December 11, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Unibroue, Country: Canada, Grade: A-, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

8% ABV on draught

Let’s talk about dating bartenders. Seemingly the holy grail for a drunkard. Though in many ways that is true, those of us that have dated drinkslingers can attest that there are both pluses and minuses to the proposition. I thought of this dichotomy as I have just recently befriended an attractive female bartender, though we have yet to “date” per se.

I’ve never been one of those guys that likes dispensing dating advice, nor receiving it. Most people who are dating or relationship “experts” are all talk and no walk, similar to business “experts” that are poor and entrepreneurial “experts” that have never had a successful company. All those people are only successful at pumping out books of bad and untested advice that aimless and confused people for some reason actually pay money for.

Dating isn’t a do-this-and-then-that-and-then-she-will-like-you-bro game. It’s far more complex than that. And, if by my age you haven’t figured a few things out, you are in serious trouble. That’s why I like to document my successes and failures on this blog, so we can laugh at me, while still learning a thing or two. Simply put though, I’ve always felt if one is simply interesting, natural, and bold, then they will have much success in the world of women.

Having said all that, now it’s time for me to be a hypocrite as I have decided to make an if-then chart helping those decide whether they should date, fuck, or simply remain friends with a bartender.

Now, I’m not going to help you actually intrigue, actually pick up the bartender, that’s your job. All I would say is to please treat bartenders like normal females. Seems simple, but I notice that 99 out of 100 men don’t. Yes, she may be garbed in overly tight clothing that heaves her bosoms onto the bar unwittingly mopping up beer condensation. And, yes, she may be bottomed in hot pants that barely cover her labia.  But that doesn’t mean she is a slut.

Likewise, she is not a hooker and giving her an unnaturally large tip does not count as a pick-up line, in fact, it just makes you look sad and clueless. (Though, I suppose if it’s like $1000 on a two-pint tab that might be enough to get some future dates with her in which you can give her lots of jewelry and nice dinners and shit.) Furthermore, remember, while you are getting increasingly drunker throughout the night, she is usually remaining sober. So if she doesn’t seem truly interested in you by the time you get to, say, drink number four, just assume she isn’t interested in you at all. Post-drink four, you may think you have finally seduced her, but she is laughing at your jokes and siding with you in the dumb pop cultural arguments you are having with your buddy (“Who would win a fight, Sonny Corleone or Henry Hill?”) simply to placate you. In fact, she sees you as just another besotted slob like every other drunk male in the bar.

A few questions to ask yourself before jumping in:

1. How much do I like the bar she works at?

2. Do I foresee a long-term relationship with her?

3. Would a single one-night stand be enough?

4. How do I feel about future awkward situations?

I suppose the kind of lame “experts” employed by those sorts of men’s magazine that stink like bad cologne would say something pithy and trying-to-be witty like, “Don’t shit where you drink,” but I don’t completely agree with that unless you live in fucking Mayberry. I especially disagree with that statement if you live in New York City. There’s another bar just around every corner. Then again, there’s plenty of women around the corner too. So you have to decide to what level you like each because, as economists know, the world is all about trade-offs.

Is the bar some place you treat the same way Jerry treated Monk’s coffee shop, a place you gather everyday after work for drinks with friends, to watch the big game, to eat mozzarella sticks? Is the bartender a girl you could legitimately see yourself dating for a lengthy time period? Or is she just too fucking hot to pass up a night of meaningless sex with, future consequences be damned?

Some other things to consider. Dating bartenders can be very demanding. Many of them have to work til closing time and still count the register, turn off the countless TVs, and mop up shit, leaving you to sit tired at the bar watching a fifth straight running of “Sportscenter” on closed-captioning as the bar backs and bouncers angrily stare at you, mostly mad because you’re the guy dating their coworker they’ve had an unrequited crush on for so long. Likewise, visiting your bartender girlfriend on a busy night can be somewhat akin to dating a stripper as you are forced to sit by yourself as your amore faux-flirts with other males while pretending to accept their sleazy advances. I find it utterly amusing to watch males flounder in their seductions, but I know most men get jealous upon seeing such things.

Let’s look at some sample scenarios:

1. Bar is your home away from home. Your living room in another location. It’s where all your friends hang, it’s where you meet all your hookups, it’s “your” place, man. The bartender is highly attractive but you see the potential for her annoying you down the road.

AARON SAYS: Just stay friendly with the bartender. You’ll get some free drinks out of it at best.  At worst, you won’t alienate you and your friends from a favored watering hole.

2. Bar is on the other side of town. The side of town you fucking hate. Bartender is a, let’s say, 6 out of 10.

AARON SAYS: Try to pick her up that night for a one-night stand. If you fail, no harm no foul. That side of town sucks and you’ll never need to visit that bar again.

3. Bar is on the Upper East Side–

AARON SAYS: Whoa, stop right there. Why in the world are you on the UES? Hail a cab and get the fuck out of there!

4. Bar is decent and unremarkable, nothing distinguishing it from any other bar in the city. Bartender seems like someone you could marry.

AARON SAYS: Then fucking date her! It’s not that hard. What do I need to hold your hand on all your decision?! Jesus.*

Now let’s get to my situation. Having some time to kill before meeting a friend on a Friday night, I wanted to find a place to grab a few drinks and possibly some grub. I walked through lower Hell’s Kitchen trying to find the crummiest bar I could. Crummy because with it being a Friday happy hour I wanted a quiet spot where I could actually get a seat and avoid being jostled by slobbering Heineken drinkers. After several false starts–walking in the bar, seeing the scene, immediately walking out of the bar–I finally found a place that looked like a dump. A place I had passed by for years but had always avoided. Surely this place would be empty. It was.

However, it was also incredible! The outer facade of a dive bar but the interior of an upscale watering hole. I hunkered down at the bar and was floored by their unbelievable tap selection: Allagash Black, several Ommegangs, and a few Unibroue offerings as well, all at a mere $5 a pint. I ordered a sandwich and it too was sublime. Throw in some gorgeous flatscreens from which I monitored several NBA games at once and I was absolutely digging this little gem I’d discovered.

Then the bar had a shift change and I was greeted by a new bartender. We flirted, we hit it off, I made a smooth exit, she stalked me on Facebook, and you’re up to speed.

Our first “date” wasn’t exactly a date. It was quiet on a Tuesday night, I was at home plotting how to rule the world when I got a text from her:

“bored at work, come by.”

No problems there. I arrived at the bar at 10:00 PM to find myself the only patron there, save one crazy lunatic in the corner drinking Guinness with a shot of Stoli Vanil poured in (seriously). The bartender and I spent the next few hours shooting the shit and learning about each other while she continued to refreshen my pints. I got to try Maudite on draft for the first time, something I was quite amped up for being that Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde is one of my favorite brews on the planet. Thinner mouthfeel than I expected but still very good. Malty and spicy with some fruit esters. I felt it could have used a tad more carbonation as well but I don’t have many more complaints than that.

That night I learned that the bar is so infrequented that my bartender is allowed to close it whenever she thinks business is done for the night. On this evening, that was around 1:00. Perfect. I can handle that. Waiting for your girl to finish her shift at 5 AM is fucking terrible.

She is a great person and we instantly had a connection.  She is also attractive, and young, and has other career options she is fervently pursuing.  Likewise, this isn’t a bar I had ever even been to previous than a week ago so I would have no problem if it was taken away from me.  Seemingly a perfect storm for taking the plunge and dating the bartender, right?

Not in this case.  Truth be told, I don’t think we will ever date cause quite frankly I think we have no sexual chemistry–and both of us realize it. But that’s still great because that means we can be just friends and our relationship will never sour, and she will never dump me or me her, and, thus, I can continue to drink glorious free beer in perpetuity. And I have a new good friend in the neighborhood to boot.

Everyone’s a winner. Especially me. Though, I guess, not especially whoever owns that bar that I’m milking for all its worth, absolutely plowing through pricey beer kegs.  I’m guessing I will put this place out of business soon.


I’d like to hear your stories about picking up and/or dating your bartender. Bonus points if you are a woman that has used a male bartender only to get free drinks.

*I wish there was some sort of algorithm one could plug the stats into–how attractive the bartender is, how much of a catch she is, how cool the bar is, how often you go to the bar per week, how little disregard you personally have for your own future–to come up with a number exactly telling you what to do, but I couldn’t conceive of one.  Maybe my nerdier friends could help me there.

4 Responses to “Maudite”

  1. Kyle says:

    It’s pronounced “Yoo-nee-broo” or “Oo-nee-broo”

    It’s means “One Brewery.” I’m not sure if they mean “The first brewery,” or “Number 1 Brewery,” or “The Only Brewery” (think Lord of the Rings, One Brewery to Rule Them All).

    Either way, that’s what it is.

  2. Kyle says:

    Oh, and in case you didn’t know, “Maudite,” is pronounced “Maow-deet” and means “Damned.”

  3. Thanks Kyle. “How to pronounce unibroue” is one of the top google searches to find me oddly enough.

  4. Damon says:

    MORE carbonation, are you nuts? That shit tastes like club soda with a splash of beer. La Fin Du Monde was tasty, though.

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