It was in the year 1999 when a Penn State College student named John Gayewski decided that he needed a way to, "make some money, do something fun, and you know, meet some women." He was going to make his claim to fame and take what was his in the world of opportunity. So, early in the summer, John decided to enroll into a forty hour bartender's course, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. For the duration of the course, the instructors taught John the intricate methods to memorizing drinks, ways of earning better tips, how to set up your bar and how to clean up your bar. The forty hour class went by and at the very end of his training he graduated as a certified mixologist.
The next step for John was the job hunt. Since he was enrolled in State College Pennsylvania, there were quite a few bars for him to choose from. There was one bar in the area that he had wanted to work more than any other it was called The Dark Horse. John was starting to feel the need to get into the bar scene, but for a man without any real experience, he was in for a bit of a struggle. He knew that there weren't any open bar tending positions at the Dark Horse, so he decided to apply for a door position. "Just because I wanted to get my foot in the door.
You know. Get into the bar scene." Luckily he was in the right place at the right time and he was hired as the doorman at the Dark Horse Tavern. Even though it wasn't bar tending, he was close to the bar and from there he would learn how the bar business worked. "I figured with my bar experience and my door experience, it would lead to better things." John was working every Monday, Thursday and on one night a weekend. Monday nights were usually football nights where the same crowd would arrive talking gambling and stats. "That was a good crowd.
I actually got behind the bar during that time 'cause it wasn't real busy and the owner wasn't around. Thursday night was always a good night at the door, just cause it was sorority night. You'd get all the comin' in. usually the regulars. Get kisses from them on the way in, you know, flirt with them.
So that was a good deal." The weekends at the bar for John were always varied depending on the Penn State football games or just the time of day. "You never know what kind of night you can get. You can get a good one with a lot of nice looking girls and a nice mellow crowd or you can have a rowdy bunch of dudes." Three years would go by, working the door, and eventually sneaking behind the bar every now and then, but mostly John was learning the ropes. He learned a lot about what went on at the bar like how to deal with the drunken people, how to screen the younger kids and the many other aspects required to keep a safe bar. After graduation, John moved back to his hometown of Mountaintop, Pennsylvania. Again he was faced with the task of searching for a job.
Eventually he would find his first real bar tending job at the Wyoming Valley Country Club. A complete change from the college bar, the country club was a quiet, relaxed atmosphere where the clients were older and more refined. "It was a pretty cool job. It wasn't with a lot of young people but we had regulars at the bar all the time.
I talked golf with them, they tipped well, very well since most of the people at the country club were pretty well to do." That was a good time for John. He got to watch sports with his customers and it wasn't the very intense, "heads down bar tending" where the bartender is always looking down making drinks instead of socializing with the people sitting around the bar. For a while John poured drinks for the golfers at the club, but before long John was looking for change. He looked towards the largest supplier of liquor to the area, The Woodlands Inn and Resort.
Shortly after he placed his application, he was hired for a bar tending position. Because it was mostly the bartenders with tenure who received the best jobs, John was forced to be a banquet bartender. Although John was only tending to weddings and banquets, he was earning more than he made at all of his previous jobs. "There is where I made the best money. I made about ten to thirteen dollars an hour. So, ten to thirteen dollars plus tips, I ended up making almost...
Some nights almost twenty bucks an hour." John always enjoyed having the young wedding crowds. It was his pleasure to mix drinks for the good looking women and at times he would suggest drinks for his customers. "When you'd have a good wedding crowd, a young wedding, that was always fun 'cause, you know. You could make drinks a bit stiffer, maybe suggest something you think they'd like. Cater to the customer. More to the female than to the male, because, you know, that's just how it goes." What was rough about this for John was that these jobs were mostly on weekends, sometimes keeping him from going out and having his own fun.
Approximately six months after being hired, he quit. John then took a short hiatus from the bar tending world and during this time he traveled. He visited friends that he hadn't had time to see and he straightened out his affairs. It didn't take long for John to spend most of his savings. He knew that it was time to come back and start over. Currently John Gayewski is working at Applebee's Restaurant which is acting only as a small source of his income.
It seems that the only times his bar gets full is when there are hockey games, concerts or other events at the arena. "The atmosphere is, well... I'm always making drinks for waiters and waitresses and I'm not being tipped out for that, while I'm still making the drinks, which is kind of bogus. I have off and on thoughts about Applebee's. It could be good one night and bad another." John holds a second job as a bartender at Banana Joe's. This is where he makes most of his money and spends the least of his time.
"Now Banana Joe's has a good atmosphere. There's a lot of young kids looking for a good time and I like to help them out, but you don't want to get them too drunk so you have to watch. Go easy on the liquor. In that bar there is a lot of heads down bar tending. Filling orders like crazy for like two hours, but as they slow down drinking there is more time to socialize." I once asked John if there were any goals for him in this business, and he mentioned the movie Cocktail. He said that he would like to have a bit more flare while bar tending.
"Its an entertainment business, bar tending. You like to entertain while you do your job. I'd like to be more entertaining, doing my job.".