I spend most of my time behind the bar coming up with the request “make me something” How do I know what you like? Are you a fruity queen or a beer and shot butch bitch? My first gay bar job was in Philadelphia at a bear bar at the tender age of 18. I poured a lot of pitchers of beer and made a lot of shots of Jack. I don’t even think the bar owned a martini glass. I loved this environment. Men drinking like men. This is what I knew. As time went on and I wanted to start building my bartending business, I decided to take a job at Bump Lounge. This bar was very NYC. Bright, vibrant, $3 martinis daily from 5-7pm. We all dressed in black. Very chic! On the flip side, I never poured a beer here. Every drink required grabbing multiple bottles of booze and shaking hard. I never could get any of my bears to visit me here. It was a wake up call for me. There are definitely multiple facets of our community that rarely mix.
I went to school for business and marketing and one thing I have been semi-talented at is narrowing my market and targeting them with all the energy I could muster. Being observant and learning how to profile in general is part of WOW customer service. This did not happen over night, nor is it 100% accurate for everyone, but as a general rule of thumb, I have learned who wants what based on what cute little facet of the community to which they belong. This sounds horrible on paper, but it is true. I am going to list a general account of how I profile people. You can agree or disagree, but one thing is true, this is a result of 18 years of market research.
- Twink: Drink- Vodka based Shot- Fruity
- Bear: Drink- Beer/1-liquor drink Shot- Brown liquor
- Lesbian: Drink- Lite Beer Shot- Buttery Nipple
- African American: Drink- L.I.T Shot- Fruity
- 35+ Gay: Drink- Martini Shot- Vodka or Tequila
- Asian: Drink: Multiple Liquor and Sweet Shot- Rarely do shots
Of course, people do tend to fit in more than one category. That is when we just ask “hey baby, do you like sweet or not so sweet?” It boils down to knowing your customers. I know writing this account will give me a little backlash. “I am a lesbian and I drink martinis!!” Well, of course you do honey. It is a basic generalization. Ask any bartender. We all follow these basic profiling methods to ensure YOU get what YOU want.
The diversity in our community is real. I feel like we segregate ourselves from one another all too often. Is there anyway to drink together? Is it because we go out to find a potential mate? Or we want to surround ourselves with people who look like us? I long for the time when my bears would come order a martini and a fruity shot from me while a twink delivers it to his table. That, my friends, is true community. I challenge you to step outside your norm and order something else. Break the mold!
Editor’s Note: Mr. Strangeways is apparently a quad-polar/bear/twink/lesbian over 35 with some Asian tendencies…would that make me Margaret Cho?