Weekly Wail: The Bartenders of Mumbai

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“Boss, one last drink.” “C’mon man. Just one. Maaloom hain bar bandh hain but you can make an exception for me.” How often have we said these words as we are sitting at the bar and asking for a drink after last orders.  While it’s easy for us to go around asking bartenders to serve us when they are not supposed to, have we ever thought how tough it is from them? We spoke to five young bartenders across Mumbai to try and understand the problems bartenders face, with alcoholics, alcohol and a lot of drunk customers.


1. Denzil Denis, Bartender at Bar Mixologist 

Denzil Denis

“Most of the times the problems that I faced were about convincing clients who at times argue or abuse the bartenders if they are not catered to at parties. In a party of 1000 + people it’s hard to make drinks for the customers as at a go 10 people are demanding drinks and as a bartender you’re like Whom should I make the drink for, first?” adds Denzil.


2. Ashitosh Narayan, Bartender at One Street Over 

Ashitosh Narayan

“Ashitosh who is currently working as the Bar Manager for ‘One Street Over’ says that initially when people used to ask me what I am doing. I used to tell them ‘I am a bartender’. They thought that I am a useless person but that’s not true. I serve clients and customers like none other, my customers want to know regularly the new drinks that I make and at times kids are fascinated by the tricks that we bartenders use. Learning the course from a certified company is very important. It’s important to know the customer’s needs, the situations in hand and then use one’s knowledge in real life.”


3. Samy Patil, Freelance Bartender

Samy Patil

“Very often kids from high class family act way too smart with us; they often enter the bar area and made a drink for themselves, which is a great insult to any bartender as if bartenders don’t know to make drinks. Also a lot of the time the clients blame the bartenders for liquor being robbed which is not true (in parties it’s the workers or caterers that remove a few bottles for their enjoyment). This greatly affects the image of the bartender and thus he loses tips and goodwill. The ladies, don’t make a fuss over drinks or anything as such but are very bad when it comes to giving tips to the bartender.”


4. Wilfred Menezes, Former Bartender at BartenderOne

Wilfred Menezes

“Many customers often abuse us or make a fuss over a drink. Also if we close the bar counter the customers start demanding more drinks as if there is no tomorrow. If we don’t serve the guest of the client then the party organizer or the client himself cuts our pay which is very harsh on us.”


5. Ravi Valmiki, Bartender with 8 Years of Experience

Ravi Valmiki

“As a bartender I have never faced any problems as such but at times it is just that we as bartenders need to be updated and aware of the new cocktails that come up every day in the market. We need to know the kind of cocktails that are in demand nationally and internationally, we also have to aware that we don’t serve drinks to people below 18 years of age.”

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