If the Shoe Fits...
These days as a bar trainer, I do not get that much time to spend behind the stick, as I would ideally like to. And because I do not want to form part of the "those who can't do, teach" brigade, I find myself accepting more and more 'guest' shifts to get a feel for the South African and International bar pulse. Fellow bartenders smell corporate on trainers, almost like dogs smell fear, and they become immediately despondent with desk jockey bartenders! Apart from the odd hour or two spent once or twice a week behind some locals in Johannesburg, I try and stay abreast with current trends through researching, reading, and through witty bartender repartee. But there simply is no substitute for saddle time! So, when met with the opportunity to work the brass, I pretty much always accept the welcoming challenge!
And here I am: Mauritius. A weekend spent with a team of talented South African bartenders, concocting some cooling creations for some, let's call them high profile clients. While I am no old bullet, I must say, I take my hat off to the 6 shift a week bartenders – guys and girls like Monica Berg, Mihai Fetcu and Yani Frye. I am no longer match fit! 40 hours in 3 days is no joke! Earlier this year, Phillip Duff painted what seemed to be at the time a pretty grim picture of my future: "You are no longer a bartender. You are a trainer. Make peace with that!" Although I agree with most of Mr Duff's views, I have to amicably disagree with this particular one. To me, there cannot and should not, be a chasm between one and the other. No one hires the fat personal trainer...
This aside, during my stay here in Mauritius, I have, once again, been rudely reminded of the importance of proper bar footwear! Last night my fellow bar jockey had, what I could only describe as, kankles – pregnant woman swollen ankles! Poor fella! During the course of the week, I saw a post by bartender and trainer, Keegan Smith, from the Bar Smith promote bar Crocs that are available at Core Catering nationwide. While I have not tried these – perhaps a great sponsorship idea for potential suitors – and after reading this post, I realised how much money I spend on poor quality bar shoes that simply last me a month! Thus, I decided to find the perfect bar shoe! And eureka! I think I may have found it!
Budget is obviously a big issue and so is durability! I recently read an article on dappered.com entitled 'The Bartender Shoe Search'. The author suggested 3 great options – very slick, very effective, but all in dollars and all outside of our financial means! Also, they reminded me a little too much of my dad's Sunday church shoes! In my opinion, Superga has unknowingly designed the perfect BAR SHOE! You see, as bartenders, we need a shoe that says I am a trend setter, but work in the trenches. Lucky for me, my name is not Tom Walker and I do not have to work the Savoy whilst wearing a suite!
My new Superga mid-tops are smart casual with black sealed leather and a rubber sole, making them just about water proof. And trust me when I say I put them to the test! Being a mid-top, it has great ankle support and this further helps keeping your socks dry when Bennie the bar back drops a troff of bar wash on your newly purchased trotters. Easy to dress up for that 'I mean business' look and/or dress down when you are working the beach bar in shorts and shades. At R695 and available at Edgars, they are a must have!
Your opinion? Tweet me at @MeMyDrinksAndI and #travellingbartender when you do!
Next week I am in Ghana. Until then. Keep mixing.
The Travelling Bartender (Denzel Heath)