Archive for February, 2014


Bartenders gettin’ no respect

I couldn’t possibly guess how many bars  I have been in in my life but if I had to the number would easily hit the 100 mark. I guess I have been a regular at bars since I was 23. Back then I worked at the Texaco on Hulen Street and when I got off at three I would swing by the Applebees one block over and have a beer or two (in case you’re wondering where I’m talking about it’s a Cotton Patch now). I didn’t think much about it at the time but I guess my main reason for going there was that the daytime bartender, a guy named Adam, was always real nice to me, and we would usually pass the time talking about the Cowboys or women, or work, or whatever seemed relevant.

Since that time I have frequented bars all over the country. Some in L.A., some in Wisconsin, a couple in Chicago, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, but most right here in Texas. And everywhere I go and every bartender I meet I run into a familiar theme. Bartenders do not get the respect they deserve. In the movie Cocktail Bryan Brown tells a young Tom Cruise that the bartender is the aristocrat of the working man, and I believe that (although it is a slight contradiction in terms). But in all seriousness a good bartender plays a pivotal role in the working man’s week (or working woman to be pc about it). A bartender is sort of a friend and a therapist and a caretaker all rolled into one. Good bartenders are hard to find and should be valued the same way great salespeople or PR people, or any number of other professionals are valued. I know how hard good bartenders are to find because in all my years of drinking I can think of about ten offhand that I really gave a damn about.

Unfortunately it seems most bars don’t value their bar or waitstaff all that much either. Just found out a good friend of mine is losing almost all of her shifts because she forgot to put up a liquor order. Last year another friend of mine was fired for behavior unrelated to the bar she worked in. And over the years I have seen many bartenders quit or get fired because the owner and/or general manager decided to hire someone younger or hotter, or someone they didn’t have disagreements with. Frankly as a patron I am tired of this type of juvenile behavior.

I’m not suggesting that their are not bartenders that don’t deserve to be fired. I’ve seen some that I wonder how they got the job in the first place. But good bartenders shouldn’t be treated like they r just some pair of tits and ass that can be replaced with the next set as soon as they have any problems. Good bartending isn’t about being hot, or even being a woman, it’s about connecting to the customer, and developing relationships with them in the confines of the bar. The best bartenders know how to make the most people happy in the short time they are there.

Any person can fill drink orders. In fact if that were all it were I could be one of the best bartenders on the planet ( I make a mean cocktail) but I know their is more to it than that. Making people feel special is the primary reason for a bars success, and that is not something u can just replace with anyone that comes along.

Next time u see your favorite bartender maybe tell them how much u appreciate what they do. Because from where I’m sitting they don’t get nearly enough respect.


Jack B.