5 Things I Learned About Working In A Bar
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5 Things I Learned About Working In A Bar

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5 Things I Learned About Working In A Bar

When I first arrived at West Chester University, the first thing on my mind was finding a job. In a college town, there are so many students vying for that extra money to spend on drinks, student loans, and nights out that finding a place to work during the semester can seem near impossible. Fortunately for me, I searched early in the year and landed a job at a bar in town. As an 18-year-old student fresh out of high school, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The weekend scene seemed glamorous and fun—flirty single women sipping cocktails at the counter, couples grinding on the dance floor to pulsing music and strobe lights, and everyone clutching drinks as they waded their way through the crowds every Thursday through Saturday night. However, after working there for a year now, I've figured out that there's a lot more to working in an alcoholic establishment than what I had originally anticipated.

  • People will drunkenly try to hug, grope, flirt with, push, grind on, and kiss you. This can be a bit shocking at first, and takes some time to get used to. The first time I had a dollar shoved down my shirt as a tip, I was so surprised that I couldn’t even react; I just stood there with my mouth hanging open with indignation. I’ve had people grab my chest, feel my butt, and even try to make out with me, but it’s all a part of the business, and keeps life interesting at the very least. There’s nothing quite like an intoxicated marriage proposal with Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” playing in the background.

  • I cannot get you “free drinks.” The second anyone finds out I work in a bar, the next words out of their mouth are, “So can you get me free drinks?!” The answer will forever be a resounding “no” regardless of who you are or how good of friends we might be. (Personally, I’m not even 21. I can’t get myself drinks, let alone anyone else).

  • Tips are majorly influenced by friendly flirtation. If I’m friendly, you’re much more likely to slip me a few dollars. This is reality. Hiking up your skirt a bit or complimenting someone’s shirt choice will get you much further than a stiff and robotic welcome. Flirting with customers also makes the night more interesting, keeps spirits going up, keeps drinks going down, and might even make you a few new friends.

  • There will be countless nights you cannot move without fear of being trampled. Sometimes the allure of the dim lights and never-ending booze beckon so strongly that it seems the entire town has crowded into your establishment. Trying to shove your way through a throbbing mass of sweaty bodies while carrying a stack of shot glasses can be daunting at best, made worse by a floor slick with spilled drinks. This is a skill learned over time. There will be broken glasses while you are still learning how to make your way through an impenetrable wall of grinding people.

  • Cleaning up a bar that looks like it has been through a nuclear war at the end of the night is a tiring task. Please try to refrain from throwing bottles, shoving menus in odd locations like the cracks of the wall, throwing up or urinating, (it happens) or on the floor, or creating a precariously leaning tower of assorted beer glasses. All of these things add up to an extra hour at the end of the night, when all we want to do is crawl into bed. We employees see you staring at us through the door or lingering on the floor, but don’t take it personally if we turn you away. When we’re closed, we are closed; the night is over.

However, I wouldn't want to work anywhere else. The bar scene excites me, and it’s a perfect way to spend my weekends having fun while getting paid. The hours work well with classes, which makes it simple to balance my schedule. I’ve made dozens of new friends, and know far too much about the cocktail menu for someone who’s underage. I can’t wait to utilize my employee discount for drinks when I’m able, but for now I’ll happily be sober and working every single weekend.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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