The other night, I had a really ideal service experience. I went into a well-known Williamsburg cocktail bar looking for a nightcap after observing (and participating in, to a lesser degree) the craziness that was the JBF after party at 11 Madison Park. Now, I often find myself at this bar because it’s open quite late, they have knowledgeable bartenders (who can help me “research” cocktails for my Court of Master Sommelier studies), and it’s directly on my way home if I’m coming back to Greenpoint by way of the Williamsburg Bridge.I also get to feel really cool and hipster-Brooklyn-y with all the wood paneling, flannel, and locally-sourced ingredients.
I sat at the bar and was considering a whiskey from their sizable selection, but decided to have one of my favorite cocktails, the Last Word, which I had blogged about earlier here. The bartender and I chatted for a second about the whiskey, I asked for my drink, and he came back at me, suggesting that I try the Final Word, which is the same drink as the Last Word, but with scotch instead of gin. I happily agreed, of course, giving my proclivities towards the novel, and was well-rewarded. The drink, to my palate, makes a better nightcap, but I predict I’m still going to find myself ordering mostly Last Words. I suppose the names do mean something.
To me, this bartender offered me real service (a rarity generally, but especially in Brooklyn). It was anticipatory. He took the information that I was interested in whiskey, combined that with the fact that I liked a Last Word, to give me a third possible option; he offered me a new experienced based off drinks I had enjoyed in the past, which is pretty much perfect, as far as I’m concerned. This sort of service is a two-way street. Consumers need to engage their servers (bartenders, mixologist, sommeliers), but servers also need to get interested in what they’re doing.
Fellow service industry professionals, the fact is, you’re probably going to be at your job for at least 25-30 hours a week, even if you have other interests. Take some pride, people! How would you like to be treated when you sit down? I ask myself that question every time I step behind my bar, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that you should too. If you have aspirations to act, paint, dance, model, draw, babysit, work as an accountant, train for the Olympics, or whatever while you’re in the service industry, just make an attempt to be good at your job. I guarantee this will manifest itself in how much your time as worth (tips), as well as your general outlook towards your job. There’s a lot of bullshit in the service industry. I would be the first person to admit that, but I’d like to see the exception become the rule, wouldn’t you?