The six types of bartender
In many ways I find bartending to be much like the French Foreign Legion: both are challenging lifestyles attracting a disparate and, let’s face it, occasionally shady, bunch of characters.
Yet like La Legion it’s rewarding work, even if the only ovation you’re likely to see is on another’s taste buds.
The sheer variety of personalities drawn to the role makes bartenders notoriously difficult to pigeonhole, but what the hell I like a challenge as much as the next man, so decided to take a shot at just that.
So, what are the six types of bartender?
Did we miss any? Let us know below or via twitter @teamdb.
Dan Miles’ book, Filthy Still: A tale of travel, sex and perfectly made cocktails, is available on Amazon.
The Powerhouse is the undisputed king of the Friday night shift, which will no doubt see them dancing on, or setting fire to, the bar top, and quite possibly both at the same time — that and endless body shots, which they believe to be people drinking tequila from their navel.
Despite being as unpredictable as a rhino on meth, they understand the crowd, and work to build them into a frenzy. They are the one most likely to get a phone number, indiscriminately use liquid nitrogen or resort to flaretending. The Powerhouse feels a natural draw towards bar ownership and its all-consuming power.
When the Alchemist creates a drink as much happens in their own mind as in the glass and they can often be found staring at the shaker, fighting a battle only they can see. Possessing a fearsome palate, they are the master of the subtle ingredient — the single drop of bespoke bitters, the quick Campari rinse, the gentle spray of aromatized spirit from a vintage perfume bottle.
They covet rare and exotic spirits like Hilary Clinton covets her boss’s office, and can talk at length about the subtle nuances of mint. Of all the archetypes they are the one least likely to be pleased by the words ‘Peach Schnapps.’
A master of subtle persuasion, the rush for this underrated beast comes not from the buzz of the crowd, but in the epic battle of wills; their syrupy prowess verses the unwary customer; a battle that takes place on multiple fronts simultaneously, from the coaxing smile, to the understanding nod, to the slow rise of a single devastatingly powerful eyebrow.
One minute the customer is asking for a glass of Prosecco, the next sipping a magnum of champagne, with no idea what the hell just happened. Of the six they are the one most likely to require an oversized tip jar.
Possessing a finely tuned sense of empathy, The Psychologist strives not to make drinks but evenings, coaxing the lonely drinker to open up with a warming rum cocktail, cracking a joke that brings a smile to a face where formerly there was only a frown.
A natural healer, they are sometimes difficult to extricate from a soul in need when the Mojito’s need making, but are absolutely the one you want by your side when things go wrong and your security guard is in the toilet.
Whilst closely related to The Alchemist, the Historian’s interest lies not in ingredients but in regaining knowledge lost during the dark and blighted periods of Prohibition and the Eighties.
Owning as many books as bottles, they are a vault of arcane, obscure and just plain weird knowledge, and will take any opportunity to display their abilities, whether you want them to or not. They are the most likely to walk the lonely path of the Brand Ambassador but fear it not.
The Anger Battery
But beware of…The Anger Battery
Building in rage with every poor tip, snarky comment or toilet door pushed open with uncertain contents beyond, The Anger Battery is the beast that bartenders become when their guard is down.
Left unchecked they will spiral out of control and seek to garnish their drinks with the still beating heart of the customer. They are the one you do not wish to cross and the last person on earth you want handling your drink out of sight.