A few months back, I contacted Shaun Daugherty, aka Shaun the Bartender, to see if he would be interested in being featured in one of my “Beach Bar Bums Focus” articles. I had been a fan of Shaun’s Facebook page and website for a while. You could tell from his postings that he was passionate about the art of bartending and loved sharing that passion with everyone. For anyone looking to get into the business of bartending, Shaun’s wealth of knowledge is an indispensable source of information.
Can you tell me how you got started in the restaurant/bar industry?
“Bartending just happened by chance. Back when you were allowed to go into a bar at the age of eighteen, (showing my age a bit), I was carding people at the door of a nightclub during my senior year of high school to make some extra cash. One of the bartenders walked in the middle of a busy night and they through me back there. You can say I got thrown to the wolves. In fact, my first five years in the industry are a blur. Never really got too serious until I hit my mid-twenties. I have worked in this industry ever since, at least one day a week. I had a great job making six figures and still had to tend bar. It’s like a drug to me. This is where my passion is, has been and always will be.”
What led you to decide to start the Shaun the Bartender website?
“The reason for starting Shaun The Bartender was to promote my book, “Extra Dry, with a Twist: An Insider’s Guide to Bartending“; a tongue-in-cheek narrative text on what it takes to become one of the best bartenders. There are no recipes. Just guidelines with story examples on what you have to do to be considered an elite in this industry. In my mind, I believe it all starts with being a maestro of the room and making sure all the people enjoying your establishment feel they belong. You, as the bartender, want them to come in to see you first and the bar second. You should be the main attraction. If you do this job right, you are the friend, the confidant, to the people who enter the door. This book gives you some insights on how to go about getting in the right mindset to get you there. I really didn’t get the Drink of the Day with a video going until a couple years into it. In fact, I have gotten so busy with this that I had to give the Drink of the Day a rest until December 1st. However, there are over 300 drinks to look up. We will double that by mid-next year. My main focus is customer service. I think that’s something that seems to be forgotten and is the most important part of, not only this business, but any business dealing with people. We need to get some of this back!”
I think everyone has a favorite bar they always go to. Do you have one and if so, do the bartenders have a lot to do with that?
“Like most psychiatrists having their own shrinks, us bartenders usually have our favorite bartenders. I am more into the nice and quiet speak-easies with a good conversationalist behind the bar. I have two guys that I go to whenever I get the chance. I have known these guys for over twenty years, so we have become family. So, yes, I think when it comes down to it, to establish a regular base at the bar, it will be the bartenders for the most part making this happen. Not just because of them only. Also because of the types of people they attract into their establishments. People want to have a certain comfort level with those around them. A bartender is there to establish the right base for that particular bar.”
This is great advice! Favorite drink?
“This is going to sound too simple…an old fashioned made with rye whiskey and without soda. Second favorite: A tie between a Captain and Coke or just a Jameson on the rocks.”
For more information on Shaun the Bartender, you can visit his website. Be sure and check out his “Drink of the Day” videos. They’re on hold until December 1 so now is the time for you to get caught up! Here is one of my favorites on how to make a proper lemon drop shot.
You can go to Amazon.com and purchase his book here. Five reviews so far and all of them are five stars!