How do bartenders stand it?

Drunks can get obnoxious, as we all know. How does a bartender stand all the dumbass loud motormouthed blathering, not to mention the frequent escalations into combativeness? Then there are the maudlin drunks who want to weep and tell the bartender all their troubles.

I’d go batty after two weeks on the job.

You get to sleep really late, maybe you like mixing drinks, you meet all sorts of people, I would think members of the opposite sex would flirt with you fairly often, you could get a lot of tips. Potential free alcohol. Seems fairly appealing to me.

My father was a professional bartender for much of his working life. In the early days in Juneau, he and his fellow barkeep would just bum rush anybody who was being obnoxious. If it got really violent, they’d call the cops or haul out a shotgun from behind the bar. Later on, when he worked at the Anchorage airport, he could call airport security pretty easily and quickly for anyone truly obnoxious, but usually just cutting them off would make them leave. The worst part of the job was the low pay, bad tippers, and the wear and tear on his feet.

The worst for me one night

and please don’t read on if you are squeamish or eating lunch

There was a couple making out the bar - each of them was married to other people. They were going at it pretty hot and heavy and they were the only people in the bar. I moved down to the other end so they weren’t directly in front of me.

They were both pretty sloshed as well.

Anyway, the bathrooms were behind me and I’d hear him in there throwing his guts up

and then he’d come staggering back out

walk up to her…

and give her a great big tongue kiss.

It was all I could do to hold down my stomach.

The time on the feet is what would get to me. I think I’d actually enjoy talking to maudlin drunks. In vino veritas after all. I’m probably romanticizing it in my imagination though. It’s not like every drunk is going to be Ernest Hemingway.

My father knew that chatting with drunks about whatever they cared to blather on about meant bigger tips. He’d heard it all and was able to just agree and nod appropriately without letting any of it into his head.

It depends upon the situation. 95% of the time I go to a bar, everybody’s in a great mood, treating the bartender good, and if someone is annoying, the bartender is under no obligation to listen and can simply attend to something somewhere else…or tell them to shut the fuck up (depends on the bar!). Hell, some places the bartender is a rock star and everybody’s their friend. The fights and weepy drunks certainly exist, but if it happens regularly, it might be time to find another bar (or not, YMMV).

My first bartending job was at Houston’s Restaurant. Nice, upscale clientele. Not the kind of place for regulars or day-long drinkers.

Next was a strip club. Almost no one sat at the bar. The perks were nice. :smiley:

I don’t know how they stand it, either. I stopped drinking years and years ago (after I realized I was getting a hangover from about two beers); hanging around with drunks these days is really not fun at all. They think they’re being fun and cool and whatever; I think they’re obnoxious and annoying.

Many times the bartenders are big drinkers themselves. Of course not all are like this but many are. Working in an environment like a bar would be an ideal setting.

My LL works at Cornell and moonlights as a bartender. He works at a club, so they don’t get the old weepy stereotypes. They get the young, hyper stereotypes instead. :smiley:

Oh, and in that club, he can tell people to fuck off and rakes in tips (and brings home good-looking girls on the regular). Sounds like a pretty sweet gig!

I have no idea.

Although I did, at times, love serving drinks, the day I realized that I had served my last one was like having a weight lifted off my shoulders. I guess I had seen the “dark side” of too many patrons, too many times. The worst, Harris County Prosecutor’s Capital Crimes Division came in every other Friday afternoon and drank their pain away, one guy with Double Wild Turkey 101 and Coke. They would arrive about 2pm, he would average 4-6 an hour and be there after I got off round 6. We would often go to Warren’s after that.

I have not served a drink since 2006

Capt Kirk

I was a bartender for 15 years. Quit to go back to school 2 years ago. It can be exhausting. People can be rude, demanding and obnoxious and standing for 8-12 hours sucks. Especially when the only time you get to sit is for 30 seconds a couple times a night when you get a chance to pee. But I had the privilege to work with a lot of great people. My best friends are people I worked with at bars. People who stick with the job usually have a great sense of humor and are fairly easy going. It helps to have a good attitude. But mainly, you put up with the bullshit because the money is great even if the hours aren’t. And hopefully, you have a great security staff to back you up if things get ugly. I found that you can say almost anything to a bar patron as long as you’re smiling while you say it, and that helps the urge to stab. Mostly

Sounds okay to me. No kids heartwarmingly squealing with delight, at least.

Did it most of my working life, don’t drink, but went from beer hall to student pub, to sports bar, to yuppie bar, then into fine dining, and finally snooty high end catering.

I really wanted to travel and it provided me not only the means to make heaps of cash, but easy access in and out of the job force. I could piss off for ten months at a time, and come back and walk right into a job.

Plus I was a night hawk then, once the sun was down I had enough energy to paint a house, so it was a good fit for me. And I like not having spent those twenty years waking up to an alarm clock. (I don’t know how people do that, or why.)

Yeah, people get drunk, but you learn how to handle them, most drunks are pretty stupid and easily manipulated. Yes, there are violent drunks, but they tend to raucous bars, sports bars etc, where there are often bouncers. Most drunks are smart enough not to get aggressive with a female bartender, it’s never going to end well for them.

When you’re working in the latest hotest place in town, listening to great music, seeing your friends there as patrons, going home with pockets full of cash, and sleeping late every morning, it ain’t so bad! Like going to a great party, every night! Plus you can always get time off, mid week to see a ball game or a concert, whatever.

My husband and I both did it for many years and we have no complaints, our feet are just fine, and we’ve been around the world a few times.

It really comes down to different strokes for different folks, I think. Cubicle farms, offices, alarm clocks, don’t suit everybody.

The money is great the perks are fantastic and drunks are usually easily dealt with, if not that’s what bouncers are for.
The hardest part for me was getting dragged into the lives of the regulars. 90% were great but the other 10% sucked:
[li]I really don’t care that you and Suzie are no longer BFFs and if you’re gonna start shit do it somewhere else[/li][li]Yes, I do know your husband/wife, and no I’m not going to lie when they ask me if you were drunk and likely ding coke in the john and let youself get felt up or were feeling up others[/li][li]Yes, actually you do need to give me your keys when I ask for them or you’re not drinking here ever again[/li][li]No you cannot borrow money and I cannot feed you drinks all night for free because you’re down on your luck (translation, you already blew your check because you’re irresponsible and probably shouldn’t be here anyway)[/li][/ul]


Exactly this- My father has tended bar in Las Vegas for 37 years. Worked every shift (since its 24/7) and adding gambling to the mix of alcohol makes for dicey and crazy clientele and situations.
I learned to mix drinks at the age of 5 from my dad leaving the bar books in the can(early reader!!) and I too have always wondered like the OP how dear old Dad put up with the same worn out stories and dramas day in and day out- and its true- you tend to tune it out after awhile. God bless the bartender!

(Bolding mine.)

So given your location, did your username come from the pub at Western? If so, Hard on Mustangs! If not, never mind.