Hey Bartender(2012): Movie Review

I watched a documentary for a second time last night.

Becoming a bartender, I thought at first it was just you remember recipes, flip some bottles, and make as must as money as possible.

Not really. It’s so much more, and this movie shows that.


Hey Bartender was released in 2012, but I first watched it on HBO. It explained my feelings exactly.

Though I went into bartending school, to learn a new skill, I also went in thinking ‘I could work this position in my restaurant while I’m working on getting over that three year curse’. As you watch the movie, they interview tons of bartenders, owners, critics, and the grand-daddy to mixology of them all, Dale Degroff.

What I love about the documentary is the showing of different types of people, who’ve studied all kinds of work, and majored in just about anything, who graduated, and became bartenders. They all have the dream of owning their bar, and starting in the low end of working and graduating to to the taste of cocktail festival.

You learn that bartending is an art form of creativity, science, and presentation. It takes concentration and lots of studying on your own time. It never stops, and as one of the bartenders say in the movie ‘it’s not like riding a bike, it’s something you constantly have to work on’.

One of the main bartenders they follow, an injured Marine, started bartending in the service. Once he got injured, at a bar, he rehabed, and recovered to start a quest of bartending, and making that a career. Another bartender graduated college, had a really decent job, but walked away to buy a corner pub and run the bar as his own. Also shows what it takes for both to achieve success. It’s not an easy task, but they both are passionate about it.

While featuring these two young men, it shows different bars that have their own flair to attract people into the establishment. The cocktail comeback is a great story, and some of the drinks that our made on screen were just so pretty.

I recommend watching the movie, because it covers a lot that goes with the title. It’s not the stereotype of a dirty looking older guy serving beer. It’s more than that. Setting yourself apart from everyone else, and I think when your a creative person(like myself), it’s like a moth to a flame.

I give this movie 10 rob roys out of 10. Getting into the history, science, business, and art of running a bar is fascinating stuff. It’s also hilarious in a way to see these highly educated people run this business instead of taking on while collar jobs that they went to school for. It educates you on the real side of it all, and let’s you into two mens’ lives as they strive for their version of greatness.

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