The Bartender: Living a Double Life

Glass_Staches2_POPRecently, a friend and I decided to have a change in pace for the weekend. We headed up to Boston to check out this bar she had been raving about for months now. It was a cold Saturday night, we considered ourselves lucky that the line of around ten people fit indoors. We were greeted and told we would have to wait for 15 to 20 minutes before we were properly allowed in. As we shuffled forward more people joined the line. We were the youngest, but not by far. Most everyone was in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Just as we were being ushered in she said: “This place is full of hipsters. Glorious beards.” I wasn’t surprised.

True to her word, the place was charming and ‘cool’. The bar top consumed most of the floor space as it stretched through the centre of the room. The walls were wood panelled while diffused lights hung around the corners. Water was being poured from nondescript bottles, into tiny two-sip glasses. Scattered here and there were plastic toy soldiers, and other nick knacks to play with, because, why not? But what was really ‘hip’ about this place was their menu or lack thereof.

See, this bar employs and trains bartenders to create drinks based on your preference. So if you’re in the mood for something light, sweet, and refreshing all you have to do is describe this to your bartender. And soon enough you’ll have a drink in front of you that hits the spot (hopefully).

And that’s kind of how the system works. But the whole concept of this bar screams for a certain type of person, from a certain type of socioeconomic background. Because, there is no menu, so it’s assumed that you can afford whatever is made for you. You won’t hear about it because it isn’t advertised (only word of mouth, I asked) so you have to know the right people. And it attracts couples or singles from an age group of 25 to 35.

All in all this bar really reminded me of the contradiction that Lloyd brings up in his book ‘Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City’, on one hand you have a bar that is trying to cater to a specific clientele of people and, on the other hand, you have a large portion of these people that realistically cannot afford to drink there. In fact many of the creative people that this business was attempting to target, possibly ended up working as bartenders at this bar instead of another creative industry.

Lloyd explains that being successful through one’s creativity is very difficult for the majority of creative workers. Typically, most artists instead attempt to find a middle ground where they can express their creativity, in a controlled manner, while still making a living. This is not all bad because, as seen at this bar, the idea of a ‘hipster’ environment sells. People working in the service industry are often encouraged to act in a way that demonstrates the bohemian lifestyle, because this contributes to the ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ factor of an environment. Thus attracting members of wealthier status.

I guess, this bar really exemplified Lloyds point that regardless of the neo-bohemian lifestyle that many people try to live outside of the capitalistic money making scheme. There are still those that end up as workers, conforming to and perpetuating capitalism’s profit making system.

Perry, Forrest. “Why Hipsters Aren’t All That Hip.” Monthly Review. N.p., 01 Sept. 2006. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.

Lloyd, Richard D. Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City. New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.

If you’re interested in knowing more about this place, check out the link:


  1. Field trip?

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