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Life in the service industry: Once a bartender, always a bartender

Last updated October 05, 2023 · By Dylan Blake

We've all been there: you're at a party. There's gin, dry vermouth, and olives out on the table. The only bartender—current or former—at the party is you.

Does anybody besides you every make the martinis?

Hell no.

There are a lot of challenges to working in the service industry (which we've covered in previous editions), but this is one we don't often think about: if you've spent meaningful time as a server or bartender, you never really turn off your server/bartender mind.

You look at everything through the lens of being a bartender or server—is somebody struggling to clear the table after Christmas dinner? You'll stack and clear the dishes. In a small group chatting? You catch yourself checking to see if anybody's glass is empty.

As both Marcus Aurelius and Shaun Mcguire (bartender extraordinaire and coach), say, a boxer is always a boxer because he’s always got his weapons—his fists.

We're like a boxer because we've always got our weapon too: our head-on-a-swivel attention to whether anyone needs anything.

In this week's interview Shaun talks about how important it is to create a distinction between You and You the Bartender, because if you don't proactively work at it, you're always going to be You the Bartender. And that's not going to get you in a good place in either your life or your relationships.

Check out the interview clip to hear more from Shaun:

👉 And if you'd like to hear more from Shaun about bartender life (including financial advice and some interesting stats about bartenders), check out this playlist on the Brave New Bar Youtube channel.