Magazine, Stories

10 Bartending commandments


Biggie’s words ring true whether your hustle is crack cocaine or cocktails. Biggie Smalls was by all reports the last of the true and great gangstas, who turned their ability to wax lyrical into the money making machine that the hip hop music industry has become.

But it was his posthumous album that, amongst the No. 1 hits and hip hop classics, held a track of deeper meaning, where Biggie turned phrase after phrase on the law of slinging rock on the street, all the while dropping words 
to live and die by behind the stick.

Rule nombre uno: never let no one know
How much, dough you hold, cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy ‘specially
Starting with a truth that so many tend to ignore, talking about the take is just a big ol’ no no. Nothing makes me cringe more than hearing some bartender spouting off figures that are no one’s business but the person 
banking them.

Number two: never let ’em know your next move
Don’t you know Bad Boys move in silence or violence
For all the whispers of the next big thing that he said 
and she said how many have you seen actually come 
to fruition? Exactly. Walk a bigger game then you talk!

Number three: never trust no-bo-dy
Ok, so maybe this game isn’t quite as cut throat as 
the streets…

Number four: know you heard this before
Never get high, on your own supply
Ah that cringeworthy moment when you realise your bartender may have indulged a little too much or you wake in the morning to realise you were ‘that guy.’ Will happen to most at some point and if moderation is the key to life, limitation (whatever your house policy deems that to be) 
is by far the key when working the long hours.

Number five: never sell no crack where you rest at
I don’t care if they want a ounce, tell em bounce
Hey, don’t get me wrong every group of bartenders needs a party house, some guys have even turned their house hospitality into a greater ambition but, at some point the bubble will always burst. For the sake of your lease, your housemates and having a place to wash your bar apron, know when enough is enough.

Number six: that god damn credit, dead it
You think a crackhead payin you back, shit forget it
Unless you’re all right with your boss running a tab on your wages and paying you when they can, don’t be doing it with their hooch and your pals, comprehend? If you can’t pay for it, don’t drink it.

Seven: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely separated.
Please, as a man guilty of this on more than one occasion, trust me that no relationship deserves another test! Let alone the hours and inevitable arguments that rocking into work to see the person you woke up next to will produce. And as one of my first managers put it so prophetically…don’t screw the crew.

Number eight: never keep no weight on you
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jobs too
This rule has absolutely no application in this article, except the possibility of a fat joke…but I wouldn’t stoop 
to that level.

Number nine shoulda been number one to me
If you ain’t gettin bags stay the fuck from police (uh-huh)
If niggaz think you snitchin ain’t tryin listen
They be sittin in your kitchen, waitin to start hittin
Respect your managers, get to know your managers but even if you become besties with the managers, never forget, they’re the manager! No matter how drunk you were at 6am when you left the bar looking tits up, once sleep has happened and a new day has dawned around 2pm, all planets are re-aligned and those dirty shot glasses have your name all over them.

Number ten: a strong word called consignment
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you ain’t got the clientele say hell no
When times are good, people drink to celebrate. When times are bad, they’ll drink to forget. When the time 
chimes Friday 9pm and your bar isn’t packed, you’re 
doing it wrong!

In much the same way the rules of the street (I assume) aren’t so clear cut, probably best you consider a few other notions of purpose as you try and make it big in the world; still at least you know the Notorious B.I.G. has been there, done it and rapped on it to help you on your way.

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