1 year ago

World Bartender Day: Serving Up with Professionalism


World Bartender Day: Serving Up with Professionalism

There was a time when drinking behind the bar was not only common but socially acceptable. Those days are gone now—the practice is outdated. Even without it, I promise that you will enjoy being behind the bar as much as I do now. On World Bartender Day remember that our well-being comes first!

By: Dré Masso, co-creator of Altos Tequila  @DREMASSO


Twenty-five years ago, it was normal and emblematic in our bartending culture to drink occasional shots behind the bar. It gave us adrenaline to get through the shift and doubled our exhaustion by the end of the night! This social practice was expected by guests, who wanted their bartenders to join them for a shot or a toast upon request.

But after all of these years working behind the bar, we realize now that this custom, and the culture that created it, are outdated at best, and one of the most damaging parts of the industry at worst. Discover why…

Tahona Society Bartender serving Tequila cocktails

A more thoughtful relationship with what we drink

As we get older, our body, for better or for worse, makes its limits clear. Thankfully, we have the emotional maturity and common sense to listen to it! Now we can say NO when we know that taking a drink will not serve us.

“As we have learned to take care of ourselves, we have also cultivated a more thoughtful relationship with what we drink—along with where, when and with whom we decide to do so.”

– Dré Masso

Remember:  Our well-being comes first, and what goes into our body must honor this principle.

“No thanks, I don’t drink during my shift”

I no longer drink during my shifts. And, perhaps a bit unexpectedly, I have never enjoyed being behind the bar as much as I do now. It has taken me a while to figure this out, but I want longevity in this industry because it is an industry I love, and through which I have been able to develop and express my creativity, professionalism and appreciation for people.

If you want to last in the bartending industry, you can’t blur the line between the role that alcohol might play in a social celebration and the effect it can have on a professional who is doing their job.

“I’m not saying that no bartender should ever have a drink on their shift, but all bartenders should definitely have clear boundaries while working in such a socially-charged work environment.”

– Dré Masso
Tahona Society Bartender serving Altos Tequila drinks

Our profession has matured. It is inspiring to see young people embracing bartending as a creative, long-term profession and avoiding the mistakes that so many bartenders of my generation made.

This new perspective can be seen in small but meaningful actions, such as simply saying “no thanks, I don’t drink during my shift,” as well as in the current general culture of open conversation and awareness around self-care, mental health, welfare and professionalism.

Today, more new bartenders are being smart about the context they work in, and wise about how they decide to engage.

As we evolve beyond the limiting beliefs and outdated concepts that no longer serve us as individuals and as an industry, we can move forward more purposefully and honor the traditions of dignified hospitality, people-centered service, and the inherent creative innovation of our profession.