wine bar BARTENDER – what is he/she there for?

I went out to a relatively new wine bar last night with a few friends on the Upper West Side (of Manhattan).  Nothing special about the place.  Just a nondescript & conveniently located wine bar for the 3 of us to get together and have a glass of wine.

While 2 of the 3 of us “knew” wine (whatever that means) we were a little put off by the unfriendly nature of the older gentleman (in his 50’s) behind the bar.  No warm smile.  No offer for help.  We ordered some food – the least the bartender could have done was offer to help us find a wine that would pair well with the food that was ordered.  Nothing.  Just a cold, bordering on grumpy demeanor.

I bring this up as I believe the bartender/server is the representative of the place.  Almost like a PR person.  Forget about the well know fact that they work for tips – a detail one would think would lead to a warm (even if fake) demeanor.  But the person needs to both promote the location and HELP the customer.  Offer some friendly suggestions or pairing options.  Make the person feel comfortable.  Go nuts, start up a friendly conversation…

Wine bars have really proliferated all over Manhattan, and that is a fabulous thing.  Soon to be gone are the days of asking for wine in a bar and being offered “red or white”.  But what good are these wine bars if the people doing the “serving” within this service industry are cold & useless servers??

Sorry if this was a downer post.  The truth is that I have been to wine bars where the servers are full of energy, information & warmth.  Last nights experience was more of an exception than a rule.  But one I thought important enough to post about.

Happy Valentine Weekend.  Hope you enjoy it with a loved one…or at least a nice bottle of something you love!


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