Saturday, May 14, 2011

MAXED OUT: Free Therapy

(Better late than never: It's all about drinking responsibly, folks, and Max is here to lead the way. You do know we're all about safety around here, right?)

So, my devilish day drinkers, welcome back to the freak show that “Beers with Demo” has unleashed on his Thursday friends and thanks for joining.

Tell me, have you ever been to a bar and had an AMAZING experience, one that you’ll never forget because the bartender just knocked your socks off? Howz about the exact opposite, one where you will never forget how terrible and rude the bartender was and how it took the first half of the football game to get your first drink? It’s happened to us all, and today we’re gonna talk about what makes a good bartender/experience, what you can do to help make sure that good stuff happens and how not to be that idiotic patron that makes a bartender want to 86 you within seconds. Oh, snap, let’s rock this mic.

First off, what makes a good bartender, specifically a good “beertender?” Speed? Knowledge? Patience? Personality? All of the above? Yeah, kinda all of the above, right? Let’s say you go in on a slammin’ Friday night at your favorite craft beer bar (ahem, Hoffer’s). Personality helps, but if the place is packed, don’t you kinda just wanna make sure that you get your freakin’ beer? Speed is something that can’t be taught, perhaps learned, but a bartender usually has it or they don’t. To that same avail, if it’s a busy night, don’t be that guy that, when it’s your turn to order, asks for a sample of every beer on the menu, questions about the different breweries, what the ABV is, how many IBUs are in the beer and what the difference between a stout and a porter is (if I have not taught you that by now, please tell me because I am clearly terrible at my blog!) Have an idea of what you want, if necessary, ask for a couple samples at most (at the same time) and place your order in a timely fashion. You’re barkeep will love you for it. Trust me, I’m a professional.

Personality is KEY in my humble opinion. How many times have you walked up to a bartender and they just look at you all like ‘God I don’t want to be here’ and simply said “What do you want?” Biggest pet peeve EVAR! If it’s not too crazy busy, sometimes it’s nice striking up a friendly conversation with the guy/girl behind the sticks, isn’t it? At the same time, knowing when to stop talking is another key to being a good patron. When the bartender starts to walk away, look around and notice that they are going to help someone else, or have something to do. Don’t continue flapping your gums, kind of annoying. And if it’s slow enough, free therapy kiddos! If you don’t have the scratch to pay for a therapist, go to your local yocal and dish the juiciest gossip you want to get off your chest. Just do it during the day, when there aren’t a million people around. It just looks pathetic when you do that. Not everybody at the bar needs to hear about how your dog is going through Chemo or your lady friend is shackin’ up with your sister or what not. And DO understand that we bartenders ARE human. We have bad moods too, so if the tender isn’t very responsive just let him/her be. Trust me, I’m a professional.

Knowledge is something that I always look for in a beertender. If it’s slow enough I absolutely jones out when people ask me my opinion, or what the difference is between beers. Or just want to talk about beer in general. My personal line is “Tell me three beers that you’ve had before that you’ve enjoyed, or are in the mood for right now and I will pick your beer for you.” I’m not off the mark very often. But like I said in the “speed section,” there is a time to ask questions, and typically Friday night at 9 o’clock is NOT that time. Trust me…. Ya, ya. You got it.

So now you know, you crazy kids, how to tend bar! You’re welcome. Be patient when you can, be speedy when needs be, always try to have a smile on your face and KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SELLING! And when patronizing an establishment don’t always point out the negatives. Every once in awhile when you have exceptional service, throw the barkeep, waitress, busboy, hostess, whomever, a bone if they do a good job. It makes you look cool, you’ll probably get even better service the next time, and what can it hurt? Professionally speaking, of course.

I can tell you in advance that next week I will be reviewing Karl Strauss’ 22nd Anniversary bash, which I will be attending, and the following week I will be reminiscing about the brewery tour that I’m holding the following Saturday. So stay tuned. I can’t thank you enough for joining me once again, and I promise from this day forward to be more diligent in responding to comments in the section below. You can always reach me on Facebook, and at You guys are awesome.

Until next time my beer loving brethren, have a beer for me.

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