All the bartenders I have seen that I have respected are ones that do their job, who do not use their position as a means to get something other than a proper tip. They know the varieties of whatever drink you order, can specifiy all the beers, wines, liquors and mixers their establishment offers. They are the ones who know when I walk in what I normally drink, they prepare the next one as the last swig congeals in my last one, they simply look at me for a nod or an upheld hand before they hound me for another purchase. They would pour me into a cab and make sure that I at least made out of their bar in one piece.

The bars I go to are local bars, ones that attract college kids and seasoned Quarter locals, punks, freaks, and occasional weekend conventioners. The bartenders all have girlfriends who visit them often in the bar, to make their presence known, so I don't have to worry about anything they say as being misconstrued as anything but what they say, not as a pickup or a way to extract any info from me. But at the same time, they are conversational, polite, courteous and sweet. People can do this on the job and be sincere.

The best female bartender is one who can do her job, mix a proper martini, and clear the bar, doing no more and no less than her male counterpart. She should be cute and inviting, engaging but not overt. She should be able to handle the balance of keeping order and keeping everyone happy, so extensive flirting won't help her at all, expecially if I'm at her bar.

I want to be bartenders like these, if I found myself needing to take such a position. I would want to be the kind that gets the job done, who is always prepared, who can demand respect and maintain a firm threshold of tolerance. I want to be continually aware of why I am there behind the bar, that I am there for the people who pay my salary, who allow me to walk each night with a wad of cash in my pocket, since for every bartender there are dreams to be saving for, even if most of their tips are merely spent at other bars.

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