How to Get Hired Downtown
First of all, forget it. Everybody comes into town as freshman wanting to be a bartender or bouncer, make cool drinks, hit on the opposite sex, make a ton of money, and have fun doing it. They've seen Coyote Ugly or Roadhouse one too many times, and the fact of the matter is, the job really isn't that much fun when you're actually doing it. I'd say only less than 10% of people who apply to work downtown actually get hired. This is seriously a generous estimate. It's probably closer to less than 5%. On top of that, less than half of those actually hired can cut the late hours and work thats required. The shelf life for somebody who actually makes the cut is only about a year anyway, so thats some serious turnover there. Everybody wants to work in a bar, but once they get the job, they realize its not as glamorous as it seems. In fact, it's not glamorous at all. I promise.
You've got a lot of competition to get the job. On the other hand, there's a relative high turnover since mostly students work the bars and eventually, they graduate. So if you keep trying, eventually you might succeed.
The only way to make any real money bartending in Athens is to be a high volume bartender in one of the more crowded, popular bars with customers who actually tip. Good luck getting one of those premium spots. Or, you could work at a slower paced bar, build up a following of regulars who tip the shit out of you. But that's tougher, at least for me in my bartending days.
So, for those of you who are looking for jobs in a downtown Athens bar, there are a few things that I'd like to say about it. My first reaction is to grab you by your throat and scream in your face to not take the job. However, that would be hypocrital of me. I took the job. So I guess you can, too. And thus, here is your guide to getting hired at a bar in downtown Athens, Georgia. These are basic outlines, and nothing will guarantee you a job anywhere. But this'll help ya.
It's not what you know, it's who you know
You could have worked at the most elite big city club and still not get hired in Athens if you don't know anyone. People get jobs downtown because they're cool with the guys in charge. Know somebody. That's the only way.
Experience doesn't mean shit here
In my brief stint in management several years ago, I used to hate when somebody would come in and brag about how many years they've bartended or bounced for, as if I give two shits. I just don't care, and honestly, they've probably developed habits that would contradict the way things are done at THIS bar. It's harder to unlearn things than to learn them, and most places don't mind training you. You're bartending for college kids - they barely know how to order a Cape Cod, much less something more complicated like an Old Fashioned. If you have experience, let someone know, but don't bank on the fact that you bounced in Atlanta for 2 years and think that's all you'll need to waltz right in the door and automatically take over.
I've seen people who otherwise would have been great hires, who lied about their previous employement at other downtown bars, get passed over. Downtown Athens is small, and all the bar employees know one another, and we all talk. So if you fucked over your previous employer and don't want your next potential downtown employer to know about it, then you might be out of luck.
Be friendly, social & interesting
An outgoing personality is essential for working in bar. Or, you could be me and be the exact opposite and somehow still manage to maintain your employement. Who knows why it's worked in my case.
A lot of bar owners and managers look for students who have a lot of friends or are heavily involved in school activities in order to bring all their friends in the bar and make them more money. They look for people to who will "bring people into the bar". This, in my opinion, is total and complete bullshit because people get hired for this specific reason to the detriment of other important traits...like having common sense or being able to fight. It sucks being strangled because the new hire who "brought a lot of people in" isn't holding back the guy he was supposed to be restraining.
Not to the point of annoying the hell out of the manager, but after you apply, make a few appearances in the bar during business hours just to say hello. I would advise against sticking around for too long and getting shitfaced in front of someone you're trying to impress. This cements your face in their mind, and most importantly, shows that you actually come out and have some basic knowledge of downtown. I don't understand those who apply who never ever have been downtown, and even more mysterious to me, those who don't even drink. What the fuck?
Don't be a douchebag
Nobody wants a cocky, arrogant guy who things he's a fucking rockstar working in their bar who's out to fight everybody and thinks he's the shit. You're applying for a job in downtown Athens, Georgia...not New York City. You're not that great.
And thus, the guide for destroying your life by working long hours for low pay and dealing with drunk jackoffs on a minute-by-minute basis. Go forth with your newfound knowledge and get hired before the fall, when all the freshman fuck offs come out to try and get a job "downtown"!