The life of a bartender at Brookes
I’m not your therapist
Being a bartender in Oxford means you’ll meet people from all different walks of life, some of the brightest people in the UK, some of the richest people (Cheney, I’m looking at you), and then the locals. Despite everyone being from somewhere different you soon learn that deep down, we all just need a drink.
But stop asking me for a free drink
No, I can’t give you free drinks so please can you just pay for your double vodka Red Bull and leave me in peace? Don’t expect free drinks from any bartender, unless you’re bae and the manager likes you then you have to pay. I’m just the person making you the drinks so stop asking.
And yes, the number I just gave you was fake… it’s not like you’ll remember asking for it in the morning anyway and saying no is just too much hassle because drunk people can be annoyingly persistent. Also, I know everything you do, we know that you’re doing drugs in the toilet, we know that you just got fingered in the corner. We can see everything so please stop, I have no problem asking security to kick you out.
I would choose a pub over a bar any day
The hours are so much better at the pub than in a nightclub, now you can finish work and go out after, which means you can actually have a social life. You can hang out with your friends even if it’s busy. As long as you keep on top of your work and everything looks clean, you can totally just go and take a five minute break and chat to your friends under the guise of cleaning the garden tables.
The food is really good, and you get an amazing discount. You can probably manage to get free food on shift too, the chefs aren’t as stressed as those in a restaurant so when its quiet you can go chill in the kitchen and learn how they make their burgers taste so good.
When you go into work on your days off it’s like being a VIP, you always get the best table, everyone in the pub knows who you are and you’ll order something for half the price of everyone else. The customers are pretty friendly too, that’s Dave in the corner, he spends all his time here because his wife nags a lot, but that’s OK, he’s always up for a laugh.
I judge you based on your choice of drink
People who go to cocktail and wine bars always think they know everything about alcohol, they have a little more money to spend so they are always right. They’ll still order an Old Fashioned when the bar is heaving and then complain it takes too long to make.
Cheney students think that because they’ve been drinking champagne since they were born, they know everything. Your online course taught you more about wine and champagne than they will ever know. And anyone who took a gap yah around Europe claims that they’ve grown up on good wine, their parents rather enjoyed the ‘European lifestyle’. They still don’t know what tannins and legs are.
If it’s a good cocktail bar then you know the spirits too, you can tell the difference between a Laphroaig and a Monkey Shoulder, so if someone chooses to drink whiskey you definitely judge them on what they choose.
As a bartender I will definitely judge you on what you choose to drink. So please stop ordering mojitos as soon as the sun comes out. They’re really boring, next time try a clover club, or a bramble. Also, egg white isn’t scary, we wouldn’t be putting it in your drink if it didn’t enhance it.
And no, your screw top wine isn’t corked. Stop trying to get free drinks.
Remember I am a student too
Working in that brand new place in town, you’re a new concept, in Oxford at least, the rest of the world figured it out ages ago. Coffee and alcohol, all in the same place. Not quite a pub, not quite a coffee shop. You have everything, from cocktails to craft beer, from drip coffee to flat whites and if you work there you know how to make everything on the extensive menu. Just got to double check you got the foam right for the coffee.
There’s even a restaurant.
This is the kind of place you can go and write your dissertation all day then grab a glass of wine with your classy friends in the evening.
Except as the person behind the bar I don’t care about your dissertation/essays/exams. I’m a student too and I’m stuck at work until 1am, you’re not the only person with deadlines. Hurry up and order your flat white. There’s a queue.
Yes, we do sell alcohol too, the entire back bar is visible and you can clearly see the spirits and draught beer so stop asking and look.
Working in any kind of bar you quickly learn that the customer is never right, they just want a free drink. Especially in Oxford because everything else is so expensive. It’s definitely the best job to have if you’re a student though, you make money, get discounts on alcohol, free food, and you always know the best thing to drink.
You also have a constant hangover… but that’s alright, because you’ve learnt how to be productive even when you just want to be in bed.