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"A superb memoir of urban life...sharp-witted and complex....Behind Bars delivers a subtle and mature personal narrative."
- Minneapolis Star Tribune
|Shaken but Not Stirred||1|
|Sex with a Twist||17|
|The Rules: How to Date the Bartender||61|
|To Tip or Die in Manhattan||73|
|Pink Drinks and the Downfall of Culture||99|
|At the Kahiki Lounge||151|
|There's a Fly in My Martini||175|
|Still Want to Mix?||223|
Posted October 15, 2009
I am becoming a bartender and I read the book to give me insight to the world of the bartender. This book gave me exactly what I was looking for. It told me about the job, the customers, the owners, working with other bartenders and everything in between those subjects. There were points when I burst out laughing as I was reading the book. It was interesting and enjoyable.
Ty is raw, honest and straight to the point. She expertly articulated why I am attracted to bartending, the freedom and the money. She also zeroed in on why I do not want to make bartending a career.
Most importantly for me, she simplified the task of knowing which drinks are the important drinks to know starting out as a bartender.
Ty, if you ever read this review, thanks for a wonderful insight to the world of bartending and please know what a coincidence, I finished reading the book on October 15th, which has significance for you.
Thanks, B. C.
Posted April 15, 2004
Uhg! After reading this predictable,boring, unpleasant 'memoir' I swore off alcohol forever. My only regret is that I was sober when I read this wretched mess.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2004
Ty Wenzel is the kinda gal I would have fallen in love with. A sassy, sexy barmaid with a hundred stories to tell. I wish I had been one of her patrons back when she was still slinging drinks in NYC. Nevertheless, I felt like I was sitting at her bar while reading this, her voice so distinct and overflowing with brutal honesty, yet flirting with me for my tip. She knows how to balance the two, a personal conundrum to say the very least. The answer to a chick with Bourdain's cigarette smoking sex appeal. Loved it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 19, 2003
I had come across this book after reading about it online. As a bartender myself, I had to pick it up since I had never read or even heard of a bartender having written a memoir. It was fantastic! Wenzel put into her viciously hilarious prose everything I've always wanted to say to my own customers - including that I sometimes love them though most of the time I want to... you know. Nearly every one of my bartender friends have read it and loved it. Some waiters too. This would make a fantastic christmas present for people in the service industry, or anyone working for a tip. Not to be considered fluff, Wenzel does also offer insight into her Islamic background and family which was a nice balance to her broad but succinct observations of people who came to her for solace and booze. Definite BUY - it's worth every penny.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2003
A friend of mine gave me this book when I got laid off from my corporate job and was considering becoming a bartender to make ends meet. I was so glad! Not only does Wenzel give you great insight on what to do to become a bartender, but recipes and what types of places are best to work at. All of this interspersed throughout a very well told story of the highs and lows of slinging drinks (on the Bowery, no less!). There are the usual suspects (drunks, vagabonds, prostitutes, 'suits', college kids, etc.) but her author husband, Kurt, makes a few cameos along with her Islamic upbringing. There is a fun insider glossary in the back plus funny and famous liquor quotes that begin each chapter. Though Wenzel's take on the biz isn't as glamorous as it seems to an outsider, it's realistic in all its debaucherous and sometimes melancholy take. It would also be a great XMas present for people in the service industry. Very great read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2003
Gimlet-eyed memoirs of the author¿s decade-long stint as barmaid at Marion¿s Continental Restaurant and Lounge, a logy fantasia of a Rat Pack-flavored supper club in Manhattan¿s East Village. Wenzel, a soft-spoken beauty of Turkish descent who transformed herself several nights a week into the kind of hard-boiled, but heart-of-gold cocktail server you might catch on the Late, Late Show, guides you through the sometimes rough-and-tumble vicissitudes of the mixology trade. Filled with dishy behind-the-scenes anecdotes of bar and restaurant life¿sexy trysts among (and between) waitstaff and diners; surly and outrageous customer behavior; the occasional celebrity guest appearance¿anyone who¿s done time in the service industry will chortle with recognition. Bonus: there¿s great cocktail recipes used as chapter headers! Behind Bars is more than just a boozy memoir, however: we also get a very specific history of a restaurant as microcosm of how lives and neighborhoods change, sometimes slowly, sometimes overnight, sometimes as an improvement, and oft-times depending upon one¿s taste and perspective, tragically for the worse. Read this book on a barstool at your favorite watering hole as you nurse that second round. While the rest of the world fades into oblivion, you might just get a clearer picture of these cozy surroundings and the person in front of you pouring the sauce.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 2, 2003
Behind Bars is smart, funny and full of gossip you can't get anywhere besides your favorite bar. It's also surprisingly human, like the best Woody Allen movies, or episodes of Seinfeld and Sex and the City. All that, plus recipes on every chapter.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 23, 2003
If I wasn't so hungover every morning and had any writting talent I would've loved to write a book like 'Behind Bars,' just to educate and entertain the drinking masses out there! I laughed my head off recognizing many on my customers in the description of the author's customers. I guess people are just the same every where! This book is the self help book for the service industry in the sense of knowing we're not alone, we all suffer the same, although I guess it would be easier to suffer if I were living in New York city instead of in the middle of nowhere. I hope she sells many many books so she doesn't have to go back to bartending! Plus the more people that read this book the more understaning they'll be of their bartenders, waiters etc. She totally gets it right! This book is like a window into a different world that most people don't think about.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 14, 2003
This book was a blast. I felt like I was sitting at that bar Wenzel worked at for ten years. I loved the recipes, the quotes the funny glossary. She gets a little cranky about tipping but so does my own bartenders so it's pretty accurate in that most barteenders feel that way. Fast read, great gift for any waiter or bartender and lots of tips on how to get great service and a date with your favorite bartender.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2003
I just finished reading Wenzel's Behind Bars and found myself laughing out loud several times. I was a bartender when I was in college and could relate to nearly everything she said about her customers and co-workers. No one on the other side of the bar can ever imagine what it's like to deal with people who are inebriated and Wenzel tells it like it is. It's not for the lighthearted, but if you can take the heat, this is a very fun and exciting insider book for anyone who has ever wondered what it must be like. The 'life' isn't what the layman would ever have imagined and it's not as glamorous as it seems. The book is segmented into several sections and I found the glossary hilarious and the drink recipes useful (I always wanted to know how to make a killer Cosmo). Her own story of being a Muslim from Jersey was an interesting and nice balance to the glam New York bar scene. People who don't tip well may find themselves angry by her honesty, but hey, that's what this memoir is about: telling the reader what bartenders are thinking when they serve the public.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2003
What 'Killer Klowns From Outer Space' is to cinema Ms. Wenzel's 'memoir' is to literature..her jaundiced view inspires me to drink in the safety of my own home!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2003
I'll admit that I'm a bartender (L.A.) and I was thrilled to be given a galley of this book by a friend in publishing who thought I might enjoy Behind Bars. It's about time a fellow female bartender let's it all spill forth, so to speak, about the dark, sometimes scary sometimes uplifting world of bartenders. She tells readers what I've always wanted to tell my own customers but couldn't. People who've never worked behind a bar or in a restaurant might find this a little unsettling, but it is afterall, a true account of what it's like to be behind a bar, for better or worse. I loved the 'pet peeves' that are interspersed throughout the book, the hilarious insider glossary and the recommended bars which I plan to visit on my next trip to New York. I laughed out loud a few times. I also consider it a great summer read because it's fast, fun and ultimately, Delicious. Drink up! CynthiaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.