11 Awesome Things About Being a Bartender

Male bartender pouring a shotEventually, your savings account, book deal, and welfare runs out. So you've got to get a job. Employment mostly sucks and you've got no profitable skills, except for that thing you do with your mouth, but you don't want to do that to gross people. What if I told you there's a job where you'll earn more money, fame and sexual favors than your lunkhead friends who wear ties and work in offices?

It's true, it's called bartending. And here's what's so awesome about it:

1. Condoned Debauchery

Sometimes you just want to see a girl embarrass herself. By getting naked. With a can of whipped cream. With her friend. Trying to find some red bar cherries. With her tongue. In front of the entire bar. While the security cameras roll so you and your friends can laugh and watch it later.

2. Free Bodyguards

Bartender with his bouncer
Every bartender needs a dude 3x his size manning the door.
Not everybody likes having their girlfriends ridiculed for being loose sluts and now those guys want to kick your ass. Some guys just don't like people and they get meaner when they're drinking. These dipsticks will gather all their friends who wear Affliction t-shirts on a random night with the intention of getting some ass or kicking some ass. Unfortunately, as a bartender you're a giant walking target. But fret not, dear drink slinger. That bald-headed bouncer at the front of the door is on your side, just itching for a reason to crack some skulls. And your grunting fellow employee didn't get kicked out of the Marine Corps for being too nice...

3. Every Day is Payday

Sure you could wake up before noon, show up to an office, and hand out business cards. But at the most, you get paid once a week. When you're a mixologist, every night at work is pay night. Or party night. Or picking up random strangers night.

4. Money for Nothing and Chicks for Free (but you don't need to watch MTV)

Seriously, you spend a few hours pouring stuff and charging people for it. Everybody thinks you're cooler than you actually are and you get paid accordingly. Granted, you don't get benefits or pension plans, but who cares? Every cougar (if you're a guy) or dude (if you're a girl or a guy) might be a millionaire looking for a new toy to play with and pay for.

5. You're a Rock Star (except you don't need—you know—talent)

Bartender dancing with a hot chick
Live it up, keeper of the drink.
You're on stage performing every night for a typically receptive crowd. The more you put on a show, the more people enjoy you—and tip you. Plus, sometimes they're not just opening their wallets for you. Bartenders are constantly surrounded by shit-faced people looking to score more booze, drugs, or sex. If you've been in the service industry longer than a week, you can get all that stuff on command. Delivered if you like.

6. Your Fingers are in a Lot of Pies

When you're immersed in the life, you find out things you shouldn't but are glad to know. Booze makes people talk, and sometimes they forget you're an actual person who can listen, so they'll tell you some crazy stuff. The busboys rub their balls over the silverware in which gourmet restaurant? That hot waitress at the brewpub down the road is only 17 but turning legal in two weeks and her boyfriend is a tool? The dishwashing dude next door sells awesome weed?

7. Your Fellow Night Owls

I've worked the evening shift for almost a decade, and I can honestly say the people on duty—whether they're bus drivers, red eye cops, or your buddy bartenders—are smarter, more interesting, and cooler than the so-called "normal people." So you can't get a job with a doctorate in philosophy, but you sure can make an interesting point without using a slideshow. When the bars are slow you carry on some fascinating conversations with your friends—and not just about fantasy football. Your collective ideas solve the world's problems every night. The planet would definitely be a different, if not better place with these people in charge.

8. South of the Border Action

There are a lot of different Mexicans: regular dudes, lawn-mowing guys, the fellows that hang out at Home Depot, Supreme Court justices, and college-educated alumni. But my favorite are the Mexicans who work in restaurants and bars. They're incredibly funny, smart, and have an obscene tolerance for mouth pain. I'm the kind of ninny who starts crying when he opens a bottle of Tabasco sauce, but you could put napalm on a Mexican's tongue and he'd just say, "Yeah, it's kind of spicy but my Tia Rudy makes a casserole that will burn the hair off your unborn grandson's pelotas." Even so, if you trust a Mexican with your gut, he'll trust you with his food. Sure, sometimes they eat some wild shit, like "lengua" (cow tongue), "chapulines" (grasshoppers), and "pollo con frijoles negroes" (chicken with black beans), but try a bite of their food, and if your tastebuds don't melt off from the heat, the meal will melt in your mouth.

9. Shots All Around

Bartender taking shots with a customerA free drink is good, but a stolen drink is always better. Even though you have access to thousands of ounces of booze, people still want to buy shots for you. And if you're a drinker, you get to take them (unless you work in a bar with "rules"). I've seen petite female bartenders outdrink 300-pound bikers. There's a saying in our world, "If you can't do your job drunk, then you just can't do your fucking job." Some of the drunkest nights of my life have been while working. You could hook up an IV full of tequila to me and that still might not crack some of the inebriation I've worked with. Yet somehow I've paid my entire month's rent with just a few hours of "work." Also, sometimes a bottle of whiskey, vodka, or other delight magically ends up in your backpack at the end of the night. Hooray! More hooch for nothing!

10. Women Go Crazy for You

The most buck-toothed woman in the world still probably gets hit on more than truly good-looking guys like Jack Black, Steve Buscemi and William Shatner. But when you're a dude and you step behind a wooded bar, all of a sudden you're a sex symbol and women start going crazy for you. They WANT to show you their boobs. They'll BEG you to make out with them in front of their friends. They'll grab cocktail napkins and write their phone numbers along with other important measurements or talents.

11. Tax-Free Dough

When I'm making money behind the bar, I don't give a shit about Uncle Sam. He doesn't need to know how much I'm really making, so I don't feel the need to tell him. All the money that I make, I keep—even though most of my money goes right back to the bars on my nights off. Bartenders are usually exceptional tippers, as are most people in the restaurant biz or service industry. So there are probably millions of dollars that just get transferred from waitress to bartender to hostess to stripper.

But every silver-lined cloud has buckets of acid rain. Here are some of the crappier things about making a living by partyin':

  • How the hell are you getting home if you and all your friends are drunk? If you're not a cheapass you can always call a cab, but good luck trying to find a taxi an hour past closing time. Plus, you need to remember where you live.

  • Significant others hate when you're constantly getting hit on. It's true, even the most confident person will worry when your job is to look attractive and swoon stupid people.

  • Drunk idiots. Of course they're fun to ridicule, throw stuff at, or blow farts on, but in the end, they're just shaved monkeys with too much money.

  • Dating in the industry. Most people you meet will keep opposite hours, so you're forced to bed with other bartenders, wait staff, or whatever. When the crazy stripper is the most stable relationship you've had, bartending starts to suck.

But fuck it! You're getting paid to screw off! Grab a bottle opener and get a job!

Continue to 11 Awesome Things About Being a Bouncer »



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Andrei Trostel's picture

Nicely done, and extra points for the Dire Straits reference in #4 ;-)

Christa Joy's picture

This definitely makes me reconsider the service industry! Good job, dude!

Agreed.

Grasshopper's picture

All awesome points for bartending, unfortunately they dont apply to the gaming jobs. Nobody cops more aggressive "i hate myself and how much money i lost so im gonna take it out on you" shit than the poor jerk who fixes your slot machine for you.
And the same goddam joke every 5 mins - NO I DO NOT KNOW WHICH MACHINE WILL PAY AND I CAN NOT FIX THE FUCKING MACHINE SO YOU CAN WIN YOU FAILED BACK ALLEY ABORTION OF A COCKSUCKER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gavin Pitt's picture

Awesome article. Don't forget you also get to keep either a shotgun or a baseball bat with "Peacekeeper" written on it behind the bar and can murder people who give you problems without the law touching you!

Btw- where did this somewhat redundant expression "Night Owl" come from? Are there "Day Owls" flying around some part of the US I'm not aware of?!

btw again- who's the hot bartender guy in the first picture, and how can I get some of *him* on tap?!

Casey Freeman's picture

You'll have to ask Court who the guy at the top of the story is. I have no idea. I've never had to hit somebody with a peacemaker, but there's always tomorrow for my dreams to come true. As always, thanks for the kind words.

Courtney's picture

Well done :) Makes me want to leave my stable government job and go back to serving and bartending...almost.

For a good long stretch my most stable realtionship was a chick we danced go-go in a lesbian club. Oh, and she dealt on the side. Or was it she dealt and danced on the side? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Lesbians give better head. I'm just sayin'.

hell yeah bar tending is the shit man i personally enjoy it im a bartender myself at a mexican restaurant and its fun as fuck

Your forgetting seeing random famous people do incredibly dumb shit.