Like most things — baseball games, religious services — the average workday would be far more tolerable if it could be spent drunk. And while it’s not really an option for most of us desk-dwellers, it’s certainly not out of the question for bartenders, who spend eight hours at a time surrounded by all kinds of delicious booze. Do they indulge? Abstain? Read on to find out.
Where she presides: Soft Spot, Williamsburg Favorite drink: The Jackson – Jack Daniel’s and Jameson
You want to stay more sober than your customers — and if the police come, you need to be able to talk to them without slurring your words. [laughing] Actually, at another bar I work at, we had to fire two really cool people because they basically got staggeringly drunk behind the bar. It was bad! They could barely stand up. The owner told them, ‘Why can’t you just drink like normal bartenders?’
Where he presides: Mark Bar, Greenpoint Favorite drink: Tullamore Dew
I don’t drink behind the bar at all… these days. [laughing] But if you want to drink on the job, you try and drink something that won’t show up on your breath or stain your teeth. No red wine. No whiskey. And you want to quit drinking at least an hour before close. I’m bad at math already, and if I had to count the money drunk at the end of the night I’d be in bad shape!
Where she presides: Lilly Coogan’s, East Village Favorite drink: Raspberry Cosmo
Never — smart bartenders don’t drink. How are you going to do your job if you’re drinking on your job. It’s not a strict policy because sometimes a customer will want to do a shot with you. But I don’t. I never do. Ninety percent of bartenders that get fired get fired for drinking on the job. They fall asleep in the bar, they start stripping in the bar, they kiss the customers, they come up short on the register...
Where he presides: Spike Hill, Williamsburg Favorite drink: Sapphire and Tonic
Would you want to eat at a restaurant where the chef was skinny? I mean, what’s a cook unless he sticks his fingers in the pasta to see how it tastes? Same applies to bartenders. They ought to have knowledge of the product! Joking aside, I manage bartenders — not here, but elsewhere — and my policy is pretty much live and let live. I’ve never had a problem with an employee getting drunk — people can control themselves. As long as the customers at the bar feel they’ve had a good time, and the house makes money at the end of the night — that’s the main goal. In a corporate place, you can’t do it. At a more local spot though, there’s no reason the help can’t enjoy a nip or two.
Where she presides: Bull McCabe’s, East Village Favorite drink: Jameson
Absolutely I do. It goes without saying. You can’t put an Irish bartender behind an Irish bar and expect them not to drink. If I work a night shift I tend to drink more than I do during the day. At night you can do a lot of shots — people just keep buying them for you. You’re so busy that you don’t really notice it until the end of the night when you’re sitting there counting the money and you realize that you’re loaded. I think I drank a bottle of Jameson last St. Patrick’s Day. I think it would be boring being a bartender that didn’t drink.
Where he presides: Nevada Smith’s, East Village Favorite drink: Guinness
No — not allowed to. Well, it depends. During the day, not really at all. At night you’ll have some sometimes. It’s all about moderation. I’m not 25 anymore, you know. You can’t be doing that every night. When I was younger I drank more. Usually you’ll have a few towards the end of the night when the business has wound down. But not in the middle of the night when you’re busy.