Why isn't this a thing? (Or is it?)

I was enjoying a beer yesterday when the bartender came up behind me and began massaging my shoulders/neck. She only did it for maybe ten seconds, but it was surprisingly pleasant, and it got me wondering.

Why don’t bars offer shoulder massages to their customers? Say a 1 minute massage, done at the bar. The charge would be low, maybe $5 (tipping appreciated). The massage provider on a busy night could make some bucks.

This could be set up all sorts of ways. The massage provider could be an employee of the bar or an independent contractor. My previous great business idea was to have people enter bars with a small case of eyeglass tools. They would clean lenses, tighten screws, etc for a small fee (tipping appreciated).

Why isn’t this a thing?

Massage parlours are rightly carefully monitored for illegal activities. With good reason! As they can, and often are, fronts for prostitution, and sometimes human trafficking.

There was a time when alcohol service also brushed up against vice and morality standards and legislation. I highly doubt they’d like to return to those days. Introducing ‘massage’ would most certainly bring down heaps of unwanted attention I should think. And other bar owners would not be happy with any establishment dragging their industry possibly back into conflict with vice laws or community standards.

Also, a bar is the LAST place female employees should be required to put hands on the clientele. Massage parlours have plenty of protections in place for their employees that bars do not. You would literally be putting woman at risk, I believe.

But hey, maybe make all the massagers male? Of course you’d be totally cool with that service too, right? You’d use it?

This is a bar, not a massage parlor. The bar I was in had roughly equal numbers of male and female patrons. There is also a restaurant area in addition to the bar, where there may be kids present.

Would I use it? Hell, no. Contact with strangers is a turnoff for me. I’m thinking of it as a business opportunity.

My college brings in “Chair Massages” during the week before finals. 10-minute neck/shoulder/arm massages, wonderful.

I think alcohol would add to the pleasure. Great idea, kayaker. Alas, probably won’t happen… unless you open that bar!
The place where you can consistently get a great chair massage is the local mall. I haven’t been in a mall in thirty years… except to buy my wife a MacBook Pro, and to get worked over by this Chinese family that for $15 will fix every muscle in your upper body. Well, in my case, maybe it’s “torture every muscle”. Only deep tissue massage helps me, so I walk up and say “Ok, who wants to hurt me today?”

Their enthusiasm to do so is a little scary…

I know myself far too well to ever own/operate a drinking establishment! :smiley:

I think some people consider a neck massage or back rub to be a gesture of affection, like a hug or a kiss. As such, they find it weird or inappropriate to pay a stranger to do it, or to do it to strangers for money.

The last thing a any bartender, especially a female one, wants to do is give random people – i.e. drunk, smelly, creepy, old men – messages at work.

And I totally agree with you. My business plan involves people doing minute massages. That’s their sole responsibility.

Wait a minute. Unexpectedly? How well do you know this person?

I would expect that having bartenders, or any other person working in a business, come up behind people and start massaging them with no warning wouldn’t be a thing because, a fair percentage of the time, the customer’s reaction would be to shriek and/or leave immediately.

I really like massages and have paid for a chair massage. But if a stranger or casual acquaintance surprised me by putting their hands on me from behind, I would be out of their reach as fast as I could get.

Assuming this was more of a 'you look like you need a massage and not a ‘hey, Kayaker, how’s it going’ shoulder rub, I’m guessing you tipped her a bit extra. Since she’s a bartender, that’s probably all she’s looking for. A combination of being friendly and going to extra mile to get her tip bumped up a little.

My guess for why it’s not a thing is because no one’s thought of it yet. There’s an infinite number of business combinations. The good ones haven’t all been thought of yet. My dad and his friends used to joke that they’re local bar should have sold a few groceries. There’s was usually a handful of people that had stopped in on their way to get milk or cereal for the morning.

She is a very good friend of mine, and of my gf.

Yeah, my idea would involve zero surprises. At the bar a customer would pick up a flyer/ad/table topper and read about shoulder massages. (S)he would ask the bartender for more info and the bartender would direct one of the massage people to discuss it.

If (S)he wanted a shoulder massage, they’d pay the fee and get a minute of massage.

She’s a very good friend. The quick shoulder rub was after she heard me talking about my shit day.

They’d need a licensed massage therapist on site, and pay them enough to make it worth their time.

Do you have a cite for that?

Most states regulate massage therapists, and require them to be licensed in order to practice massage therapy. This page on a massage therapy site notes that 43 states have mandatory state licensing, but it also notes that many cities and towns may have additional licensing requirements (undoubtedly because they want to make sure that they are distinguishing between legitimate massage therapy and “massage” as a cover for sex work).

It also notes that many municipalities may also require specific licensing for the business as well as the massage therapist(s), which is, again, almost undoubtedly a measure to prevent brothels setting themselves up as “massage parlors.”

Disclosure: my sister is a licensed massage therapist in Wisconsin, and had to go through a two-year training program to meet the state’s requirements for a license.

Oh, OK. That’s different from what I was imagining.

In my situation there would be no claim whatsoever of therapy or therapeutic effect.

Yesterday was a Monday. Everybody’s Monday is shit, mate. If that warrants a beer and a shoulder rub then Wednesdays would be three martinis and stealing third base.

If your bar is offering massages (and hiring people to give them), I will guarantee that either your state, and/or your city, will view them as “practicing massage,” whether or not you feel that they are “therapeutic.” And, thus, if the state or the city require licensing for people (and businesses) offering massages, generally, they will insist that your bar comply with those licensing requirements.

If so, my business idea just went belly-up.