Bartending requires more than just dexterity and cocktail knowledge. If you want to make the most out of this job…you have to learn how to accept people from literally all the crevices of life. It is important to understand that serving drinks is just the first step on the trail to maximizing your gratuity and making a few friends. Don’t judge, do your best to be hospitable, and take some time…if you have it…to connect with your guests. You never know who might be sitting at your bar. Of course, if they are rude or annoying…fuck it…short pour their cocktails and ignore them. Over the last couple of months I have received some unique forms of appreciation…in addition to the usual tips…by utilizing this practice…a prepaid credit card for $100, a gift certificate from a major eyewear company for a free pair of sunglasses of my choosing, and a couple of joints hidden inside carefully folded $5 bills. So tonight…Steve and I were completely slammed…it was the kind of shift where you are playing catch up the entire evening…always a step or two behind. At one point, I looked over at Steve’s side to see how he was holding up, and noticed an older Italian gentlemen I had met a year ago at the bar…and had not seen since…sitting with Steve. All that I could remember about him was that he was a really nice guy and I had enjoyed his company the last time he visited. I took a quick break from the action and went over to welcome him back. He was happy to see me, we shook hands, briefly exchanged pleasantries and he gave me a bottle of Italian olive oil! As it turns out…he is the owner an olive oil company in Italy. This man is in his late sixties…has a huge family to take care of, runs a thriving business…and found it in his heart to pack a heavy bottle of olive oil all the way from Italy to give to a bartender. It’s moments these that force me to appreciate this aspect of the profession. Like I said…you never know who is sitting at your bar.
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