anything else. In addition, pay attention to your stash as well. Making sure you are fully stocked will ensure less work in the future.

 

Be An Expert

Know your your drinks! Be prepared to create any drink your customers ask for. Especially if they’re well known drinks. Additionally, you should always know the day’s specials as well as what is on tap. Don’t forget to have a couple of tricks and sample drinks up your sleeve incase a customer asks for a suggestion.

Entertain

You don’t have to be the flashiest bartender with the most extensive tricks up their sleeve in order to impress guests. But learning a few simple tricks such as flipping a bottle will be sure to impress any customer.


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Restaurant News)

Flirting with the Bartender

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As a bartender you are the center of attention, you are what stands between a person and what they want. You are the person to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, even someone to yell at, and if you’re half decent at your job you wear a smile on your face while playing each role.  It is said that being behind a bar makes someone two points higher on a ten point scale of attractiveness. And whether people are flirting with you because they genuinely interested or there is something they want from you, it happens…. a lot. Here is some standard do’s and don’ts of flirting with the bartender.

What to Do (male bartenders):

  • Have the waiter or waitress give your number – Handing your number directly to the bartender often goes unrealized. We are busy people and your number might get lost.
  • Play hard to get – People flirt with us all the time, women and men. This advice is essentially dating advice but even more true for bartenders because they have more options.
  • Be interesting – This goes along with the last one, You need to stand out because we are talking with interesting people all day long. and In New York there is no shortage of beautiful women, so good looks alone seldom does the trick.

What Not to Do (male bartenders):

  • Don’t be obvious – Nothing turns off a bartender more than when you make it obvious you are interested. Again, this borders on simple dating advice, but the reason this is especially important for bartenders is the other customers are less likely to tip.
  • Don’t get jealous – We flirt like it’s our job, that is how we earn more money. If you are the jealous type, you might want to find a nice 9 to 5er.

What to Do (female bartenders):

  • Be funny – Sorry if you’re not an inherently gifted humorist but humor goes a long way in making a bartender’s day go by quickly. Make them laugh.
  • Play hard to get – Keep them interested, keep them wanting more. (see above)

What Not to Do (female bartenders):

  • Don’t get too drunk – This one is almost too obvious. Bartenders are generally not drunk on the job. You seem foolish.
  • Don’t be desperate – Simple dating advice but when female bartenders are the only females talking to you, you probably seem desperate.
  • Don’t assume – Female bartenders flirt, it does not mean they’re interested!

Things To Do On Long Island: Blue Point Brewery

maurice amon blue pointIf you’re taking a trip from New York City to Fire Island and find yourself passing through Patchogue, there’s a brewery you have to hit.  Blue Point Brewery is no stranger to craft beer fans in the northeast.  They produce the immensely popular Hoptical Illusion IPA and Toasted Lager, both mainstays of Long Island tap lineups and commonly seen in surrounding areas.

Like many breweries, Blue Point sports a tasting room that has evolved into something so much more than just a place to give their product a try.  The bar inside, in use for over a decade, is small…but there’s a large outdoor area with picnic tables, a food truck, plenty of shade (and people!), and even free fruit occasionally provided by the brewery as a snack.

When you walk in, you’ll be offered three free samples, each a six ounce pour.  They usually have over ten beers on tap, so you’ll be able to enjoy all of your favorite Blue Point brews or try some of their more adventurous beers.  After the free samples, beers can be purchased for much cheaper than you’ll find at bars in the area.

You’ll be surprised how small the operation is considering the prolific nature of the brewery, both in sheer quantity of beer distributed and the number of varieties they produce every year.  They’ve been doing this for a long time and must be very efficient.

Blue Point has recently been in the news after being acquired by Anheuser-Busch over the winter.  I thought at first it might have been one of their marketing pranks, but the sale was real.  Many were disappointed to hear they were acquired by a macro brewery.  I have to admit, it was a little disheartening, as it is one of my favorite Long Island breweries.  So far, however, there haven’t been any major changes to the lineup or recipes, as far as I can tell.  There also haven’t been any huge expansions…that will be needed eventually if Budweiser wants to distribute them more widely.  Of course, they could be using a contract brewer for that kind of growth.

Either way, Blue Point is still producing terrific beer, and the brewery is a must-visit.  It’s just steps away from the ferries to Fire Island and the Long Island Rail Road train station in Patchogue.  I also highly recommend the tacos from the truck outside, particularly the fish tacos, which go so well with some hot sauce and a pint of Hoptical.

Tipping Etiquette…for Bartenders

maurice amon tipping tips for bartendersBartenders think about tips a lot.  And we should – it’s how we get paid, and it’s inherently emotional.  When someone stiffs us, it sucks.  When someone tips 100%, it can make our night.  Career bartenders are good at letting the bad tips slide off our back, but we still take notice.

And bartenders have a lot of opinions about how tips should work.  From the percentage customers ought to tip based on the number of drinks, the size of the check, the duration of time spent at the bar, or the level of interaction they had with the bartender – there’s a lot of opinions out there.  And there are THOUSANDS of articles online instructing customers on how to tip.

What gets lost in the shuffle is tipping etiquette for bartenders.  Here are just a few thoughts I’ve had while working in bars for the past fifteen or so years…

 

 – 1 –  Don’t Talk About Tipping

Customers sitting at the bar, enjoying their drinks, don’t want to think about your salary.  Whether you’re commenting to another bartender or directly to the customer, discussing your tips in earshot of the customer is ugly.  Even that regular who truly cares about your well-being and always tips 30% probably doesn’t want to hear you complain about a low tip from another guest.  People are there to enjoy themselves, and your job is to facilitate that.

 

 – 2 –  Take Care of Your Staff

The only people making money in many restaurants and bars are the bar and floor staff.  When you have that amazing night, the night where you make $200 more than usual, this is an opportunity to thank your supporting staff for the help they offer you every night.  Make sure that your barback gets a little more than their regular cut.  The dishwasher who doesn’t usually get tipped out but helps out by removing bus tubs and delivering glasses promptly?  Throw him $50 and say thanks.  This shows your support staff that you care, and helps to build morale.

 

 – 3 –  Give Change

If someone orders an $8 drink and gives you a $10, put change on the bar.  They may want to tip you $2, and for that you can give the head nod of gratitude.  But some people want to tip $1.  Assuming the customer’s tip can put a bad taste in their mouth, even if they were going to tip you $2 anyway.  In today’s world of intense competition, that could be enough to convince a customer not to come back to your bar.