From time to time, I’m offered a cocktail by a customer, which I politely say no to, but it raises a question in my mind. Is it appropriate to drink on the job as a bartender? In my mind, the answer is no, but there are other opinions out there as well. I know that there are a lot of bartenders that do drink on the job, and it that works for them, so be it. For me, I feel that I am paid to perform a service to my clientele. If I have been drinking all day long, by the time my afternoon rush hits my cocktails are going to be lacking something, instead of being something to be enjoyed by the customers.
There are other considerations as well to this question. First of all drinking on the job during the day puts me on my scooter at the end of the day in a situation that can be very unsafe and could be a fatal mistake. It could also land me in trouble with the law, especially here in Key West. Secondly, part of my job as a bartender is to keep an eye on my customers and make sure they haven’t had too much and get themselves into trouble. That would be a tough job if I was as drunk as they are.
I find that the job is a fun one, dealing with such a diverse group of people, and find myself enjoying the “party” without drinking. It is such a joy to walk up and down the bar keeping cocktail glasses filled with the fun libations that are being enjoyed. I get the chance to chat with people from all over the world and generally have a really fun time. In such a situation I don’t need to be drinking to have fun with my people.
There is one other situation you do not want to be out of control in and that is a medical emergency. I have had people that heat and alcohol didn’t mix well with and have to make the right decisions for. These situations require and alert person who has all of their faculties functioning the right way.
Many states including Florida have laws about drinking behind the bar, but most of these are no enforced on a regular basis. As for me I’ll be your sober bartender and save my rum time for after I return to the boat where I can sit back and enjoy my time without having to be responsible for others safety. ;o)