For those of you that read our first post on this topic, you’ll know that this isn’t really about being smart or not and it’s certainly not to say that some bartenders are better or ‘smarter’ than others because they went to university. No, on the contrary, they probably have incredible amounts of HECS debt and use their unread text books to prop up their coffee tables.
What this series serves to prove is that, in the words of Mikey Lowe: “Despite the scandalous lifestyles many bar people choose to lead, often with unforetold rancour when presented with dull conversations, they often are intelligent, or wise, or at least able to read you like a book making them very astute hosts.”
As Dale Schoon says below, “intelligence is a problematic social construct” and MTP is adamant about getting to know the real person behind all the drunken perception. Jenna Hemsworth, Lucas Vega and Dale Schoon are blatant evidence that bartenders are much more than society deems them to be. Oh, and they’re super smart too.
Bartender at Black Pearl Bar
DEGREE: Started a Bachelor of Science on a scholarship at Monash University, then got bored and switched to Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences at Victoria University.
HATE IT OR LOVE IT: My focus of study was on anatomy and physiology, basically I spent four years (five if you count the times I spent off and umming and ahhing about what I wanted to do!) learning about the human body, how it works, what can go wrong with it (disease origins and progression), how to fix it (pharmacology) and other cool stuff like advanced neurosciences and nerve and muscle physiology.
I loved every part about it, the hard work and such was really not that big of a deal since I was so interested in the subject matter. The three years previous were all leading up to my final project which was a human dissection- probably one of the most interesting and incredible experiences in my life to this date.
PHILOSOPHY: Don’t be a dick. It’s the motto of which I live my life by, and which I expect others to as well.
DUMBEST THING I’VE SEEN: I never saw this in person but there is this amazing story that my partner Nathan tells me often about one night in the Attic. They kept a bowl of pebbles up at the bar to weigh down the receipts, and one night a lady approached the bar and proceeded to swallow one whole and exclaim “That’s not an olive!”. Who even swallows olives whole anyway!
WISDOM: Once again, don’t be a dick.
SMART DRINK: One made by me.
Lucas works at CBD fave Lobo Plantation as your friendly bartender.
DEGREE: Currently studying a bachelor of ICT engineering (Computer Systems), at UTS.
HATE IT OR LOVE IT: I actually really love maths and computers so I like to nerd out on both of those things. I HATE waking up early. One of the best things about hospitality is staying up late and not waking up early and uni really contradicts my ethos in that respect.
PHILOSOPHY: I guess my philosophy is to try and make customers love the venue as much as I do. So, I do anything I can to make that happen
DUMBEST THING I’VE SEEN: I used to work in nightclubs and one night I saw an idiot try and jump the fence to get out of the venue because he couldn’t be bothered to go around the right way. Little did he know the fence posts don’t appreciate that level of disrespect and he ended up impaling his calf into the fence. Our security guard had to pull him off. It was pretty intense. He actually came back 2 months later to apologise and show us the skin graph he had to get. What a good egg.
WISDOM: Please don’t tell me to smile. Haha. Being a man, I’m not good at multitasking and remembering the 5 different ingredients in the 4 drinks you’ve ordered. If I’m brow furrowed it’s because I’m desperately trying to remember what you’ve ordered whilst I distract you with banter.
SMART DRINK: I don’t really think there is a “smart drink”. It’s is kind of a subjective term used to be patronising to people you consider less intelligent than yourself. Drink-wise I’m a simple man. I love a good Old Cuban or London calling. Something light and refreshing.
Bar Manager at Earls Juke Joint
DEGREE: I started off in a Bachelor of Commerce degree that specialised in Building and Construction Management at the University of Canberra. While I was working in the industry just before graduating, I realised I couldn’t live with myself facilitating the construction of shit buildings, so I decided to change my degree to architecture in order to contribute positively to our built environment. I had the marks to enroll in a Bachelor of Design in Architecture at the University of Sydney where I’ve been completing my degree painfully slowly!
HATE IT OR LOVE IT: Even though general business subjects like statistics, finance, economics or law can be quite dull, there’s a certain satisfaction in absorbing information and working out the solution. There are generally right or wrong answers in those subjects. Obviously it’s satisfying to be right! What is incredibly frustrating about architecture is that it leaves you with more questions than answers! Maybe that’s what keeps it interesting.
While I haven’t applied a great deal of the knowledge directly, it’s something that has helped me in an indirect way. It inevitably changes your way of thinking, learning, assessing information. Those kinds of skills apply to everything.
PHILOSOPHY: “When the bar is neat, customers repeat.” That’s not even smart or true but someone at work thought I would like it because they know how pedantic I am about everything being in order. When everything is in it’s place and there’s no crumb, you can focus on being a host. I guess that’s my philosophy when working behind a bar; it’s like people have come to your house, you are the host, and you want everyone to have a good time.
DUMBEST THING I’VE SEEN: I’m not even sure. All I can think of is this time I was out at a bar and a guy that could hardly put two steps together made it up on to the bar top with a skateboard and skated off. He landed perfectly on his feet and no one in the whole bar but me and the guy next to me saw it. Bizarre.
WISDOM: Bartenders aren’t vending machines. Most people know this, sure, but some people don’t realise you can greet them back when they greet you, or that you might even end up sharing a laugh. You might be more intelligent than them in some way and vice versa, whatever; intelligence is a problematic social construct. I’m sure they could help you choose your poison though.
SMART DRINK: Maybe a San Pellegrino if you’re a bit cooked or something quick and easy if the bartender is stressing out. But really, it’s whatever you want, I’d never want to make someone feel bad or dumb about a drink.
At the end of the day your bartender is smart enough to not judge you on what you look like or what you do, so remember, in the words of Jenna – “don’t be a dick”.