Ashley Roshitsh is the Head Bartender and Manager at Saint Lawrence Gridiron in Boise, Idaho. She’s known for challenging traditional expectations regarding what a cocktail should be, and having an intuitive understanding of the way flavors interact. She’s currently on a mission to trick her bourbon drinking boss into drinking gin. We’ll keep you posted on that.
I love my job. I get to work with some really talented people, while serving all different kinds.
My favorite part of my job is the guests I meet. I know my regulars, and sometimes even have their drink started when they walk in the door. I treat my bar as an extension of my home, welcoming guests to try new things and sometimes surprising them with a cocktail or spirit they wouldn’t normally choose. In my bar there’s a special connection between guest and bartender, and I try to do everything in my power to make it enjoyable.
However, being a woman, sometimes it’s difficult. Some people just don’t know how they come off, or how to interact in certain situations. This is an honest glimpse into the life of how it is to be a female bartender, with hopes that it sheds some light on how challenging it can be. And before assumptions are made, know that that these experiences are not solely from interactions with men. In fact, it seems like much of this stuff happens more with women.
Drink from the glass you receive, and don’t grab my arms.
You can call me… Bartender
Let’s just start out by clearing the air, the term for a female bartender is a bartender. I’ve had this question numerous times, and no, it isn’t “bartendress”. Do you call your doctor “doctoress”? I understand there’s the waiter/waitress differentiation. But I’m a bartender. So just “bartender” is fine. So, please use it. Other bad ways to get my attention include:
- *waves dollar bill or points to glass*
- whistling (THIS IS HAPPENING, PEOPLE!)
- quietly talking to your pal about me, hoping I hear you. “Do you think she’d make me an Old Fashioned?” or “I bet she hates us for ordering mojitos”. This is common in patrons. Either way, I’m a human and you can talk directly to me.
The glass reflects your drink. Not you.
Glassware, although it seems to be purely for decoration, can be very important. The aromatics of your drink are affected by the shape and thickness of the glass. The glass your drink is served in is specifically chosen for the exact drink you ordered. Traditionally, manhattans are served up in a cocktail glass, and most saisons or sours are served in a tulip glass. These are just shapes, made out of glass. They have no gender or sexual preference attached to them.
When you send back a drink (beer or cocktail) due to the glassware, it’s a surefire way to piss off any bartender, period. If you feel like the glass that the drink your ordered comes in a glass that’s too “girly” for you, and thus somehow directly reflects upon your masculinity, we (okay, no, just you) have a bigger problem.
I have tattoos, and I don’t cover them for work. You would never reach over the bar and grab a male bartender’s arm. What makes you think you can grab mine? Chances are, if you ask about my tattoos I’ll tell you about them. I enjoy conversations with fellow tattoo lovers, but I’m at work. Let’s be humans. Don’t grab.
My conversation with your boyfriend does not mean I’m devising how to steal him.
I will not steal your boyfriend
If I’m talking to your husband or boyfriend about bourbon, again, it’s my job. If you think that he and I are going to secretly run away together because I made him a cocktail, you’re a crazy person. I’m here to make sure that you both have an awesome time, so chill mama.
Playing backseat bartender
“Don’t make my Old Fashioned too sweet”, “Do you make a good Manhattan?” Both of these comments insinuate that I don’t know what I’m doing. I do, that’s why I’m on this side of the bar. My gender has nothing to do with my knowledge or technique. And I’ve been served plenty of poorly made classic cocktails by men, to know that this is the case.
Who’s the bartender? (part 1)
Please, for the love of god, stop ordering over my shoulder to my barback. You think that because he’s a man, and I’m a female, he’s the bartender. I won’t explain why this is a no-no.
Hi, I’m at work
Keep in mind that this is my job. I clock in and out and have to be attentive to everyone at the bar. That usually means that I’m stuck behind the bar, so if you feel like we’re hitting it off and feel the urge to hit on me, don’t. I’m at work. If I seem like I’m busy, or ignoring you after you make a joke about how cute I am when I’m busy, it’s probably because both are true. I’ve heard multiple times that I’m a bitch because I’m not giggling at every joke or wasting my shift leaning over the bar twirling my hair.
Are you a chiropractor or massage therapist? If not, no need to pass me your number.
I’m going home, to my home, to sleep. My relationship status has nothing to do with whether or not this question is appropriate. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ask your bartender what she’s doing after work. Chances are she has a hot date with Tiger Balm and a melatonin.
Yes, I Heard that
My job is to pretend that I can’t, but I can hear everything you’re saying. I’m standing right here. If you and a buddy are talking about your weekend scores, or your bitch of an ex, that’s fine. Just understand that I heard what you said.
Know what you’re ordering
If you order a high end bourbon expecting to impress me, impress me by paying for it and not complaining. If you smugly order an antique collection bourbon and don’t understand why George T. Stagg isn’t the same as the well bourbon, you don’t deserve to drink it. YOU DON’T DESERVE IT.
Who’s the bartender? (part 2)
If I’m at the bar, and I ask what you’d like to drink, don’t look over my shoulder and say “just have the bartender make me something, he’ll know.” I’m the bartender, and I’m asking you. I promise you, I’m fully capable of pouring Jack Daniels into a glass with red bull.
I’ve got this
I don’t need your help carrying a keg. I don’t know when women became incapable of carrying 60 pounds, and I can promise you that I’m stronger than 80% of my male coworkers. (Sorry, guys.)
For longer than not, bars have catered towards and have been staffed by mostly men. I get that. But hopefully getting a glimpse of what it’s like to be a female bartender will help prevent any future, unintentional embarrassment. And that’s good for both sides of the bar.
For more posts from
Bartendress Bartender Ashley… (we kid) as well as all things drink related, head to the growing archive here.