Bar Owning – Bartending

Bar Owners Drinking In Their Bar

is one heck of a subject.

I have been a bar owner and a bartender — so I know both sides of this issue.

I feel that it is fine for an owner to drink, (most of them do) as long as they do it with a bit of class. Unfortunately, that is not always what happens, !!! Some bar owners — when they are drunk — can be their employee’s worst nightmare !!!

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen bar owners absolutely drunk on their butts.

Every bar I worked in had owners that drank. Some could handle themselves pretty well and others — well let’s just say it was not always fun !!! It was quite an adventure at times  !!!  Like playing tug-of-war with my boss and her bottle of wine. Me trying to take it away, her begging for just one more drink. It was kind of funny — but I won  that battle. It was after last call — so I told her NO NO NO !!! She gave in … for a change !!!

I am sure if you go to bars, you have seen an owner or two pretty messed up.

Sometimes it can be a good time had by all — but many times it can be just downright awful. Especially when the owner gets drunker and drunker. Then gets louder and louder, then gets meaner and meaner or just down right obnoxious !!! Maybe the drunk bar owner gets way to carried away flirting with customers to the point of embarrassment for all.

Then how does a bartender cut their boss off ???

Not as easy as it should be — at least not in my experiences !!!

I remember short pouring the boss

many many times. That can’t be done very well if they are wine or beer drinkers.  Then you as the responsible bartender need to get creative. (Especially if you really do like your boss)

For instance, one thing I use to do is try to act busy and try to just avoid the bosses insistence of another drink. Usually — that didn’t work very well – because the boss would come behind the bar and get their own drink and I would get the dirty look !!!

Often times I would try to get the boss to eat

try to anyway. Give her chips or peanuts or a sandwich. I would just shove food at her in hopes it would soak up some of the booze. Coffee was always prepared. Not always drank by the boss, but I would give her some anyway. I have had bosses that didn’t drink coffee. I hated that. Coffee and food do help – believe me – it does.

OK now here is the thing, if you are a bar owner and you drink to the point of being a problem for your employees and your customers — WELL — SHAME ON YOU !!! Not only will you lose customers, and possibly lose damn good bartenders — you are also drinking up your profits!!! Now how absolutely stupid is that?

Talking to the boss

about their getting drunk is a difficult conversation, to say the least. I do remember talking to more than one boss about this very subject when they were sober. For some owners, it was not a big deal to be able to talk to them about their insane time the night before. It could even lead to a good laugh. Especially if the boss is hung-over. However, there are those bar owners who basically tell you to deal with it, or they just don’t want to hear about it. So it all boils down to the type person you work for. A nice boss or an absolute jerk !!!

At bar meetings

the subject came up plenty. Usually, the boss would just want to blow off the whole subject. But, if we all insisted on talking about it, they would promise to be better. Yeah Right !!! If anything, they would just get worse.


Now for you bartenders

if you have a boss that is one of those obnoxious types when he drinks, and you have just had enough, then my advice is — cut him off!!! One of two things can happen. He will either accept or not. But it is your right to cut him off. Now will you have a job after you do? That is something you will find out. When I cut my bosses off, I would either get threatened to be fired or told just give me a damn drink or whatever. The main thing is I usually got called the next day and apologized to. I even got asked many times “Who do they need to apologize to?” “Were they really that bad?”  Stuff like that.

Now if a bar owner is absolutely impossible

and is forever getting drunk and gets all mean and nasty or treating you just wrong … do yourself a favor and QUIT !!! I did – and it felt GREAT !!!

Reasons owners drink in their bar

are several. Some are just total alcoholics and that is the worst !!! I know of one bar owner that got so many DUI’s because the cops would just wait for his bar to close and follow his fancy car when he left. Well, I can tell you the police knew that he would be drunk. It was just ridiculous. He ended up losing his bar after several DUI’s … which was a good thing !!! If you work for one of those alcoholic bar owners, I feel so sad for you !!! Try telling one of those owners they can’t drink in their own bar. You would be out a job. Then again, maybe that would be a good thing for you.

Drinking with customers

Through my own experience, I found that customers love the owner to drink with them. I am not much of a drinker — however, I would drink in my bar every now and then. My customers loved it when I drank with them – because I was the kind of owner that gave out lots of drinks when I was feeling no pain.  My bartenders loved it too. I didn’t drink in the bar very often. But when I did … I was fortunate enough to have bartenders watch my back. I even remember one of my bartenders telling the other bartenders “no drinks get given away unless I OK it.”  She knew me well … the light weight bar owner — that gave away her bar damn near when I decided to party. It really helps to have employees watching out for you. It is also good NOT to be much of a drinker.

Oh, be careful giving away drinks! In some places, it is illegal to give away drinks. That is another subject altogether.

Customers can be an issue at times

because they always want you to sit and have drinks with them. I learned that some customers get upset if you won’t party with them. So I learned to handle that with a bit of finesse. Told them I had to much work to do, or my head hurt or I just couldn’t handle drinking right then, maybe in a little while. Stuff like that.

So, I would say that most bar owners do drink and some to the point of ridiculous. It is a difficult thing to cut off a bar owner. There are many ways to handle it, though.

Hopefully, if you own a bar or want to own a bar, you will be smart enough not to act a fool. Treat your employees and your customers with respect and they will treat you the same. Most of them anyway !!!

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