The Noble Profession Of…

Once upon a time, I participated in a gin tasting hosted by one of the most influential people I’ve ever come into contact with, Steve Olson. After almost three hours of learning the in’s and out’s of gin, Mr. Olson concluded his seminar with a quote from a very special book. The book, which I swiftly purchased upon my return home that day, is titled Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual. This is well known to be the one book, if no other, that every bartender should read cover to cover. However, I was unable to locate that particular quote in my copy of the book. All I could remember was that I was so empowered by the words I had heard that day and it made me even more proud to do what I do. At yesterday’s BarSmarts seminar in Denver, I approached Mr. Olson and asked him to locate those words for me, again.


As he found the page, marked the paragraph, and handed the book back to me, I re-read what I had been looking for. These words make me believe in what I do, as they did the first time I heard them. They give me hope that, even though I am judged by some, I can be proud that this is my career. This is my “real job.” I love what I do and I can only hope that any others out there in our industry, who are reading this, feel as strongly about it as I do. We should not feel shame, nor allow people to act disgusted or confused by our choice of career path. We should stand proud and know that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, we have chosen the right road to travel. My hope is that these words find a place in your soul as they did mine.

Bijou Cocktail “The principle I desire to instill is that this vocation – that of eating and drinking – to be properly successful, must be conducted by the same legitimate methods as any other monied enterprise that appeals directly to the public. It furnishes a necessity, just as does the clothier, hatter, and shoe-dealer, and, in itself, is an honorable means of livelihood. It should not be regarded by the proprietor or employee as a special means of securing the patronage of friends, as a possible avenue of good luck, or as a chance to gain by nefarious opportunities. It should be managed alone in an earnest, honorable manner. Believe in yourself, and others will have faith in you.”


About Adam Dunbar

Adam is 1 part whiskey, 1 part gin, 1 part beer. His love for everything booze has landed him a job in which he gets paid to enjoy the fine art of drinking. Should you care to join him, you can find him behind the bar at Encore On Colfax.

  • CONK

    Rad. It must have been such an amazing experience to meet a person who you have respected for years. I was pumped to hear that BarSmarts was coming to Denver, but learned of it too late to participate. Looking forward to sitting at your bar soon to see the Encore. Cheers

  • Ash Raleigh

    Very well said, Adam. I absolutely agree that what we do is a “real job” and that it takes just as much dedication to be a well-educated and successful bartender as it does to be successful in any other profession. It’s amusing how quickly people can call out “bad service” but how they completely fail to notice when they experience phenomenal service from a true professional in the industry. Cheers, my friend. See you again soon!

    • PJ

      I just want to say that I value good service much more than I disvalue bad service. When recommending a location, such as Colt & Gray, a large part of my recommendation is the staff. Granted, I’m potentially not the norm, and I surround myself with these people. But, just wanted to say I value all of your hard work 🙂