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It’s a common misconception that bar tending is easy and fun. Maybe on a quiet Tuesday night at a secluded dive out in the sticks would this be the case, but working a popular tavern on a Friday night can be an undying hell storm of torment and pain. At an unnamed bar downtown at 11:30 on a Friday night things can get really wild really quick. It’s eerily reminiscent of a can of rabid sardines. Except the sardines are sweaty, wasted twenty-somethings in a small bar trying their darndest to get the tender’s attention. Or maybe just clogging up the bar trying to swoon a potential mate. Sara is behind the bar, hustling up and down a crowded aisle pouring up hooch by the barrel. Her demeanor is unassuming and she’s not afraid to make fun of you. Serving up 200 thirsty wastoids on a warm night is a daunting task and only certain someone’s have the gall to do it without a meltdown. That someone is Ms. Sara. Someone once said, “Bartenders are Gods.” They may have been right.
MJ: How’s a typical friday night at your watering hole?
SR: Generally starts off slow. Waiting for the crowd to show up. Then 11 hits and all hell breaks loose. Dealing with people that don’t know what they want or understand that drinks cost money sucks. Everybody thinks they have an in with another bartender or the owner. From midnight to two it’s all a blur. All you see are hands and money. At about 1:30 people are either puking, calling a cab, demanding more drinks or trying to get laid.
MJ: Any good drama stories?
SR: We see a lot of people in their that are well known in the community. They’re usually out of their element and making asses of themselves. I always remember not to reiterate what I saw the night before to someone who may know them. There was one night when I was cocktailing and I had a very large man back hand me in the face. I didn’t want to wait for the bouncers to do anything so I decked him in his mouth.
MJ: That’s awesome. What sort of clientele do you typically serve?
SR: Weekdays there’s a lot of regulars. A more relaxed crowd of older gentlemen. Weekends it’s usually young college kids with lots of time on their hands and their parent’s credit card.
MJ: What’ your biggest pet peeve when you’re behind the bar?
SR: It would be people that come to bar on a busy night and want to order a drink but don’t know what they want. Then I move onto the next person. And they’re shocked as if I was just dying to wait on them.
MJ: What’s your drink of choice?
SR: An ice cold shot of Rumpleminz. Or maybe a Jameson soda with a splash of bitters.
MJ: What’s the best part of bar tending?
SR: Meeting new people. Being able to experience the party without being a big part of it. Watching from behind the scenes. The money is also definitely good.
MJ: What do you do in your free time?
SR: Spend lots of time outside with my dog. Getting out and supporting other industry workers. I also like sidewalk chalk and day drinking.
MJ: What’s your favorite thing about Duluth?
SR: That there’s a diverse group of people living here. It’s obviously a beautiful city and it seems that there’s always something new to take in. I really love the lake and the summer. I’m not originally from here and still kind of feel like a tourist which I hate. But i’m getting used to it.