Profile of a Bartender
It was in the year 1999 when a Penn State College student named John Gayewski decided that he needed a way to, “make some money, do something fun, and you know, meet some women.” He was going to make his claim to fame and take what was his in the world of opportunity. So, early in the summer, John decided to enroll into a forty hour bartender’s course, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. For the duration of the course, the instructors taught John the intricate methods to memorizing drinks, ways of earning better tips, how to set up your bar and how to clean up your bar. The forty hour class went by and at the very end of his training he graduated as a certified mixologist. The next step for John was the job hunt. Since he was enrolled in State College Pennsylvania, there were quite a few bars for him to choose from. There was one bar in the area that he had wanted to work more than any other it was called The Dark Horse. John was starting to feel the need to get into the bar scene, but for a man without any real experience, he was in for a bit of a struggle. He knew that there weren’t any open bartending positions at the Dark Horse, so he decided to apply for a door position.
“Just because I wanted to get my foot in the door. You know. Get into the bar scene.”
Luckily he was in the right place at the right time and he was hired as the doorman at the Dark Horse Tavern. Even though it wasn’t bartending, he was close to the bar and from there he would learn how the bar business worked.
“I figured with my bar experience and my door experience, it would lead to better things.”
John was working every Monday, Thursday and on one night a weekend. Monday nights were usually football nights where the same crowd would arrive talking gambling and stats.
“That was a good crowd. I actually got behind the bar during that time ‘cause it wasn’t real busy and the owner wasn’t around. Thursday night was always a good night at the door, just cause it was sorority night. You’d get all the sorostitutes comin’ in. usually the regulars. Get kisses from them on the way in, you know, flirt with them. So that was a good deal.”
The weekends at the bar for John were always varied depending on the Penn State football games or just the time of day.
“You never know what kind of night you can get. You can get a good one with a lot of nice looking girls and a nice mellow crowd or you can have a rowdy bunch of dudes.”
Three years would go by, working the door, and eventually sneaking behind the bar every now and then, but mostly John was learning the ropes. He learned a lot about what went on at the bar like how to deal with the drunken people, how to screen the younger kids and the many other aspects required to keep a safe bar. After graduation, John moved back to his hometown of Mountaintop, Pennsylvania. Again he was faced with the task of searching for a job. Eventually he would find his first real bartending job at the Wyoming Valley Country Club. A complete change from the college bar, the country club was a quiet, relaxed atmosphere where the clients were older and more refined.
“It was a pretty cool job. It wasn’t with a lot of young people but we had regulars at the bar all the time. I talked golf with them, they tipped well, very well since most of the people at the country club were pretty well to do.”
That was a good time for John. He got to watch sports with his customers and it wasn’t the very intense, “heads down bartending” where the bartender is always looking down making drinks instead of socializing with the people sitting around the bar. For a while John poured drinks for the golfers at the club, but before long John was looking for change.