This article was featured in Bartender’s December issue
By Mitchel Bushell
Tapping away at the keyboard keys right now I can see the moustache tattooed on the inside of my pointer finger, a blatant reminder of queer ride this has been. A lame fuck up at points, I had worried may end in ridicule, shame and self-loathing.
I was lucky when the tide turned in my mission for the truth at least the truth as I saw it, because for a while there I had no idea what I was doing. It was with a strange mix of choice and duty that I decided to march the trenches, show the bastards I could do it, find the truth at whatever cost – wave the flag if need be. Hell sometimes it was just easier to say I was Australian and skip the small talk. With that grim statement my friends I bring you;
My Do’s and Don’ts of a three-month working trip in New York City
Don’t go in August! Everyone is out of town this month and I wish someone had told me. Tales of The Cocktail was great to meet people and networking is key in the American scene but getting a job in August is almost unheard of in New York City. Head out there in May or even before – go to the Manhattan cocktail Classic and network there. Winter is well gone by then but school is still in and the bars are full.
Don’t even bother bringing your resume. They don’t give a fuck what’s on it. The bulk of the good bartenders in the better bars in the city have no idea what we are doing in Australia. And the people employing in the tier of work below that don’t know what the bars and hour away in Boston are doing. Plus not having any papers means the jobs you see on craigslist.org are not going to hire you anyway, note this statement is completely true but you get the jest and it brings me to my next point.
Go out every fucking night, go somewhere. You don’t have to have a big one but get out and meet people. Example; I go out to White Star alone to see Tim D.P. and sitting at the bar meet Frank an ambassador for Bols’ Genever. We bro down and he invites me to a Bols tasting at Louis 649 in Alphabet City. I end up getting a job at Louis from the tasting and sit next to Tom the hire and fire guy at Death & Co.
Tom, Frank and I become good friends, lovers and then a 3 way….no no.
But you get the picture, being out and being there will mean you’re in the know,
This is the KEY and everyone knows that.
CASH FLOW – YOU’RE GOING TO NEED IT
Now you’re going to need money, despite the amount of free drinks and cheap doubles going around and even though everyone is a brand ambassador and they can’t wait to buy you a drink you will need to work. That’s what your here for, but work smart not hard. Putting this in to perspective, even if Tom gave you a job at Death & Co and trains you up over 3 shifts without pay or tips – standard at most bars. You’re still just joining a list of trained bartenders they keep waiting in the ranks. And once you hit the roster you’re still only getting 2 shifts a week max! Working in high volume bar, two nights a week, sloshing out spirits, tap beer and frozen margaritas form a slushy machine may not sound glamorous but rolling up to Mayahuel with pockets stocked and your new buddies from the bars you want to work in will help you get closer to working in them. And don’t fucking talk about bartending all the time either, it repels people. Sit a few of these conversations out, you will learn that way and people won’t be bored by you. Trust me.
If you have any questions, want some NY hooks ups or feel the need to send a note telling me I’m a skid mark then shoot them off to: firstname.lastname@example.org