Drinking Denver, Server Dear

Dear fellow servers,

We have a responsibility that we are not fulfilling. Anyone who has been into a restaurant or pub knows that there are usually more seats at tables than there are at the bar.  People expect a certain amount of knowledge when they belly-up to the bar and ask the bartender what they should drink.  This expectation, for some reason, does not usually transfer to the person who is seated at a table.  Listen closely: As a server, you’ve been told that less is expected of your than a bartender. The only reason this is true is the general expectation of your customers and the only ones who can change that idea is us.

Think about it!  We directly serve more people per night.  Additionally, we get expose and persuade a greater volume of people into the world of loving what you drink.  We can all use the stereotype to our advantage by surprising our future drink lovers with our knowledge and suggestions.

There are two major things that will help you get people excited about that they are drinking and, as a bonus, help your tips.  The most important thing is your actual knowledge of what you are trying to suggest.  The first part of improving knowledge makes us lucky in our job because it involves drinking a lot of the product!  After your shift stay at the bar and have a drink.  It is worth it for us to spend a few bucks to try new whiskey, beer, cocktails, mixed drinks or whatever.  It is an investment and every time you are able to tell your table that you tried the drink they are asking about and what it tastes like your tips will improve.

Knowing fun facts will also impress your customer friends.  For example, when they order the Dry Dock Hefeweizen and you say, “Oh yes, the head brewer over there recently took a trip to Germany and it has been influencing their beers.”  While this is true, it’s okay if your table knows what that means.  The important part is that you took the time to share a fact about what the customer is drinking.  We all are charged to create an experience for our customer, and you just did that with information and facts.

While knowing what you know is very important, it is almost more important to know when you don’t know.  If you have no clue don’t try and answer.  It is hard sometimes but ultimately pays off if you tell someone that you honestly don’t know but can find out.

The second part of our responsibility to creating a great atmosphere for drinking in Denver is confidence and passion.  Know your stuff and be proud of it!  People pick up on your social cues more than you know.  They can tell if you believe what you are saying and if you really care about what you drink and by extension what they are going to drink.  When you are seen as a knowledgeable, confident person, you change from a par-time employee to an authority on what your friends are putting in their mouth.  That’s a big deal.  Seriously.

Bartenders, we love you!  Thank you for making our drinks and for being there when we “honestly don’t know” stuff.  Please keep learning or else we’ll soon catch up to you!


About Josh Rapp

Josh is a beer and whiskey enthusiast. He is a home brewer and a long time member of the Denver Whiskey Club and Denver Homebrew Club. He also makes Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey for money.

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  • http://grindsmycoffee.blogspot.com Drey Benroge

    I think it is wonderful that you have identified three “actors” that engage in dialogue within the pub or bar.
    (1) the bartender
    (2) the server
    (3) the customer

    I also agree with the fact that you acknowledged the “experience” because the product is not unique–the experience is and if you can create a wonderful experience you will have a life long customer.

    I believe you have addressed a critical “area of opportunity” for servers as well as everday customers such as myself. Not only is it important for a server to be knowledgeable about the product being sold but it is just as important for the customer to be actively curious and aware about what they are consuming.