September 30, 2022

Behind the Bar: Pour me some knowledge

1.3 min read| Published On: September 30th, 2022|

By Gina Horan

Behind the Bar: Pour me some knowledge

1.3 min read| Published On: September 30th, 2022| 0 Comments|

A debut column from a longtime bartender. 

In 1986, I took a semester off college and went back home to work at a costume-themed restaurant in the San Francisco Bay area. I was tasked with running the beer and shots table in the adjacent nightclub dressed as a cheerleader.  

Each night, to the pulsing strains of Madonna and Run DMC, I marveled at the money piling up in my tip bucket. All I did was smile and open a few bottles.  

Not long after that debut, I begged for a chance to train behind the main bar. With my newfound trade, I finished my degree and paid for most of it by slinging drinks. Those gigs also funded a lifetime of solo travel and endless wanderlust. 

When I turned 40, I decided to take a year off and backpack through Europe. I worked six shifts per week for two years to finance my adventure. When it was time to pack my shaker and go, my “regulars” gifted me $2,000 in cash and a custom-made pink passport holder, which has traveled around the globe with me ever since. 

I’m convinced that many bartenders start this crazy career for money and freedom, but the stories and human connections are a huge part of why we stay. Whether it’s the couple who spends every Tuesday night at Jamie’s Bar, or the newcomer Alan welcomed with a sincere handshake, we form lasting relationships and may not even know how we impact people’s lives. 

Throughout Lake and Sumter counties, there are dozens from this tribe with diverse backgrounds and similar tales to tell. We are pouring dockside in Tavares or stirring an Old Fashioned in Mount Dora, sampling varietals in The Villages, and brewing ale in Clermont. 

I hope to bring you on a journey to meet the folks who work hard to make your bar experiences memorable. We’ll chat, or just listen, if we leave politics and religion at the door. 

Grab a stool and belly up!  We are here, Behind the Bar.

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About the Author: Gina Horan

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