Campus bartenders spill favorite juicy stories
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 04:02
“It’s a lifestyle—you really have to love it,” says Lauren Kushner, a 26-year-old bartender at Taverna on Main Street.
Kushner has been a bartender for five years and is working towards opening up her own restaurant. She says working as a bartender gives her an opportunity to network, meet new people and sometimes act as a confidante for her customers.
“People tell me their personal lives all the time,” Kushner says. “Fights with boyfriends and girlfriends, childhood stories, the people who order drink after drink and close down the bar, some people are lonely and look to confide. I like when people tell me that stuff.”
Ryan Mara, 22, bartends at Kildare’s Irish Pub to pay his way through school as a part-time student.
Dealing with lively and sometimes wild patrons is part of the job, and many customers utilize bartenders for their listening skills, as well as their drink making abilities, Mara says.
On some occasions, Mara says he has dealt with “wannabe frat guys” who try to get chummy with the bartender and end up revealing details about their romantic lives and other personal topics. He says he also saw a wedding proposal go awry while working at the Greene Turtle in Rehoboth, Del.
“I saw somebody propose to a girl and she said no,” Mara says. “He was kind of shocked but then they just talked about it.”
Brett Tunstall, a 32-year-old general manager at Homegrown cafe, says he has also had humorous encounters with customers. He says a customer was yelling at him because they did not have his favorite vodka brand turned out to be his uncle.
“Tuesdays are awesome,” Mara says. “Three dollar Long Islands make it very popular. It does get stressful sometimes when people are waving cards and money, and college kids can be very cheap.”
Mara says although he enjoys his job, he does not aspire to be a ‘career bartender’ and has the job solely to pay for his education. Tunstall says he has had more serious encounters and remembers a bar fight that got so out of control, he felt he needed to intervene.
“One guy was acting like an asshole who had just gotten divorced around the holidays,” Tunstall says. “He started picking fights with people I knew, I asked him to leave he started hitting me so I had to fight him.”
Another situation where bartenders often have to get involved is the use of a fake IDs by underage customers and Mara says at some establishments there is incentive to take away fake IDs, as the bartenders sometimes are rewarded for doing so.
Bartenders receive money sometimes for taking fake IDs, Mara says. It can get awkward when they know the underage patrons, Mara says.
Mara also says that many female customers try to pretend it is their birthday, in order to receive free beverages, like a “blowjob shot.” Yet Tunstall sums up the job as mostly rewarding, despite the setbacks of fake birthdays, fake IDs and customers.
“You’re the host of the party, meet a lot of people, make great friends,” Tunstall says. “The worst is that people get rude, impatient and mean.”
As the “party hosts” many of the bartenders have also been able to gain companionship, while on the job, such as Kushner, who met her boyfriend, who was also a bartender at Taverna. She says she has made friends with many of her co-workers, as well as customers.
Bartending has provided romantic connections for Tunstall as well and even more for some people he knows. He says that one of his friends met her boyfriend while bartending, and Tunstall personally also met his girlfriend while working and after working at 12 different bars during his career (13 of those years being spent at Homegrown) he says he has met a lot of new friends as well as. He has also acquired “regulars” who have frequented the restaurant.
Mara says the best aspect of the job is the money, and although he does not enjoy cleaning up the mess at the end of the night, some days as bartender end up being “awesome.”