Fat Cats – Bar Manager Breakdown

Face it – everyone’s got a boss.  Whether you’re a Porter or sit at the top as the owner, you report to someone. If you own the joint, and think you’re responsible to no one, you’r 100% doomed to grind your bar into the ground, obscurity or both.  The customer, or guest, is everyone’s boss – period.  This is the person who pays your mortgage/rent, alimoney/child-support, gives you crunk money, buys you jeans, a monthly MetroCard, the latest Jordans, pays for your cocaine habit  and a myriad of other necessities and vices.  Never forget it.

That said, as bartenders, let’s take a look at the person to whom we not so happily, report to directly in this business.  That’s usually the Bar Manager.  The Bar Manager is sometimes the owner, General Manager, Floor Manager or Head Bartender.  One way or another,  he/she is supposed to be responsible for running shit.  Like many bosses, he/she often has a big head, combined with delusions of how things “should be,” while they not so reluctantly daydream and frequently share their goal opening up their own bars.  There are occasionally decent or good bar managers.  But, they’re few and far between.  More often, you’re left to deal with these assclowns below.

The Pit Boss: As the title implies, this douchebag is all kinds of up in your grill every 5 minutes, all night, behind the bar as you try to take care of business.  You’re shaking some concoction and grab a glass, your hand inadvertently grabs a random boob, ass or you toe-step – ’cause he/she is standing right behind you.  The 1% of the time you’re not doing anything, he suddenly appears, telling you to quit leaning on the bar, wipe bottles down, or do some pointless inventory. Every other cash transaction, you feel his/her fucking heavy breathing on your shoulder as he assumes you’re shoving undocumented twenties in your tip jar. During each, frequent bar visit, he feels the need to search your section for contraband and check around your register in an attempt to confiscate your cell phone. Each time you pour some Henny, you find the pit boss behind you – arms crossed – watching your every move.  In his mind, you are always over-pouring and have two thumbs on his monthly profit-sharing check.

The Tactical Ninja - Tactical Ninja is sub-species of the Pit Boss – a close relative. Only, instead of getting all up your ass behind the bar, he’ll don him some dark clothing – which he thinks helps with concealment – as he pratices his best ninja lurking skills.  He inexplicably hides in every dimly-lit nook and cranny of the restaurant, thinking he’s slick and above being “made.”  He’ll start in the shadows of the coat check, peeking his beady eyes out – observing you tend bar.  Five minutes later, he’s in the vestibule doing the same stupid shit.  Next, he’s on the far side of the bar, half-hidden by the indoor plants.  Every walk of the floor involves his eyes being fixated on you with military-grade tracking and precision.  He believes, without a doubt, that you haven’t noticed him watching you.  But the reality is far different, because your mad flighty bar skillz and experience have given you wicked good observational powers.  You just laugh it off and go about your business giving the house away despite Ninja Ned.

Keys - Remember E.T. the Extra Terrestrial? If not, I guess I’m really old.  It was 1983.  Anyway, this retard is like one of those cats with a bell, that tries to pounce on grazing birds – only he never catches his victim.  This is a good thing for you, the bartender, as you try look your best and game the system. These jokers give you ample opportunity to get your shit straight and not get busted doing something stupid.  He/she is the moron who walks the floor and bar all night, endlessly twirling their keys and pixie dust infused P.O.S. cards like cowbells.  These are highly insecure, but power hungry, and attention deficient losers.  Without their keys in hand, like a Linus blanket, they feel naked, no longer an all-powerful manager. They announce their presence from 30 feet away.  As they stroll down the hall, they provide enough time for you do chug your highly frowned upon, and unaccounted for, shot with customer, pocket some illicit cash money, or finish nomming on your  (unpaid for) quesadilla, behind the bar, without getting severely busted.

The Owner’s Cousin  - This buffoon has a job, and is immune from being fired only because he’s family.  He’s good at few processing responsibilities because he’s been doing the job for 10 straight years.  He’s also, unfortunately, got a big head – entitlement syndrome in that he knows he can do pretty much no wrong.  So, he occasionally fucks with you and a few select others.  He doesn’t cut anyone ever.   Heads roll if any other manager ever attempts to cut people during slow times or if they make even the slightest attempt to trump is almighty power by merely asking if you can possibly go home.  He rarely sees things as they are, because in his mind, he’s running a tight and profitable ship that needs zero improvement – ever.  If there are 10 people at the bar, speaking loudly, and 3 bartender’s – to him – it’s busy and the house is staffed appropriately.  He tells people (wrongly) he owns the place.  He draws a good salary, has rock-solid job security, but is Mr. Depressed as the underachiever in the family.  He’s emotionally unpredictable and occasionally has fits of unprovoked rage.  He’s not in your face all the time like the Pit Boss, let’s you pretty much go about your business, but still manages to make your life miserable through refusal to adapt to changing times as well as straight-up ignorance.

Mother Teresa - She storms into an establishment as a fresh hire and immediately tries to implement new rules, procedures and protocols to “save a sinking ship,” boost revenue, and make herself look good for the owners. Often, in attempt to save you from your own stupidity, she will try to completely revamp the house cocktail menu too – ugh – because it sucks.  This person is on a mission to “make shit right” and fix all the inefficiencies and losses at the bar.  This bar manager rarely makes it past 6 months before throwing her hands in the air due to frustration.  Typically, the owners don’t like or want change, and bartenders placate her and go about their business regardless. That doesn’t register immediately nor sit very well with this type of nincompoop and she eventually moves on to the next bar that needs fixin’.

The Luminary - She’s never bartended in her entire 23 years of life on Planet Big Head.  Yet, as you make a Manhattan, Mojito or Cosmo, she’s going to make sure she tells you how to make it because you’re doing it all kinds of wrong.  She’s behind the bar almost as much as the pit boss.  Or, she’s a hot piece of ass that doubles as the Maître d’ and leans across the bar incessantly to “show” you how to do your job properly.  Clearly, you’re not the bartender because you know what you’re doing.  But rather, you need an education on how to raise your game up to her standards.

The Habitual Philanderer - This idiot deserves his own post – I’ll get to that eventually. This is almost always a dude.  He’s often a revolting slob who has let himself go since college.  Maybe he’s working hard on a small beer gut and thinks shaving is only for cubicle grunts.  The Philanderer often rocks a Jew-fro and/or a receding hairline. His back has a carpet of hair rivaling that of a great Silverback Gorilla .  If he does happen to be well dressed, he may be cursed with a terrible bout of acne, could be fat as an hippo, or has some other severe physical deformity like micro-penis.  He’s got no game whatsoever and couldn’t get laid to save his life were it not for his abuse of authority position.  He’s drunk on power and will usually not fuck too much with the guys, in a sense – simply because we don’t have a vagina.  He neglects his job responsibilities, leaving you in the lurch, while he commits his verbal flirting assault, getting inappropriately touchy-feely with the hot servers and bartenders – all in plain view.  A favor begets a favor, right?  So, they’ll also be – you know – preferential treatment like “coincidental” preferential scheduling, walk-out forgiveness, endless shared drink shots (with only the ladies), and never-ending extracurricular invitations.

Ants in the Pants - Sometimes confused with The Philander and often exhibits some of the symptoms of The Pit Boss.  The difference is , he does have a bit of game and is not hard on the eyes.  He’s trying to be a good manager but he really belongs in a quality sexual rehabilitation center.  He can’t keep focused on the task at hand like – you know -making sure you have enough change in your drawer or keeping the bar stocked with the requisite liquor.  He’s far too busy getting a blowjob in the office or spying on the waitresses conversations in the back, to see which bar they’ll be hanging out at after work that evening.  He’s got a girlfriend, but constantly cheats on her with whichever waitress he can bag that night – professionalism and house code of ethics be damned.  Because of a heightened sense of insecurity, he’s always asking you what the waitstaff thinks of him and his appearance.  End of night cash-outs take painfully long because this horn-dog can’t keep the personal chit-chat down with the servers.  Some of this moron’s symptoms include: (1) having to be retold 3 times you need something at the bar (2) routinely messing up cash-out paperwork and (2) losing track of the cash count – having to stop, then restart about four times for each pile of money.


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One thought on “Fat Cats – Bar Manager Breakdown

  1. Well said…Freddy. I have worked with each of these managers throughout the years…Keys, Ants in the Pants, The Luminary, etc. My current manager is a Tactical Ninja…you described him perfectly…I named him Donkey. He is constantly watching the bar from various strategic vantage points around the dining room. You are right…The Tactical Ninjas definitely underestimate a bartenders observational skills. I can plot his track even on the busiest of nights.
    Good work!

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