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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Bartending, ‘it’s a crazy good time’

Josephine Dunmore
Jordan Francis, a bartender at Fatty’s Pub and Grille, pours a beer. Francis talked about her experience of being a college town bartender. (Josephine Dunmore | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Bartending can be a fun job, but it’s not all suds and smiles.  

Jordan Francis is a bartender at Fatty’s Pub and Grille. Francis began as a waitress but jumped at the change of pace when management asked if she wanted to bartend.  

“Bartending always keeps me busy, which I really love,” Francis said. “If I didn’t have anything to do, I’d be pacing the floor. Plus, you get to talk to a lot of different people.”

Bartenders have been portrayed as impromptu psychologists on television screens for years. Francis said the connotation holds truth. 

“People love to talk to bartenders,” Francis said. “Sometimes it’s an awkward conversation, and I don’t know what to say. It depends on the person. Sometimes, I give my opinion on stuff, and other times, I just smile and nod my head.” 

Not every aspect of the job is filled with light-hearted chatter and liquor chasers. Bartenders are legally required to refuse service to anyone they believe to be overly intoxicated.

If a drunken patron leaves and gets in a DUI accident, the bartender and establishment could face possible liability charges. After two years of bartending, Francis still gets anxious when having to cut patrons off. 

“You never know how people are going to react,” Francis said.“I think I do it in the best way possible, but I’ve had people get aggressive with me, and then I have to kick them out. You have to feel out the situation and hope for the best.” 

Bartenders and food servers are the frontline of the restaurant and are often caught in the crossfire of customer complaints.  

“We’re the middle person,” Francis said. “Your food goes through multiple people before reaching the table, and I can’t control what goes on through that chain. Have a little patience and understanding.” 

Even if the bar is slow, bartenders may not be able to relax. Francis is responsible for making drinks for the entire restaurant and outside area, not just the bar.  

On game days, two bartenders are needed to serve the sea of wall-to-wall Huskie fans flooding into the pub. A mob of thirsty football fans reaching over the bar would scare off some; but to Francis, it’s just another day on the job. 

“It’s hectic, but it’s a crazy good time,” Francis said. 

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