Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bartender Insider: Starting A New Gig

For whatever reason I've been getting a lot of bartending offers this past month and after accepting one, quitting an old one, almost quitting another one, de-accepting one and finally taking another offer, I've managed to nail down my two ideal bars to work at and get a schedule that I think will suit me just fine. For those Richmonders who like to stalk me, I'll be at the Cuban "cocktail capital of the world" 3 shifts a week and then I'll be at a hip hotspot in Shockoe Slip which may or may not have the word Cantina in the title, every Thursday and Saturday.

The new gig will be similar to my old one at the college bar but the crowd at this new place is a bit more upscale, and the money will be much better, although the hours may be just as severe. I start this Thursday.

Starting a new bar gig, especially at an established bar during two coveted shifts can be a stressful situation. First of all, I was hired on word of mouth and connections. The owner, GM and bar manager have never actually seen me bartend, so it's important that I come in and immediately show them and the rest of the staff that I'm a good bartender. Also when entering new gigs such as this, there always tend to be other people in the restaurant or that frequent the restaurant, that feel that an outsider (such as me) doesn't deserve to step in and get a bartender gig without first paying their dues. So I'll probably have that to deal with in some respects.

In addition to showing them I can bartend my face off, I have to be personable and outgoing and flirtatious and a showman. I'm fairly sure I wasn't hired because of how I make a margarita and right off the bat it will be important to smile and have some personality, while at the same time being able to bartend for a high volume of people. The last thing management or other bartenders want to see is a bartender who gets grumpy or frantic when they're in the weeds.

This is the 5th bar I've stepped into and had to prove myself, so I'm not really that nervous. The key, as in any other pursuits, is to simply show up early and be yourself....Oh and shutting your yapper and doing whatever anyone tells you is also a good policy (for the first few months at least). Follow these guidelines and the rest will work itself out.
I'd also recommend not hooking up with the staff or the patrons at the new gig as it generally will always end badly, of course I'm also a complete hypocrite for making that recommendation.

4 comments:

Jason said...

That whole personality thing. It's your selling point?

Anonymous said...

Good work on the new gig. Just wanted to post that its bullshit they took Seinfeld out of the 5-6 TBS slot.

John said...

Soon you'll be ready for T-O 12 in Stuttgart. The student will become the master...

Jack Goes Forth said...

Anon- I found out about this Seinfeld switch-out on Monday, and trust me, I'm pissed. I need my Seinfeld fix. Now you can only catch it at 12:30 AM.

Jason- Looks, personality, brains... I got it all.

Sarvay- I'm ready for Theo 12. Do you know the manager there? Could you score me a gig?