4 Hotel Bartenders Reveal Their Craziest On-the-Job Stories

4 Hotel Bartenders Reveal Their Craziest On-the-Job Stories

Just... wow.

By Lindsay Tigar

Of all the people you come in contact with while traveling, from the flight attendant to the bellhop, you might not think to show quite enough love to your hotel bartender. After all, they're the ones who pour you a stiff one with a smile to keep you sane when you're waiting for your room after endlessly fatiguing travels. Plus, you never really know what they've been through.

Here, four brave bartenders share the most random, interesting, and unique experiences they’ve had while on the job:

1. The Time Shaquille O’Neal Went Rouge

When celebs start boozing at hotels, they like to let loose and enjoy the fun — just like us. When bartender and beverage director Miri Kolici was working an event the rooftop bar at The Kimberly Hotel in New York City, she witnessed something she’ll never forget: “Guests at the event included Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Greg Anthony. Everyone was having a great time, enjoying the views, the music, the food, beverages and the company when all of sudden I heard everyone clapping. When I looked to see what all the commotion was about, there was Shaquille O’Neal lifting one of our servers completely over his head like it was nothing. It was completely surreal to see… needless to say, everyone had a great time and the event was a success.”

2. That Time Curtis Stone Got the Party Started

In Australia, Derby Day isn’t just a big deal, it’s practically a national holiday. That’s why it didn’t come as a surprise to QT Hotels and Resorts beverage director Jared Thibaut that a little celebrity nudging resulted in orders of bottles after bottles. They had organized a celebration in honor of both Derby Day and the newly opening Melbourne location, complete with a Mumm sabrage. “It was an early event starting at 10 a.m. and the sabrage started off a little quiet. The Mumm rep from France asked me how can we get it to take off. I pointed out Curtis Stone and said, ‘Please offer for him to do the sabrage.’ Not knowing who Curtis was, without hesitation, she went up to him. He gladly participated, and after that everyone followed suit, Mumm bottles were popping all over the roof top for the next hour!”

3. That Time They Had to Replace Tonic With Foam

It’s every bartender’s worst on-the-job nightmare when they don’t have the goods on hand to make guests their beverage of choice. But when you’re out of time and in a bind, what do you do? Fairmont Mayakoba general manager Ana Martinez, not only turned lemons into lemonades... but tonic into foam.

“One day we had an event where we had to make a tonic foam the night before so it had consistency. However, when we went to try the foam the next day this was not what we expected. With just an hour to before the event, we had engineering make a foam that in the end, was not the result we expected but turned out to be the success of the night; we never would have imagined to make the foam recipe the way it was made. However, we ended up putting it in the menu of our bar as it turned out to be the most requested cocktail and it ended up going out in photos and a local magazine!”

4. That Time They Called the Police For Cursing

Bartenders typically have a mostly love relationship with their regulars, but sometimes — not so much. That’s why Kaddy Simmons and the staff at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club in Nevis decided to play a prank, and teach a kind-hearted lesson to two frequent customers. “Repeat guests Ken and Lennie Brown enjoy Nisbet Plantation so much, they have become very familiar with the staff. Lennie is prone to using some rude and offensive language, which is generally frowned upon by Nevisians. As a joke, we decided to set out to prank Lennie. We arranged for two uniformed police officers to come to Nisbet Plantation and arrest Lennie for using bad language. They even took her away in handcuffs! All the guests were in on the prank... and all was revealed in due course.”

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