Have you ever wonder why people love the bar so much?
Being in my late 20’s I’ve come to realize that there are two different types of a ‘night out’. There’s the one where you put on one of your better dresses. You do your hair and makeup just right and go to a club where you and your friends dance with strangers and drink the night away.
Then there’s the night where your clothes consist of comfortable jeans and a stain free shirt. Your hair is in a messy bun as you walk into your favorite bar to relax for the evening. It probably comes as no surprise that I prefer the second type of night.
There is something cozy and homey about bars. And after spending time visiting ones from all around the world, I’ve come to realize a few things about why people love the bar so much.
No matter your lifestyle there is always a bar out there for you. From the upper class that serves prohibition style cocktails. To the dive bars where country and rock pour from the jukebox. There is a bar for everyone. Personally I prefer the Irish pubs, where the main drinks are Guinness and Heineken while Dropkick Murphy’s plays in the background.
Have you ever had one of those days where you don’t really feel like talking to anyone? But you don’t necessarily want to be alone. The wonderful thing about bars is that they are always full of people and there’s no obligation to talk. Sometimes it’s just nice to be a part of a collective conversation and too just nod your head along. And sometimes it’s just nice to be surrounded by quiet chatter while you reflect over your drink.
Being in a bar, it’s almost a requirement to share the details about something that may not be going great in your life. Here no one is passing judgment because they may be going through a similar experience. It’s not all bad news because the bar is also the place to have a shot to celebrate a birthday or toast to a new promotion. The bar is the place to express yourself through the good or bad times.
Bars are definitely the place where everyone can come and find themselves at ease. An extrovert is a friendly person who truly enjoys talking to and being around other people. If you’re an extrovert there will be plenty of people to talk to and swap stories with. It’s not as easy for introverts to make new friends because it takes up so much energy to get to know someone. So introverts will most likely be the one listening to the most outrageous stories.
If you’re lucky enough you will find a bar that becomes your home away from home. You know the one where you know the owners, all of the bartenders know you by name. And they have your drink poured as you walk through the door. The other patrons warmly welcome you and probably know details about your life that no one else knows. It is in these bars where stories and advice are doled out over beer and anyone can be dragged into a conversation.
The thing I personally love about bars is the ease of the atmosphere. No one cares where you’ve been and no one cares about your mistakes, everyone is just looking for the same thing - a cold drink and a fun story to listen to.
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Bartending is often referred to as a means to an end. You hear it all the time when people say they’re only bartending until they get back on their feet.
“I didn’t go to college and get a degree in Biology to be no bartender,” says the 10 year bartender veteran. “We didn’t take out all those loans to pay for college,” says the parents of the 10 year bartender vet.
Let’s be honest it’s one of those jobs you get stuck in but how come?
We have met bartenders with no formal education. We have met bartenders who own their own businesses and have advanced degrees. Some have other jobs that pay them significantly more. Yet they can’t seem to escape that 'short-term' bartending job.
The barriers to entry are not hard so it’s easy to start bartending to make some extra money. And you can do so with the comfort of knowing this is not for the long-term. Or so you think? A lot of bartending jobs come with no benefits, no career development plan and no prospects for future growth. Yet it is still a distinctly rewarding job for so many and people pick the career in droves.
When you bartend you will encounter the most interesting people. You can be standing in front a homeless person to a CEO. You interact with folks who celebrate the highest of highs to those who want to get through tough situations. And regardless of his or her status in life, they end up in your presence.
At times, being a bartender is the equivalent of being a performer on stage. The more you put on a show, the more people enjoy and tip you. One night you are a comedian telling jokes, and on other days you may be asked to be a therapist. You get to hear all the juicy gossip and learn intimate details about people’s home life. People who drink tend to be more honest, funnier and just looking to get some things off their chest. That can be pretty addictive and hard to quit bartending.
Every day is payday. You can make great money bartending although it is highly likely you won’t be getting any benefits so you have to save your money wisely. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly bartender salary is only around $21k. That doesn’t sound like much, but so much of your money can go undetected by the government. So going home with $400-500 a night cash can be pretty appealing and keep you around for a while.
The income may not be steady, but it can be significant at times. Some regulars tip big every time. And then some nights you may get that one customer who is really excited about life. They may of either hit big gambling, won the lottery or got a huge promotion. Since they got money to burn, they end up giving you a $100 tip on a $20 bill just because. This can make for a pretty awesome night.
Being a bartender is like being a chaperone for an adult slumber party. You oversee people at their most vulnerable moments in life. And we all know drinkers are much more fun than when they are sober. The goal of a bartender is to make sure everyone else is having fun. Oftentimes you get to see the evolution of a person real-time. They start out as sober, then a little more talkative, and ultimately become your best friend after a few shots of tequila.
Sure if they drink too much it can become annoying. But most people do control their liquor you are the overseer of all that. And if you buy them a free drink, they may be your best friend for life. So now you are making new friends, getting tipped well and now you also have developed a new admirer. Of course this can be irritating, but everyone loved to be admired a little.
The people, the money and the fun are extremely compelling reasons to never quit bartending. But I believe the main reason why it’s so hard to just exit the profession is the freedom. Sure you can go to other jobs and make more money. But none offer the freedom a bartending job offers you. Sure you have more opportunities to be a responsible adult, but who really wants that?
Bartending keeps you committed because:
Want to connect with people at your bar in a whole new way? Download the BOTY App on iTunes or Google Play for free!