6 Things you should know about Cape Town Bartenders… Part 1
- The environment can be stressful
Something which many people don’t realise in a bar is how stressful it can be being behind one.. Some of the things that contribute are: Cocktails take long to make, there are a lot of things to remember, there are a lot of distractions. Put all these factors together with extremely needy customers and it turns into an extremely intense environment.
- Anything less than 10% is an insult…
Firstly I would like to say, this isn’t an ego thing. Most bartenders in Cape Town earn around R15 per hour (before short stock is paid for). Yes, that it is extremely close to minimum wage if you were wondering. I am quite confident that I generally give my tips worth of service. It’s usually funny to see those that deal with money on a daily basis are the ones who seem the most confused when it comes to adding a tip. You aren’t curing cancer or solving the debt crisis, you’re leaving a 10% tip on a bill and I’m pretty sure your phone even has a calculator. Maybe that explains the financial crisis of the last four years. If you can’t figure out 10% of 142, you probably shouldn’t be handling millions of dollars a day for other people. Or if you’re just too cheap to leave an adequate tip, maybe you should just stay home. Do you work for free? No? Okay cool because neither do I.
- Do not EVER tell me to buy you a drink.
Buying someone a drink usually entails it coming out of my own pocket. With all the places I’ve worked at, the bartender is liable for the stock in the bar, and any shortcomings fall upon the bartender to pay for. I am all for rewarding customers that are pleasant, that are regulars, that are easy to serve. In all seriousness though, who really ASKS for free drinks? How poor are you?
- Do not wave, click your fingers, whistle, or shout to get my attention… and most especially, DO NOT grab me while I am working..
Having to deal with many orders and multiple things at once is already stressful enough(see point 1). I am not a dog, so please do not whistle or click your fingers. I am not deaf, nor am I blind and can quite perfectly see you and therefore will get to you as soon as I possibly can. Most bartenders will work extremely methodically and hence no person will wait much longer than another. Lastly, I do not come into your place of work and grab you while you are working, so why would you think its ok for you to do the same at mine?
- I am not stupid.
Just because I am pouring drinks for you does not mean I am less ambitious than you, or a disappointment for that matter. Just because I enjoy pouring drinks does not mean I am going to be staying in the same place forever. I too will have a great degree from a great University. I work myself silly to provide for myself and to pay for my University degree. Yes, that’s right, not everyone has their life handed to them on a silver platter.
- This is not ‘your town’… foreigners, students, and the outer Cape Town residents..
The people who fit into this category are basically anyone who in my case is not from central Cape Town.
Firstly you have the foreigners who are absolutely dumbstruck how they can now buy two drinks for the same price they would buy one back home. They still however don’t seem to grasp the concept that it is customary to tip. Surely it is normal to check what the standards are of your chosen destination before travelling. Or you have the foreigners who say: ‘we are from (Brazil usually) and don’t tip where we come from.’ I have never quite understood this logic, usually replying with the question: ‘What country are you in right now…?’
Next are students: If I wanted to work in a student bar, I would. I do however not work in one, and it is quite clear by the establishment and its location that it is definitely not a student bar. Please do not ask me to tell you the price of every single beer in the fridge and then proceed to tell me how much cheaper it is at Bar X. If you have the money to buy yourself 5 beers, than it is in my firm belief that you can spare the money of one beer for a tip.
Outer Cape Town: Now I’m sure in the outer regions of Cape Town you can purchase yourself a Double Brandy with coke for less than R20. Yes, you guessed it, we ARE NOT in this region. Likewise, we do not stock crème soda to go with your cane, nor a full range of your disgustingly sweet alcopops in every which flavour. The only energy drink is Red Bull and that is exactly how it is going to stay for a long time, so please don’t ask why we don’t stock any others.
So as you may see at the top of the page, I added ‘Part 1’ to the heading. There are definitely more rules and common mistakes that I will come across in the future and will therefore add them to the list as I come across them.
Naturally there are exceptions to these rules and there are some horrific bartenders in and around Cape Town.. I will however save that for another post..