Bartending is an awesome job. It’s certainly the best job I’ve ever had. You get to hang out at the bar all the time, make creative drinks for people, have great conversations, go on cool brand-sponsored trips and booze-soaked summer camps, do shots of mezcal with your coworkers in the back. That’s the best part I think, my coworkers I mean, not the mezcal. Agave spirits are pretty wonderful too of course.
The camaraderie in this industry is like no other. I don’t even mind when I have to unclog the toilet during a happy hour rush because I know my coworkers have my back and we’re all on the same team. I’ve met some of my best friends in this industry and have had some of my most memorable experiences behind the bar. Everywhere I travel, I feel like I’m part of the tribe when I visit bars in new cities, and I am often treated as such. I think many would agree, this job is pretty fucking great!
It’s not all fun and cheekys though. Sometimes bartending is really shitty, like when you have to cut off overly drunk patrons, or when a shooting happens, or when ABC pulls a sting operation, or when a fight breaks out and you get a pool cue busted over your head. These situations are unfortunately inevitable and they can and do happen to everyone in our industry.
Hospitality is the part of this industry I love the most and it is arguably the most important. Being able to handle difficult situations when they arise is a critical part of good hospitality. The ability to handle bad situations is as important as greeting guests or efficiently building rounds for fast service, though it’s talked about far less frequently. We definitely need to start having conversations about handling bad situations, and that’s precisely what we are going to do here at You’re 86.
Every week, we will talk to a different bartender about how they deal with the challenging circumstances they face at their bars. This isn’t going to be a cheesy corporate training seminar: “Bob has had too much to drink. What do you do?” No, we will be having real conversations, with real bartenders about how they handled real situations with good and bad outcomes. Hopefully if we get enough of these stories in our heads we will be more prepared to handle similar situations when they arise at our own bars. Then hopefully our jobs will be safer, more fun and generally less shitty.
You’re 86 is coming soon!
Hey! You’re 86! The site is currently under construction, but we will get this thing kicked off soon.
You’re 86 is an interview style podcast and blog about how bartenders handle problems and bad situations at their bars. We’ll be interviewing real bartenders every week about everything from cutting people off to what you do when an angry guest breaks a pool cue over your head.