Most fields contains “sides.” Political parties represent different ideologies and worldviews, they are opposing. In other areas, specifically in the bar industry, this doesn’t make sense, and “sides” are inculcated.
There’s no contrast between beer and cocktails, you can love both, consume both, serve both, they live in peace and harmony.
There’s no contrast between a bartender and a mixologist, nothing, nada. If we peel away the stereotype, any comparisons between the two becomes hollow and stupid. A good mixologist can be a great bartender, helpful, creative, systematic, efficient, knowledgeable and aesthetic. In fact, all the “mixologists” I know identify as bartenders by trade. No one identifies as a mixologist and not a bartender.
You don’t have to choose, you can have both. Even better, the more extensive knowledge the professional has, the more varied skills they have, the better they simply are, isn’t it clear?
The aesthetic skills of the bartender pairs well with mixology, but also with bartenders who pour simple mixers, as gin-tonic or vodka-sodas. A pour is a pour, a rattle is a rattle, shaker’s a shaker and bartender’s a bartender. You can work beautifully in a cocktail bar, but just as easily in a neighborhood bar, a dance bar, or a restaurant and yes, you can also work ugly (very!) in all types of bars.
All Bar’s pour, it’s in their DNA regardless of the theme or genre. People who specialize in something can despise and disdain everything and anyone who’s not their “cup of tea“ This originates from habit and often happens, unfortunately.. Even the most talented of the talented do not see their shortsightedness. Social media culture turbocharges this whole experience.
I am an expert in my field, and as such, it’s important for me to emphasize that the aesthetic presence I aspire to, which I spread, does not eliminate, conflict or come at the expense of the other, it enhances it. It’s a tool, one of many tools that helps us express ourselves in the space where we host, pour and chat. It (the aesthetic) can exist in a fancy cocktail bar, a common neighborhood place or at a fine restaurant bar. Where bartenders pour, mix and shake drinks, it can exist. Doesn’t have to, but can. When in existence value is received, and where it is not, other values will be received, but not the aesthetic-technical value. It’s not the end of the world. The world is not a binary option, and neither is aesthetic work.
I’ve been all the way, from the realms of flaming flamboyant, grandiose, “circus” to minimal, restrained, efficient, while at the same time also working a neighborhood bar a cocktail bar. The work is different, the style is different, but the aesthetics are similar and since aesthetic work is my compass, I found many similarities between businesses that in terms of image (and only in this respect) are on both sides of the fence. Over the years, I perceived the job as something that straddles the line between sushi chef (craft) and a falafel seller (Flair, seriously), and if you’re chuckling to yourself and don’t understand the connection, then I’ll say it this way: the best bartender I’ve ever seen in action, was Daniel from the falafel shop near my apartment. At the time he was making falafels, and every person who happened to be there for many years received a service and aesthetic experience that puts 98% of the bartenders to shame.
Maximum aesthetics.. in a falafel place. You don’t have to choose, you can have both.