08 May 2009 @ 9:39 AM 
 

The Importance of a Good Bartender

 

Lemme tell you a story.

Every restaurant, bar, and brewpub knows the importance of good waitstaff and bartenders, but I’d like to underscore this with personal experience: my personal story as a consumer and NOT as an enormous beer geek with a huge ego.

I currently get paid by UNC Chapel Hill. Every Friday that I can, I like to take myself out to lunch. Since it’s closest to campus my usual stop was the Top of the Hill. Great burger, decent brewpub (even if they all share a similar character that I can’t, for the life of me, pin down), and a revolving door of stunningly beautiful waitstaff who can’t be bothered to tell me the time of day. I don’t know why. I’m unobtrusive, I tip really well, and sometimes I want to talk about the beer. How bad is that? (I should note: The assistant brewmaster recognizes me on sight, says hi, and talks beer with me – even did at the CBC. It always makes me smile. Great guy.)

After a while, I got a little irritated with waiting for the waitstaff at TotH and decided that, long lunches be damned, I was going to head down to the Carolina Brewery. Mind you, this requires me to go get my car, go find a place to park at the brewery, have lunch, then drive back and walk in from my parking garage. I cannot, in any way, eat my lunch in under an hour there. In order to do this, I have to come into work early or leave late… at least in theory.

I still go back to TotH occasionally, but not often. Why? Because the Carolina Brewery makes me feel loved.

Of course, there’s still a revolving door of waitstaff and bartenders. After all, it’s a college town. You can’t keep people around for that long. Since the 2nd or 3rd week that I’ve been going there, when I walk in the door I am generally greeted with, “Erik! What’s up?” (The exceptions are when there’s somebody new behind the bar.)

Why on earth would I want to go anywhere else?

On Tuesday night, I was out at a different bar enjoying a few lovely Belgian beers when I ran into my normal Friday lunch bartender. He was watching a show across the street at the Cat’s Cradle, and had come over to the bar I was in for a drink. He was wearing a Carolina Brewery Flagship IPA t-shirt. “Hey! Erik!” He introduced me to his lady friend, we shot the shit. He asked me if I knew what the pint night at Tyler’s Taproom was that night and then gestured to his t-shirt with pride. “See you Friday!” he said as he left the bar.

Brewpubs, take note: This guy is a model representative for his brewpub. They couldn’t ask for a better employee, and it should be rewarded. Happy, friendly, interested in his customers and proud and knowledgeable of the beer that they serve. It makes me a loyal (and frequent) customer.

Hell, I can’t wait to go to lunch today.

What about you? What makes a great bartender/waitstaff in your estimation? Where are they?

 

Responses to this post » (2 Total)

 
  1. Couldn’t agree more. Knowledge of the product, plus enthusiasm makes a HUGE difference. I had lunch back in February at Empire Brewing in Syracuse, NY, and the bartender, Cynthia, was the perfect example of what’s right in the world. She was excited about the beer and food, knew a heck of a lot about both, made me feel welcome and at home, and she was attentive without being pushy or looming. I can’t say enough nice things about her, frankly.

    That place is over 7 hours from my house, and I would very nearly drive back just for that experience.

  2. barbecuesteve says:

    My most-attended bar here does not have the best beer selection, though it’s certainly passable; they don’t have the best food, though it’s fine.

    What they DO have is a fantastic waitstaff. Every worker’s been there more than two years; they all know most of the patrons by name, and more importantly, by drink of choice; The rule is separate checks, and it’s a small enough place that you can move around and you won’t lose track of your bill. And in my many years going there, I’ve never heard a story of someone being mis-charged on the bill.

    A great waitstaff can cover up a lot of deficiencies in the wares. But if a restaurant has great wares *AND* a great waitstaff? Loyalty goes off the charts.

Post a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

\/ More Options ...
Change Theme...
  • Users » 169744
  • Posts/Pages » 204
  • Comments » 2,757
Change Theme...
  • HopsHops « Default
  • BarleyBarley

About



    No Child Pages.

Shirts



    No Child Pages.

Tour



    No Child Pages.