Where to Drink 2015 – Bartender Trysts –


Illustration by Jean Jullien  

“I had been working at this place for two weeks, and it was the restaurant’s Christmas party. At the end of the night, we all leave to go to some random club in the West Village, and I end up not getting in because I was 20 at the time. But my friend, the bartender, was like, ‘The assistant manager was totally hitting on you, you should go back.’ The manager was maybe five years older than me, and I was really attracted to him, so I went back to the party, and he was like, ‘Come to my place,’ so of course I end up sleeping with him. We tried for a week to hang out again. When we did, we were getting high, and he said, ‘I feel really bad about this, we shouldn’t be doing this. Someone could get fired.’ Seven months after this, the same guy started dating a newly hired hostess. One night I was closing the restaurant and I had to go find him. I went downstairs to the office, and the hostess was just sitting in the office chair, naked. She says his name, like, ‘Oh, is that you?’ I was like, ‘No it’s me, and you’re naked.’ And now they’re engaged.”

—Audrey, 22, Italian bar in the West Village

Illustration by Jean Jullien  

“This place is really shadowy and has a lot of hidden rooms. I’d go get coffee from the storage room just so I could run into Nathan. And Van worked in the sound booth, so I would go in there and say, ‘A guest wants you to turn the music down,’ and that was always bullshit. I’d make Van paper airplanes out of the menus, with love notes written on them. I met Van on the first day, so he came over and we had sex. Then I met Nathan and started sleeping with him. I kept sleeping with Van, but Nathan didn’t know, and Van didn’t know I was sleeping with Nathan. Then I broke it off with Van and started dating Rodrigo, the drummer in the house band. I was always hiding shit.”

—Sherilyn, 23, cocktail bar in Chelsea

Illustration by Jean Jullien  

“I’ve been bartending for ten years, and this was the most incestuous bar I’ve ever worked in. I think I slept with all of the guys, and some of the girls. There was this table called the round table, and we would sit at it, drinking and doing lines of cocaine. One day it was me, Amy, Jonathan, and Ivan. We got to work at 3:30 p.m., and by 7 p.m. we were totally drunk. I remember forgetting there were patrons in the restaurant. Someone must have been like, ‘Let’s go to the walk-in,’ so Amy and Ivan and I left Jonathan upstairs, and we went downstairs
to the walk-in fridge to fool around. No clothes came off, but there were hands in pants. Eventually we realized we had customers, so we went back upstairs to Jonathan, who was very upset we had not included him. But we couldn’t really leave the floor completely empty.”

—Nadine, 26, now-closed bar on the Upper West Side

Illustration by Jean Jullien  

“One night I was getting drinks after work with a server where I work and a lady who used to work there. We ended up at one of the ladies’ houses, drinking, doing drugs, and eating turkey sandwiches from a deli. At 6 a.m., I can see the sun coming up, and one of the ladies suggested we all just go lay down and go to sleep. And I just thought rationally, Yeah, that makes sense. We were all half-clothed, and I was just lying there, on one side of the bed, not even anticipating having sex with either of them, much less both of them. Then, at the same time, both of them just started rubbing my leg or arm. And I just realized, Whoa. This is probably going to happen. Since then, the server and I have been writing each other notes on the backs of coasters and handing them to each other in the middle of service. ‘You look very handsome today’ is one she wrote me recently. But they range to ‘I bet my dress would look much better with your cum all over it.’ They really run the gamut. There’s been a few times where the coasters have gotten out of our hands and back into the rotation of coasters. So there are some rogue coasters with dirty notes on them.”

—Nate, 27, Williamsburg cocktail bar

*All names have been changed to protect the innocent and debaucherous.

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