Hospitality service is an unforgiving sport, an elegant battle. Like any all-encompassing profession we go into big nights of service with the intention to ‘win’. That is, to work together as an efficient team to make guests feel like they got great value for their money spent and a desire to eagerly return. One of the great unseen pressures of the job is feeling responsible for the happiness of an entire room of paying patrons. It can often mean long hours without any food, drink or mental rest. It’s taxing stuff. It eventually weeds out many in the service industry, except for the most passionate few.
So for an insight into what some talented bartenders do to refuel we asked two simple questions. Question one will form part one of this two-part series.
What’s your favorite thing to do after a really hard shift behind a bar?
“I like to turn all the music off for a brief period, thank each staff member for a great shift and their efforts that night, shake their hand, then crack open the coldest beer known to planet earth, and go about the clean up.” Nathan Beasley (Bartender, Black Pearl, Melbourne)
“I normally get a massage to sort my muscles out, so after a few strenuous shifts you’ll find me face down on the masseuse’s table. I also love to go for a nice meal the day after a hard night.” Franky Marshall (Spirit Educator. Former Bartender at Clover Club, Monkey Bar and The Dead Rabbit, NYC)
“Well, I don’t drink during my work shifts and I also don’t do the post shift drink. After work I love taking my time walking home (I live eight blocks away) and saying hi to other bartenders who are either still working or closing their bars. I also love calling or face-timing my friends who live on the west coast after my shift because they will also be closing down their bars and it’s a chance to catch up after really strenuous nights. And the best part is getting home just in time to watch the sun rise over the city. There’s nothing like that view.” Pamela Wiznitzer (Beverage Director, Seamstress, NYC)
“On a busy night, the thing I really look forward to is a hot shower and a good sleep. Sometimes, however, I go for what Adam Robinson (Ounce Taipei) called the “Surly Bartender” – which, for me, is a Mirror Pond ale and a shot of Knob Creek 9 Year.” Jose Rafael Borges (Bartender, L’Abattoir, Vancouver)
“The busiest shifts are generally on the weekends, and the weekends are always the longest shifts, so after working hard and being on my feet for 10 or more hours, there is really only one thing that I want to do, and that is eat. Living in Taipei, there are some great late night food options. My favorite spot is just a short walk from work and I love to go over there after a long shift with my coworkers from Ounce. We will order a huge spread of food and wash it all down with some nice cold Taiwan Gold beers. And the best part is how cheap it is, usually costing $3-5 USD per person. It’s nothing fancy, but very delicious. You sit at folding tables and sit on cheap plastic chairs. It’s really just a makeshift restaurant that sets up on the street after the actual brick and mortar spots shut down for the night. It’s only open from 11pm to 3 or 4am depending on the night. The kitchen is just a cart they set up on the sidewalk with a fryer, and one burner, with an additional couple small steam tables to keep a few other things warm. After I have some food in my stomach we might decide to go play some pool at one of the 24hr pool halls, but honestly one of my favorite things to do after work is just go home and watch a movie and relax on the couch. Sounds boring, but it makes me happy.” Adam Robinson (Bar Manager, Ounce, Taipei)
“I’m a simple fella. I don’t really do the Sazerac, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, etc. after work. Honestly, I’m much more a whiskey/beer/ sake at Guu, or Gyoza King, with some Takoyaki.” Simon Kaulback (Partner/Bartender, Mamie Taylor’s, Vancouver)
“I ride my bike home. I make cocktails all night so the last thing I want to do is make one for myself. Usually I will have a beer before the end of the night then just drink water post shift before I eat some food and ride.” – Steve Schneider (Principal Bartender, Employees Only, NYC)
“I really enjoy longboarding home after a hard shift. (Pour yourself a drink and watch LINK) The streets are empty and it feels so refreshing to just flow down the streets and feel the breeze.” Chris Enns (Bartender, Revel Room, Vancouver)
“After a long hard shift I like to come home and do the same thing I would do if I was in Italy. I cook myself and my friends a big plate of Spaghetti aglio e olio.” Jacopo Fellini (JacopoFalleni.com, Los Angeles)
“At Proof, we usually have a collective ‘off-gas’. At least one of us brings a bottle of wine. We will all taste it blind. It’s a nice way to collectively focus your mind on something else while resetting your palate. Stretches are key. I also spend as much time in nature as my job allows.” Jeff Savage (Bartender, Proof, Calgary)
“I have a bit of an extreme release. Generally, I go home and maybe have one glass of bourbon. But my ultimate release is a BDSM session. Extreme bartending = extreme release.” H (Head Bartender, Notturno, Vancouver)
“Honestly right now it’s going home. After a long day I can feel a bit overstimulated and drained. It’s important that I re-set and decompress to be able do it all over again the next day and home is the best place to do that. Keep in mind I’m in the middle of an opening where the days/nights are long, 12-14 hours. I usually don’t have the energy to go out after a shift but when I do I keep it simple.” Tommy Klus (Partner/Bartender,La Moule, Portland)
“Stretch, then zone out in front of the TV and unwind. A glass of wine, chocolate, or ice cream seems to help.” Patricia Richards (Bartender, Vintner Grill, Las Vegas/Former Head Bartender, Wynn, Las Vegas)
“I walk home. No drinks, except for an ice-cold seltzer water. I try to take a different route each time. It helps create new neural passage ways.” Matt Grippo (Head Bartender, Blackbird Bar, San Francisco)
L’air de Panache, by Robyn Gray (Manager/Bartender, Prohibition, Vancouver)
One of our favorite knock-off cocktails after a hard shift.
“Inspired by Gustav H’s cologne in “The Grand Budapest Hotel“. The recipe for the cocktail adapted from the aromatic depiction of the cologne given to cast and crew as presents at the wrap party.” Robyn Gray
60 ml Zubrowka
30 ml Lemon juice
20 ml Frozen apple concentrate
5 ml honey
Shaken with ice and fine strained into chilled coupé.
500 ml Hot jasmine tea
200 ml Ginger honey syrup
5 sheets gelatine
1 tbsp Versawhip
Mixed and double charged in a siphon.
Bergamot oil is misted from an atomizer over to finish.