Inside going out

Story by Eric Christenson, Editor in Chief

Many upperclassmen are well-familiarized with the nuances of Water Street:

  • Don’t eat too much free popcorn at the GI or it’ll hurt if you throw up.
  • The slide guitar guy means well.
  • Is there time to do Joynt happy hour before dinner?
  • Is there time to grab Burracho’s before Brat-Thirty?
  • Scooby Snacks.
  • Fishbowls.
  • The Pickle.

It’s all there for of-agers to enjoy.

However, for some students, more goes into the bar experience than fun, friends and $5 ATM fees.  Some students are the very bartenders and bouncers that try to keep their buzzed peers in check.

“It’s not a bad job at all,” said senior Patrick Swanson, a bouncer at Shenanigan’s / Lucky’s. “It’s actually fairly easy. You just have to worry about watching people’s age and watch what they do in the back.”

Swanson said on the whole that even though he’s had to throw people out, outwit underagers and even find a knocked out tooth and at one of Water Street’s most rowdy clubs, most of the time he just stands around, checks IDs and has a good time.

“It’s weird being there as a bouncer with a sober point of view of how crazy the bars can actually get,” he said.  “If you’re just there at the bars drinking, you don’t really notice everything around you that’s going on, but when you’re a bouncer, you have to be aware of everything that’s going on around you.”

But it’s not necessarily easy being a student working as a bouncer or a bartender among your contemporaries.

Koryna Flores worked at three different Water Street haunts while she was in school: The Pioneer Tavern, El Patio Restaurant and most recently, The Grand Illusion.

She said other students will sometimes try to take advantage of the fact that they shared a class or a mutual friend with a younger bartender.

“People you know always ask, ‘can I get a free shot?’ or something, and depending where you work you can do that,” Flores said. “People would try and come behind the bar to give me a hug or something, but they were drunk and they didn’t know better.”

Senior Emily Chambers recently started bartending at The Joynt, but she hasn’t run into many difficulties partly because The Joynt tends to be more casual and laid-back, she said.

The casual vibe is what makes Chambers OK with seeing her classmates out and about.

“If I worked at Shenan’s or something and saw (classmates) having sex on the dancefloor, I’d be like, ‘That girl’s in my French 101;  what is she doing?’” Chambers said. “The Joynt’s pretty casual; we don’t get too many crazies.”

So the divide between school-life and bar-life is palpable, for sure.  Swanson said he tries to treat people fairly, while it’s still a little weird seeing some classmates at the bars.

“I try not to judge people because they’re drinking. Everyone acts a little different when they drink,” he said.  “It’s funny seeing some people that I know are shy in the classroom, but I see them out and they’re just really outgoing and really talkative, it’s just funny to see how their personality can completely flip when they’re actually out drinking.”

In all, balancing a bartending job with student life isn’t that difficult, and there are added bonuses, Flores said.

“It’s fun when you have parties of your own, you can be like, ‘I know how to make this drink and I know about all these different beers,’” she said.  “I usually am a late-night person, so the hours are really nice for me.  I like being up and actually doing something with my time instead of just being on Reddit.”