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A peaceful person
A peaceful person

Maintaining a calm mind takes practice and the right mental tools.

Our job behind the bar is not only hard on our bodies, it’s hard on our minds. Humans are naturally reactionary creatures, we’re wired for fight or flight and it’s very hard to not react or get stressed out when a challenging situation arises, even if there isn’t really any danger. All of that stress can build up and eventually burn out our mind the same way physical stress can burn out our bodies. While physical exercise can help maintain our bodies,  mental exercise, like breathing meditation can help maintain our minds.

When things get really stressful though, it’s important to have the right mental tools to handle the situation. The same way we reach for a Hawthorne strainer when we need to strain a cocktail, we need to reach for the right mental tool when we are presented with a stressful situation. Listen to this episode in the player or wherever podcasts are found to find out how we can use compassion to maintain a calm and peaceful mind when things get tense with customers.

Be sure to visit our homepage for much, much more, and let me know how this worked out for you. You can leave a comment or send me a message through our contact page. Thanks so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

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A portrait of Joanna

A portrait of JoannaYou’re 86ed! Kicking people out of your bar isn’t very fun. It’s often a challenging and delicate situation that can sometimes even turn violent. It’s important to not take the situation personally, and also not make it personal so that things don’t escalate.

My guest today is Joanna Lioce, she’s worked in the industry since 2001, and for the past 16 years she’s worked at Vesuvio Cafe, one of the oldest bars in San Francisco. The bar is famous for 86ing the likes of Gregory Corso and Van Morrison, and Joanna has had to kick out plenty of other characters in her time behind the bar there.

Check out our conversation in the player or wherever podcasts are found to hear about some of Joanna’s craziest experiences, including the time she had to 86 a customer for sexually harassing her grandmother. Be sure to also check out our homepage for much, much more. And don’t forget to hit subscribe and stay tuned. I’ll see you next time!

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A portrait of Hannah

A portrait of HannahHello! First of all, apologies for all the radio silence. I had to do some traveling and then my laptop died a horrible death. Finally getting all of the pieces back together, and we’re now back to our regularly scheduled program! So stay tuned for more and don’t forget to hit subscribe.

We’ve talked a lot about things like empathy with customers, customer interactions and customer experience, but so far I’ve just had a bunch of bartenders on the show. I thought it might be a good idea to talk to a real live customer who doesn’t work behind the bar, and actually get their side of the story.

My guest today is Hannah Chamberlain, she runs Spirited LA, a bar and cocktail Instagram feed and blog that focuses on beautiful, creative and delicious cocktails, as well as cocktail culture and more. Hannah is essentially a professional bar customer. She’s she’s visited a ton of bars all over the world and it was really enlightening to hear about her experience on the other side of the stick.

Check out our conversation in the above player, or wherever podcasts are found. Also, be sure to visit our homepage for much, much more and let me know what you think of the show or would like to hear more of. You can leave a comment or send me a message through the contact page. I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers!

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Your Host in Busan
Your Host in Busan

Don’t go to Korea if you don’t like spicy food and light beer.

Hello again! Another month, another recap. This time I’m coming to you from Busan, South Korea, so apologies for the poor audio quality. I’m on vacation eating lots of spicy food and drinking lots of light beer, but I wanted to get this recap out to you. Definitely eat everything if you go to Korea, particularly the cold noodles if it’s summer time. Oh, and you should take a vacation. You deserve it!

Anyway, we had a lot of great discussions this month about issues that we face almost daily at our bars. I talked to Simone Mims about awkward guest interactions, Maura Passanisi about the challenges women face in the wine industry, Chris Tunstall from A Bar Above about career movement, and I shared some of my own advice about handling dogs at your bar.  I wanted to hit some of the main points with this recap episode, so you can have a few new tools to help you at your bar or restaurant.

Check out this episode in the player or wherever podcasts are found, and please hit subscribe in the player of your choice to stay up to date with our weekly conversations with bartenders about all kinds of different challenges. Subscribe to our mailing list too, I send a newsletter out about once a month, with even more great stuff. Cheers!

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A dog sleeping on the bar floor
A dog sleeping on the bar floor

This dog is providing a foot warming service.

Service dogs and non-service dogs, this seems to be one of the most contentious issues in our industry. I actually don’t have a guest this week because everyone I talked to about this immediately got heated about the issue. I understand there are a lot of feelings around the issue. There are a lot of misunderstandings, fears about discrimination, fears about the health department, confusion about the laws, customer’s not knowing the rules, people lying about their dog’s status, entitlement. This all leads to bad service interactions and unhappy staff and customers.

This is one of those issues, however,  that has a very simple solution. When someone comes into your bar with a dog, you have to have the right intention of good service. The dog may indeed be a service animal that is necessary for a medical condition, or the customer simply may not know or understand the laws. It’s our job to explain and clarify things in the same welcoming manner that we explain our wine list or today’s happy hour specials. Listen to this episode in the player or wherever podcasts are found to hear what I do when someone comes into my bar with a dog, and read on after the break for more information about the laws involved.

We are not allowed to have live animals in our bars and restaurants for health and safety reasons. In California, the Health and Safety Code lays out the various rules and exceptions around having animals in a food facility. Most other states and countries have their own sets of rules, but they are generally the same: Animals are not allowed in food facilities unless they are trained service dogs. The Americans With Disabilities Act protects people who have service dogs for medical reasons, and dictates what we bartenders are allowed to say and do when a customer brings a service dog into our bars.

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