If you tear up your coasters, scream your drink order, or just don't know what the hell you want, you'll probably only encounter one type of bartender: a pissed off one. But for patrons with decent manners and a diverse taste in watering holes, there's a blizzard worth of unique, drink-making snowflakes waiting patiently to take your order/gratuity.
Read on for 19 of the most common bartender stereotypes along with what drink they're likely pouring, and if we missed any archetypes be sure to let us know in the last place where everyone truly knows your name: the comments section.
Dive bartender who doesn't care that you exist
What he's pouring: A well whatever
Cannot be distracted from the Ghostbusters 2 DVD that has been playing in this bar for the last 15 years. Dressed down, dish rag on his belt, probably not the cleanest. Your interest in the beverage selection does not earn you any points because he doesn't like answering questions.
The patient bartender
What he's pouring: the result of a long, convoluted conversation about the menu
Aka the saint of spirits, aka the Buddha of the bartop, this guy is willing to humor the most inane of questions, explain distinctions between liquors that you should probably know, and even let you taste before you order. Deserves his weight in tips. Though please don't tip him using giant sacks of coins.
The chick who's putting herself through college working at a sports bar
What she's pouring: cheap domestic draft
She owns a large selection of tank tops and is in very good shape. Has several "regulars" who think they know her much better than they do. Sometimes wears her glasses, because, you know, she reads stuff.
The chick who has no plans of putting herself through college working at a sports bar
What she's pouring: cheap domestic draft
She owns a large selection of tank tops and is in very, very good shape. Her regulars actually know a lot about her because she's just kind of there a lot. Sometimes wears her non-prescription glasses, because she saw Ray Lewis wear them.
The doesn't-want-to-be-here girl
What she's pouring: A vodka tonic, reluctantly
This chick is just really not into being a bartender, but somehow tripped and fell into the job. Expert at not making small talk. Checks her phone upwards of eleventy-million times during her shift.
The strip club bartender
What she's pouring: Shots of $21 top shelf tequila for you; shots of water for Kristi
She spends most of her day counting out huge stacks of singles while patiently reminding people that she is not one of the people who will give them lap dances. She does still smell like strawberry body spray though, so it is kind of confusing.
The home brewing craft beer guy
What he's pouring: An ultra-rare seasonal
He knows his beer list like the back of his hand, which is also the name of an obscure Nordic Pale Ale. Has a strong affinity for tap handle art. Probably wears a beard. Very happy to talk about very hoppy beers. Hates Dave Infante.
The one-of-the-guys girl
What she's pouring: A very critically acclaimed IPA
Will openly tell you to stop staring. Has very informed beer suggestions. Is kind of exactly like Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies, except for the slow, depressing parts. Also hates Dave Infante.
What he's pouring: Manhattan with tobacco smoked whiskey, spherified vermouth, and house-made grapefruit absinthe bitters
Very few of these exist in the wild. They're mostly held in the captivity of high-end restaurants and bars that require reservations.
What he's pouring: Something he came up with after his shift last night
He always smells of a mix of citrus zest and mustache wax and is impeccably dressed with more than a hint of irony. He has a large collection of vintage cocktail books and has tasted an encyclopedia's worth of whiskeys.
The seen-it-all guy
What he's pouring: he already knows your order
This guy's clothes are pretty much painted on he's worn them so many times. He meets your eyes with a gaze that is totally unfazed. Obviously has an on/off switch which he's perfected at flipping on for the entirety of his shift. Might not have a shotgun behind the bar, but has definitely had to pull one out before. Is weirdly good at mixing semi-complicated drinks while still staring directly at you.
The owner of the bar who's filling in
What he's pouring: a signature cocktail, very slowly
He's dressed dramatically different from the rest of the staff and will soon be wearing a stained shirt. He is either unflappably friendly or totally disinterested.
What he's pouring: Old Fashioned, no cherries
He always smells of a mix of rich mahogany and mustache wax and is impeccably dressed without a hint of irony. Only mixes pre-prohibition drinks, refuses to use a soda gun, and is actually really, really nice.
The prideful older bartender
What he's pouring: Sazerac
Doesn't have a retirement plan because he never plans on retiring. Truly appreciates every part of the bar business, from rimming a glass with absinthe to cleaning out dirty pints to listening to first world problems. Well, maybe not that last part.
The bartender that knows everyone
What he's pouring: Shots
Amazing memory for names, enjoys post-shift drinking, keeps on very good terms with his exes. Once exchanged numbers with Ed Begley Jr, and Begley was the one who was psyched.
The dude who's just trying to bang chicks
What he's pouring: Vodka and energy drink
Probably uses a hair product of some kind. Clothes are definitely ironed; potentially stainproofed. Considers himself excellent at small talk. Is definitely NOT excellent at small talk.
The guy who you're friends with
What he's pouring: Who cares, it's free (but let's be honest: Fernet)
You went to college with this dude or he's your neighbor or you play soccer together or you used to date his friend and it ended amicably and you sometimes still Snapchat but not in a weird way. He is considered absolutely without fault thanks to his service as a gratis spout of liquor.
The new guy
What he's pouring: A signature cocktail whose recipe is written on a cheat sheet under the bar
It's his second day, and he isn't dressed quite right for the establishment and stumbles while greeting customers and doesn't have an easy time suggesting a cocktail, and is kind of stressed out okay, just give me a minute, please, thanks.
The sisterly bartender
What she's pouring: Hot toddy
Skilled at immediate and unconditional empathy. Next-level wingwoman skills. Probably has a master's degree but makes such good tips and enjoys her co-workers so much that she's never leaving.