“It’s a craft bartending world, servers just live in it.”
This is a first piece in a series of posts that will look at the relationships of different people who work in the hospitality industry. Chefs, bar-backs, bussers, servers and bartenders. Everyone that has to work together to give you a great experience when you visit a bar or restaurant. For now, let’s focus on the relationship between servers and bartenders, from guest contributor Michelle Whittemore.
Servers have regulars. Bartenders have groupies.
Bartenders can seem to have an air of superiority, which servers allow because they have mastered a tangible craft; a craft that turns out a product. Servers practice the art of conversation, salesmanship and hospitality but you can’t Instagram our service.
There is a general misconception that servers are replaceable or that we don’t take our job seriously. Just as well as you can shake or stir an alcoholic concoction – we can sell the shit out of it.
We appreciate the fruits of your labor and we recognize the skills and experience required to output such divine creations, but you need us too. We talk you up, we listen to your anecdotes, we laugh at your jokes like it’s the first time we’ve heard them. We let you have the glory and know that it’s gone to your head.
“Bartender. It’s a pretty self-explanatory job title, so if you could stop flirting with the blond at the end of the bar and make table eight’s drinks before their apps are up, that’d be swell.”
But it’s not all bad. Once we weed through your ego and we become fast friends, you’re the person who hands us a cheeky during a rough night or steps in if we have the displeasure of dealing with a difficult guest. You introduce us to the interesting people within your audience of charmed patrons and you provide a wow-factor that helps separate our canteen from the rest.
To be an observer in a craft cocktail world means that we have behind the scenes access to your niche. It’s like you guys (and gals) have a secret bartenders guild. You run in the same circle, you compete and you talk about each other’s work.
We’re all on the same team.
Servers have to be articulate and informed not only about the cocktails we deliver but also the wines, beers and food. We learn about these things because we’re asked and ultimately because we’re interested in all aspects of dining. So don’t roll your eyes when I ask what’s in a Vieux Carré and then ask me to tell your bar-dwelling guests about the features this evening. We both have our strengths and we should all be treated as important constituents of this crazy, sexy, cool industry.
So let’s make a deal. We’ll respect your shrubs and infusions if you don’t yell at us to grab eggs when you’re weeded.
“The guest will gasp at the cocktails and praise their flavors. I will take the credit as though I am more than the delivery vessel of your product. Symbiosis achieved.”