Startender Diaries

Stories


My favorite bartender of all time is this scruffy, loud mouthed, cigarette smoking, older man with a beard and beer belly named Brad. He worked the 6am shift in a dive bar of Old Town Orange, California. If you’re wondering who goes to a bar at 6am, well lots of people do when you have a consistent and charismatic personality behind the bar. His bar was filled with graveyard shift nurses, hardcore alcoholics, policeman coming off the beat, people with hangovers and then bartenders like myself who wanted a little beer buzz at 9am before opening up shop down the street. If bartending was art, Brad was my Starry Night. His presence stayed with me long after the encounter, leaving me with feel good vibes to carry with me all day (even if I left sober). Continue reading...
I used to work for a psychopath in my Asian Gangster Bar days, his motto was “Get Every Dollar”. That phrase stuck with me over the many years I bartended and “Get Every Dollar” came to mean something different to me, not just the obvious greed it implies. Every dollar counts when you’re a server. Continue reading...
Your place of work can serve as a safe haven: a place of routine, busy tasks, familiar faces and friendships, all a great place to distract you from whatever it is you’re dealing with in your personal life. In my years of bartending, I’ve learned no soul is exempt from troubles - none of them. People are either going into a crisis or coming out of a crisis in their relationships, finances, family, career or health. Continue reading...
If the money you make covers your bills, then you have a real job. I never understand when customers ask me questions along the lines of “what's next after this”. In other words, when are you going to get a “real” job. Not only is this offensive, but it's presumptuous. I make an above average and very satisfying living as a bartender, I love coming to work everyday and my efforts are reflected in my tips. (Hint: You will always earn a proportionate amount to the value of services you're providing). Continue reading...
Nothing gets you to the top of your bar/restaurant like acting as if you own the place. This means taking pride in your job no matter how inconsequential you feel your position is (for now). Sounds like common sense right? But when put into practice every time you're on the clock, it can be easy to slack and brush things off as “not my responsibility”, or when your feet hurt and you're tired and just effing over it. Continue reading...
And they have all ended DISASTROUSLY, but I couldn't stop doing it. Mostly because I'm optimistic, I think, this time will be different, I really like this person. But also, because if you're around me a lot, you naturally become part of my life in friendship or otherwise (laws of proximity). I don't think there's anything wrong with dating customers, but be prepared for things to not work out and seeing them hanging around your shift because that's what they were doing before you dated - super awkward! Continue reading...