What Movies Tend To Get Wrong About Bartenders

It's safe to say movies don't get everything in life right. Most cops don't go on thrilling high-speed chases after drug dealers, most lawyers aren't bigshots getting involved with their attractive clients. All those old cliches and tropes have been played out to death and back. The entertainment stereotype falls not just on cops and lawyers, but also on bartenders.

Bartenders are often portrayed as cheap therapists, people with nothing better to do than to stand there and feed you shots of Jaeger while you bemoan your divorce or your car problems or that your feet hurt. Bartenders are portrayed as philosophical dispensers of wisdom, who might advise you to pursue that romantic relationship you're considering, or start fresh, or something else entirely. (They've seen it all, right?)

But, like all things Hollywood does, the truth is just a little stretched out to keep the entertainment value up. If you're looking to dump some baggage on the guy wiping shot glasses at one of the bars down the street, we got bad news for you, buddy. Your barkeep may not the cheap problem solver you expect them to be, according to Comic Book Resources (CBR).

What's a bartender supposed to do?

The bartenders in movies are almost always portrayed as folks who stand around, offering comedic and sage advice to their patrons, and can only pour a pitcher of watered-down beer. The reality is far different: bartenders are actually on their feet constantly, memorizing drink orders and customer names, and must think quickly on their feet (after all, if a keg goes dry and the bar is full, you have to move fast). While they don't need a degree in mixology necessarily, they do require a bartending license to operate, and some even take classes to become better bartenders.

According to Tom Blake, bartender and author of "The Bartender's Field Manual," the life of a bartender is a combination of pros and cons. He writes at Crafty Bartending that while the nights can indeed switch from slow to fast-paced in little time, bartenders can enjoy the day off, provided their nights aren't too hectic, and while things can get very busy, you always are working with a pretty close team. Sure, there may be a couple fights one has to break up when liquor is involved, and the night club rush can wear anyone down, but in Blake's words: "Bad nights are rare and good nights are exceptional." It's good money and plenty of exciting nightlife, but requires plenty of patience and multi-management. Though, if they do want a bigger tip, maybe the bartender will listen to someone's problems every now and then.