There’s prejudices about everything and everyone, so it comes as no surprise that there are also some myths about the profession of bartending. What is really true about those stereotypes? Have you personally ever been confronted with any of these stigmas?
Working behind a bar equals partying
Some people think that working behind a bar automatically means that everything is always just fun and games, but in fact being the only sober person between drunk guests can be extremely exhausting.
Bartenders are surrounded by people who have been drinking all night and it is their task to clean up after all of them at the end of their shift, which means that it is not unusual to work until 5 in the morning. Furthermore bartending requires multitasking: working the cash system, preparing drinks and refilling the fridges are only a few of the tasks of the bar staff. In order to succeed you need to be outstanding at organizing yourself.
Bartenders are uneducated
A lot of people believe that bartending is super simple since it ‘only’ requires pouring a couple of drinks. Let’s talk again on a Saturday night when the bar is surrounded by a crowd of thirsty guests. The complexity of the profession bartending is highly underestimated by many. In reality it requires a broad knowledge of all spirits served, preferably some work experience behind the bar and the ability to multitask. Before starting to work in a bar most people with the ambition to work as a mixologist go through a formal training. Many bar keepers do not only have a college education but are also 'socially smart': Working with people means you need to be emphatic since it's necessary to adapt to every customers' behavior.
Bartending is only a side job
It is a widely spread myth that working at a bar is simply a side jobs for students who have to save up to afford paying their tuition. Reality looks different: In order to grow professionally as a bartender it is not just recommended to attend a proper training but most venues in cities with a mature cocktail scene require employees to have some references. Get more information about advanced bartending education here.
Getting hit on is part of the job description
Yes, it does happen. Although, when you work behind a bar you eventually master the art of avoiding personal questions about yourself. Just try to smile politely and be an active listener instead of revealing for example when you finish your shift. In case you have to deal with a customer that’s extremely drunk and starts to get handsy, you’ll just have to ask him or her to leave the bar or ask security for help.
Bartenders have an alcohol problem
No. Definitely not. Bartenders have access to all kinds of alcoholic beverages at work, but there are restrictions. If you are intoxicated at work, it’ll get you fired. Also, if someone who’s working behind the bar would have an alcohol problem, the temptation to drink would be way too big. It is more likely that being in touch with alcohol and drunk people 5 times a week will keep bartenders from drinking excessively.
Being a bartender is only a job for guys
Bartending is mostly associated with a male person serving drinks. Looking back in history most bartenders were male, however today 60% of all bartenders are actually female, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact some women contributed to shaping the bartending industry fundamentally. An example for this is Ada Coleman (1903- 1926) who is widely considered to be one of the most talented mixologists ever. When she was 24 she started working behind a bar. In the early 1900 it was very uncommon that women were seen behind the bar, but Coleman even earned the title of head bartender and created a drink known under the name ‘Hanky Panky’ which is a negroni-like cocktail featuring Fernet. -That’s girl power!
Written by Sofia- February 2018