Bartender for Hire

Fake it til you make it.

I’ve never experienced domestic abuse firsthand. I’ve been a bystander, unfortunately, as neighbors go at it on the other side of a shared wall, a scene more common than most of us would like to admit. I’ve learned to distinguish between an inanimate object hitting a wall versus a fist hitting a wall versus a body hitting a wall and when it’s time to call the police (which is an acquired skill I could’ve done without acquiring).

In my own homes though–growing up and as an adult (is that what I am now?)–I’ve never seen anything remotely close to resembling violence. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by strong, honorable men. My grandfathers and uncles and dad and brother and boyfriends (all two of them) would never (ever ever ever) lay a hand on me but would seriously (I am not kidding) murder anyone who did.┬áBut I do have friends who’ve been (or currently are) in ugly situations and their hurt is very real and their worlds are very dark.

So when people ask me why I’m raising money for Beards BeCAUSE to end domestic abuse (I prefer “abuse” to “violence” so as to not discount the non-physical damage done verbally and mentally), I suppose the response is twofold:

  1. To support the victims
  2. To celebrate the great men in my own life

So last night I bartended to raise money for Beards BeCAUSE to benefit the United Family Service Shelter for Battered Women here in Charlotte.

Sweet Tater Behind the Bar

When putting this together I decided I’d go big or go home so I reached out to one of the city’s most popular restaurants where you’ll frequently find a two-hour wait on a Tuesday night. For some unknown reason, Cowfish was kind enough to let me behind their beautiful (and rather large) bar to make the fundraiser happen. I think it had something to do with the fact that I neglected to tell them that I had never bartended before. Details, shmetails…


Signs on the bar and everything

We all know I like to drink a little bit lot but I can now confirm that a love for vodka does not a bartender make.

I don’t know if maybe Cowfish had a whole lot of faith in me or if they just couldn’t wait to see me fumble my way around the free pours, but there was no training whatsoever going on. This was a straight up birth by fire, my friends, starting with the complicated fancypants cocktails ordered by… my friends.

Thanks a lot, guys.

I wasn’t really on my own. No one would be foolish enough to give me full reign behind a bar like that. Oh no no no. I had the support of Jen, one hell of a bartender and (I’d argue) the most patient person in the entire world.

Thank god for you, Jen

With Jen’s coaching and a little guesswork, I now know how to do the following:

Make fancypants cocktails

Work that archaic computer system

Serve giant onion rings...

... and salad.

Keep track of tabs

And clean up.

Watch out, Vegas strip. I’m comin for you…

By the end of the night I had:

  • Received one phone number
  • Poured one Jack & orange soda… instead of ginger ale
  • Ripped one wine cork straight in half
  • Shin splints.

Seriously. I feel like my right shin is going to snap in half. Bartending is like an endurance sport. Tip big, y’all. Tip big.

PS – This is what I look like at the precise moment of realization that I have probably ruined an entire bottle of wine:


PPS – I only served one minor and I’d totally do it again. I mean, her ID looked fully legit and a I knew that tequila would pair nicely with her macaroni and cheese… (That didn’t happen.)


All told, it was a wonderful night. An enormous thank you goes out to:

  • Cowfish for the space, the support and the endless patience
  • Katy for my promo pictures
  • Gwen Poth, PR guru extraordinaire
  • Beards BeCAUSE for doing what they do
  • Everyone who came, drank, ate and tipped. I love you.

I was telling my roommate when I got home this morning that everyone who came out last night (with the exception of Brittney) I’ve known for less than six months, which is exactly how long I’ve been living here in Charlotte. And it was this humbling realization that made me feel like I’m really at home here, like this is mine and I built it myself. And that, my friends, is a pretty big damn deal for the girl who a few short months ago couldn’t even get out of bed.


If you’d like to donate to Beards BeCAUSE, I’d love for you to do so on my page here.

Also, don’t forget this Wednesday…

11 thoughts on “Bartender for Hire

  1. Yay! I’m glad it was a great experience for you – and fun too, I bet! I think it’s awesome that you did a full night of bartending to raise money for this cause. AWESOMENESS

  2. Hi Katie,

    I just want to say thank you for all you’re doing to bring awareness to domestic violence, especially as someone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand. The world needs far more people who aren’t victims to take a stand against DV.

    My ex husband was abusive and even though it’s been more than a year and a half since I had the courage to leave, not a day goes by that the experience doesn’t affect me still. Far beyond the physical abuse, the way he tore me down and made me feel inadequate, stupid, ugly. The way he berated me when another man looked at me or the way he made me give him my phone when I came home from work so he could check it. Those scars pervade my life to this day and I wonder if I’ll ever truly overcome them.

    I lost a fellow victim of DV just a couple of weeks ago. We went to a support group together and she suffered horrific abuse. Her husband was a sheriff and even years later she couldn’t hear a siren without having an anxiety attack. a heart attack took her life, but to me she’ll always be a casualty of domestic violence. I’ll always miss her.

    Anyway, I didn’t intend to write a comment-book here. Just wanted to let you know how much it means to me and other survivors that you’re doing your fundraising and awareness for DV. I applaud you for using the voice you’ve built through your blog as a megaphone for an issue that affects 1 in 4 women. 1 in 4 women that all-too-often suffer in silence.

    Much love,

  3. I think it’s awesome that you are putting so much effort into promoting DV awareness and the Beards BeCause program. As a survivor/escapee of an extremely abusive domestic situation as a child, I am often appalled at how lightly people get away with crimes like this–if they are ever reported and apprehended at all. And the stats are awful (–about 75% of people know or have known a DV victim, and I would wager most had no idea and nearly none of them did anything about it. Major props to you.

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