Issue 30

Babysitting After Midnight: Hitting on Your Bartender 101

Babysitting After Midnight: Hitting on Your Bartender 101

Welcome, dear reader, to the newest column in Food & Spirits Magazine, Babysitting After Midnight. You might ask, “Why is it called that?” Well, having been in this business for half a decade, I can honestly tell you that more often than not, once the clock strikes midnight, the patrons of most bars don’t turn into pumpkins, but instead into sometimes obnoxious four-year olds. I feel like four years of age is a very apt maturity because many don’t like the word “no” when the bartender says it in regards to them getting another drink. Sometimes those cute little rascals don’t know how to maintain bodily functions, such as how to vomit in the appropriate place (and in case you were wondering, a urinal is not one of those appropriate places, even though it does indeed flush). With that being said, I intend for this column, with crowd participation, to be about the life of a bartender, and that of the patron. If you ever have questions about anything bar related, please ask! You’ll help me fuel this column to greatness.

Now, onto the nitty gritty… What I’m about to write about is currently in the forefront of my mind, because it just happened. Hitting on your bartender 101. Whether or not you’re sober or drunk, be prepared for these outcomes. It’s not 100 percent of the time, but it is usually the case. In all honesty, hit on us all you want, we’re flattered, no matter the severity of your drunkenness, but please don’t be excessive… that’s not cute. If we’re nice enough to tell you our names, please don’t stand at the bar yelling at us, hoping to have a “real” conversation with us. We’re working. We make money because we’re working, plus we can’t run away from you, we’re stuck behind the bar all day or night. A casual “how’s your night going” or “you look very pretty/beautiful/handsome/cute tonight” is always appreciated.

Keep in mind however, that hitting on any given bartender does not warrant you a discount or a free drink. You’re very, very lucky if the bartender hooks you up at any time. Just because you hit on your bartender does not mean they are indebted to you. We work in the service industry, we HAVE to be polite, which means our interest in your casual conversation does not mean we are interested in going out with you. However, at times that might not be the case, and your bartender totally wants to hang out with you outside of work. If that’s the case, they will let you know.

When in doubt, give the bartender your number. Most of us don’t give out our digits on the job. From experience, the best way to get your hands on a bartender’s secretive phone number is to coincidently run into them when they’re off the clock. When I say coincidently, that’s what I actually mean. Please don’t stalk your bartenders; That’s the easiest way to get banned from your favorite watering holes. Feel free to approach and start a casual conversation about that one time they were tending bar and you found them attractive or funny or whatever reason why you want to hang out with them. It took my soon to be husband a while to figure out I was hitting on him when we were on the same side of the bar… but he figured it out, hence the beautiful ring he put on my finger.

With that being said, if you see a ring on that special finger, more than likely it’s real and they’re in a serious relationship. I know, there are some of us that wear fakes, but even then take it as a sign that we don’t want to date one of our customers. I’m sure you’re a really rad person, and who knows maybe in the future when you coincidently bump into them when they’re not working, they’ll be interested – or maybe not. Take their disinterest with grace because I’m sure they were still flattered.

The relationship world within bartending is rather interesting. Of all of the bartenders I know that are in relationships, the majority are dating someone that has also worked or is still working in the industry. Our hours are weird, so it helps when our significant others are on the same time schedule. Most of us don’t get home until four o’clock in the morning, so it’s nice and convenient when our “person” is also getting home at the same time. We’re basically vampires of the non blood-sucking variety. We work all night, go to bed when most of humanity is waking up and we wake up when normal human life is about to get off work. However, if you want to attempt a relationship with one of our kind, we’ll try to see daylight if we really like you. There is always hope.

I’m sure I missed many aspects of hitting on your bartender 101, but I’m sure you get the gist. I’m also excited and honored to be writing this column. I mentioned before that if any of you awesome FSM readers ever have questions about bar life, bartending, anything to do with the bar world, please ask! The questions and even concerns you have will help me develop Babysitting After Midnight to a vibrant future. I’m very much so looking forward to reading your e-mails!

Quick Review:

• Don’t be excessive. Once, maybe twice you can hit on your bartender before that want to swat you away like a fly.

• Just because we told you our names does not mean you get to yell it trying to get a drink. Patience is a virtue; it’s more impressive you if wait and say “thank you (insert bartender’s name here).” This will also score you major brownie points.

• We don’t give out our numbers. Be the brave, awesome soul you are and put yourself out there. Give us your number. Maybe you’ll wake up to a nice text from the bartender. Or maybe not.

• DON’T STALK! Period.

• If you hear the words “boyfriend”, “girlfriend”, “significant other”, etc. coming out of our mouth, we’re taken, and we’re probably not going to date you anytime soon. If you bravely still try to give us your digits, don’t be upset when there’s no phone call or text.

• We’re night owls; be prepared if we do want to hang out. Our schedule is basically the exact opposite of most people. It’s tough to date us, partially, because of that very reason.

Jesse Erickson

Jesse Erickson

I'm the college drop out that ended up falling into a job that I love, which is bartending. I was majoring in English Lit, which is why I love to write. And since I know booze, what better thing to write about? I also have the cutest puppy that has ever existed.


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