New York, NY

Male, 33

I bartended for three years in NYC and San Francisco … for better or worse. Ask me anything.

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19 Questions


Last Answer on January 22, 2013

Best Rated

Is bartending school a requirement to bartend?

Asked by boozo over 11 years ago

Bartending Licenses are a joke, at least in NYC. A great way to make sure you DON'T get hired is to come in waving your Bartending License. The number one way to get a bartending job in NYC is to be a hot girl. The sluttier the outfit you're willing to wear at the interview, the better. I have years of bartending experience and I've worked shifts where I've served over $4K in drinks in one night and a hot girl straight off the bus will get the job over me 100% of the time. I was once let go from a bar when business was slow because, as I was told, they thought business might be better if they had a “big-tittied girl” instead of a guy behind the bar.

How often would you date customers?

Asked by Entrecoup1 over 11 years ago

It's much different if you’re a female bartender. They probably get multiple numbers a night. They also, inevitably, get that one guy who thinks he's going home with her and won't leave when the bar is closing. A word of advice: Don't be that guy. You're not going home with her. She does this to everyone and you're just looking like more and more of a pathetic chump the longer you stay. Also - as a bouncer, these are often some of the most dangerous customers - the ones that won't leave when the bar is closed because they think they're going home with the female bartender. You're leaving one way or another. Whether you do it with your dignity or not is up to you. I'm not going to say I never went home with a patron, but I don't think I ever dated one. A lot of the people I worked with went home with patrons. I wasn't really that into it. Bars are fantasyland, and if you're the bartender, you're king of the fairies. People don't like you because you are you, they like you because you are “the bartender.” I was very aware of this, and the times when I did go home with someone, it wasn't that satisfying. Interestingly, I got way more of this type of thing when I was bouncing.

Why is music in bars so loud? We can barely hear one another, and bartenders need orders repeated several times. Makes no sense.

Asked by bigbuckhunt over 11 years ago

You're trying to whip the crowd into a frenzy, make the place larger than life. It’s all about creating that fantasyland. But I agree, it’s very annoying especially when you can't hear what someone is ordering. Your ears are usually ringing when you get home, too.

Are bartenders paid through tips only, or is there some hourly wage paid as well?

Asked by greymat over 11 years ago

Depends. I've worked off the books on tips only and I've worked on the books in some of the bigger bars.

Which customers are the worst tippers?

Asked by Sal over 11 years ago

The hip-hop crowd is the worst tippers of all time, period. Stereotype true. I worked a stint at Jay-Z's club and got stiffed 90% of the time. I've never seen anything like it. The club counters it by automatically adding a 20% tip on any order over $30. If you read the bill carefully you could figure it out, but no one ever read the bill.

Did you ever find yourself playing therapist to customers, like we see in the movies?

Asked by mouse-y over 11 years ago

When I got bored, I’d go into the "tell me anything" mode. People will tell you some weird shit. You have to be careful with it, though, because if business picks up, they still want you to play therapist.

What's the biggest tip you've ever received?

Asked by pumped over 11 years ago

I got $100 tip straight-up once. When I was working at Jay-Z's, I (ironically) got a huge tip on a technicality - someone ordered a few bottles of champagne at $400 each (add mandatory 20% tip and you get into the hundreds pretty quick). I think that guy also didn't notice they were sneaking 20% in on him and added a tip on top of that.

On a typical Fri or Sat night, what time would you actually leave work? Before the sun comes up?

Asked by Vic over 11 years ago

In New York bars close at 4. Once the bar closes you have to clean and count out your money. So you're usually out by 4:30-5, unless there is some kind of after party and you decide to stick around for it. A lot of places I worked the managers, bar staff and a few regulars would stick around and drink sometimes until as late as noon the next day. Clubs are another animal - at least the big ones are. The big ones are usually huge and take forever to close out. They're also big money making ventures and have a lot of liability so there's not as much drinking behind the bar and there is almost never a after party. When I worked clubs I typically got out around 7-8am. They're less fun, the hours are longer and the music is horrible but the money is usually way better.

Is it true that you can tell a lot about a girl based on what drink she orders? (e.g. beer = cool, scotch = really cool, martini = pain in the ass)

Asked by quenra over 11 years ago

I like your rating scale. I'm not sure if martini always equals pain in the ass but I'm pretty sure scotch equals really cool. The quick answer is sort of. I never really cared what anyone ordered (with the exception of mojitos because they are a pain in the ass to make and once someone orders one suddenly everybody wants one). My main qualifier for if girl sucks or not based on the drink they order is if they know what they want (which means they're cool) or the come up and pull one of these: "Ummmmm, I want something....hmmmm... something like, strong but good. Like, not too sweet but kind of fruity." That person sucks. I also have a qualifier for guys. Guys that come up and start ordering stupid shots like Liquid Cocaines or Incredible Hulks or anything on fire or any other assortment of retarded drinks they've heard of, have no idea what is in, and pretend tastes good - those guys are douche bags.

Every one of my attempts at a friendly buy back has been an epic fail (i.e. turned down outright, or ended up with me buying the bartender a drink with no reciprocation.) Am I doing something wrong?

Asked by Kyle over 11 years ago

Tough to say. Possible causes: 1) You might be in the wrong bar. Some bars emphasis making money over service. 2) You might be going when it's too busy. Often times if the bar is busy and you're not a regular it's not worth it to give a buy back. You're going to buy another drink either way. 3) You're trying to hard. If you get a free drink - great. If not - so what? Don't go expecting one. 4) You might not be awesome enough to get a buy back. Can't help you with that one. As for buying the bartender a drink - I never understood that. There is an entire bar back there at their disposal. Why would you buy them a drink when they can have whatever they want for free? A big tip will get you much farther with a bartender than buying them a drink.

What's the best way to get a bartender's attention?

Asked by marcialo over 11 years ago

DON'T yell at the bartender. DON'T learn the bartender's name and shout it out whenever you want something. You're two-dollar tip is worth about, oh, two dollars. For two bucks I don't need to deal with an asshole. A lot of girls would try and get your attention by cutting in to the front of the bar and pushing their tits up at you. I never went for that -- I thought it was petty and stupid. But not surprisingly, a lot of guy bartenders did go for it. The best advice I can give if its crowded is to know what you want and have your money out. The bartender is just trying to crank out drinks, help them work fast and they will remember you. Starting with a huge tip doesn't hurt either.

Are buybacks done at the bartender's discretion, or do certain bar managers advise their staff to comp customers drinks every so often?

Asked by cola over 11 years ago

Depends, I would say usually bartenders discretion. Also depends how busy the bar is. Bar owners wince a little less at seeing someone give away product when the place is packed.

If I'm paying by credit card and forget to close out my tab, is there a standard gratuity that's applied to my bill (and if so, what is it??)

Asked by imgne6 over 11 years ago

Depends. I don't think there is anything standard. Usually it’s whatever the bar manager decides to add.

How often would guys have you send a drink to a girl at the other end of the bar? And in your estimation, how often was this ... effective?

Asked by Z-Pain over 11 years ago

The 'buy a drink for the girl at the end of the bar' thing happened occasionally, but not that frequently. It almost always worked in striking up a conversation. Whether it lead to anything beyond that I have no idea. One thing I learned in bars: women are very bad at turning down a free drink. Even if they don't like the guy buying it or the guy buying it is a total creeper.

Do bartenders pay taxes on tips?

Asked by sylbot almost 11 years ago


What is the best way to prepare to become a bartender (other than getting your license)?

Asked by Silas over 9 years ago


What do you have to do to get your bartending license? In tennessee, you can get it when you're 18. Do you think they'd hire someone under 21 to be a bartender?

Asked by Jen over 9 years ago


How long would it take someone with reasonable intelligence but zero bartending experience to become competent enough to get by?

Asked by Alabama slammer almost 11 years ago


How do you remember how to make all the drinks?

Asked by boozehound almost 11 years ago