Students. We all love to go out. We all love to party until the small hours, and have the time of our lives. We all like to talk about it incessantly the next day and laugh over the pictures. We cherish the memories of the times we had, the things we did and the places we went.

But what of those whose fate lies on the other side of the coin, without whom you simply wouldn’t be able to get battered? A student bartender sheds light on the experiences of those who facilitate the fun on our nights out, and may even make us appreciate their efforts…

7.00PM

YOU
After the usual fight for the shower (meaning that, at least in someone’s mind, the night was nearly ruined) you are extremely happy to find yourself standing in front of the mirror, hair nearly perfect, with a glass of whatever pre-lash tipple you want helping to get the night started. As your eye roves over the reflection of the now (thanks to those wonderful GHDs) perfected mane and brand-new, pristine outfit, your mind wanders to the carefully chosen meal you had earlier. At 5.30pm, you ensured that you had a balanced meal with some protein, carbohydrates and lots of vegetables, ensuring that you will have the perfect gastronomic setup for the night ahead.

THEY
After the thirty or so boxes delivered this morning have been lugged up to the stock room they are then told to clean the bar from top to bottom and bring down, again, several of the boxes to help stock the bar. Bottles in hand, they have nothing in mind other than ensuring that the bar is perfectly set up, and maintains a balance throughout the night. After a good three hours of labour, they wolf down something which can only be described as convenience food so quick and easy that it sacrifices all nutritional goodness for speed.

8.30PM

YOU
To get the night started in the best way possible, you and your pre-lash buddies decide to throw on some tunes! After deciding on the best speakers (because you all have a set) you are swamped with a deluge of musical choices, before mixing it up with several MP3 players to get the place pumping.

THEY
Already there for what seems like a lifetime, they finally feel like they have a handle on things. The bar is set up and looking good, the tables have all been decorated and adorned with a plethora of treats and throwaway advertising material. They finally get a chance to breathe, and process the structure of the night, when the DJ walks in with eight of his mates he’s convinced he can get in to drink for free! After assuring each of them that this is not in fact that case and risking GBH in the process, they allow the DJ to set up for what’s sure to be a night of ‘tunes’ that will not only have them waking up with a splitting headache in the morning, but are also guaranteed to start repeating themselves within an hour or so. Finally starting to look forward to getting home, rather than worrying about what might happen on the door if people don’t get in, the DJ tells them that actually he doesn’t have an extension lead or several key leads he needs to perform the simplest of tasks. In the race around the building and city to procure these items, any energy the ‘meal’ consumed before has been spent, and then some!

10.30PM

YOU
After sauntering into the bar, resplendent in all your finery, you realise that tonight is an all you can drink night! Taking full advantage of this, you, along with your sure-to-be-impressed friends demand ten of whatever you’re having immediately. Shocked at the impassive bartender who informs you that it is one drink at a time, you determinedly stay by the bar and drink each one individually, before returning triumphant to your friends.

THEY
Finally some enjoyment! Laughing internally at the half cut bunch stumbling through the door, they return triumphant to their co-workers after making one person stand at the bar and drink far more than they should have done to prove a point, which just provides more entertainment when they see them staggering back to their lairy mates in a right state!

12.30PM

YOU
After establishing that in fact you are not drunk, you begin to cast your eye over the various guys and gals assorted in this exclusive shindig. After finding none of the partygoers palatable, your eye settles on the bar staff who though looking as if they’d rather be anywhere else, seem a bit edgy and cool even in the cold light of day they would look like sweaty, angry and tired zombies. You think how great alcohol is whilst you totter over to have a good old-fashioned flirt. You’ve been here for 2 hours after all, how long are you going to stick around?

THEY
Royally annoyed with the state of things, and probably as ripe as month old fruit, the bar itself now looks like the beach scene from Saving Private Ryan. Bodies strewn everywhere, the debris of the night seemingly flung to all corners of the room and the few survivors shuffling around to the beat of the chart hit which is on for the FIFTH time now, they decide to pass the time by seeing if any of these inebriated revellers catches their eye. Nothing appeals, and they decide to pass the time indulging the drunk person at the end of the bar, giving the most sarcastic comments possible every time they try to be ‘flirty’. 8 hours of this shift have passed, with at least 3 more worth of cleaning to do.

2.30AM

YOU
Take-away in one hand, and shoes in another, you clamber into a taxi, slurringly butchering many of the songs that the distinctly mediocre DJ (who you will always maintain was ‘quality’) decided to put on repeat tonight. Full to the brim and maybe slightly more of your chosen tipple for the night, you see that your previously brand-new and perfect outfit is now covered in an assortment of blotches and stains, ranging from the several drinks spilt on you to the newly acquired blob of sauce that has escaped your ill-advised choice of food and is making a bid for freedom down your front, perhaps touching a bit of boob. You get into your house just before 3am, pass out in bed and wake up fitfully throughout the night to stick your head, magnificently maintained hair and all (because even if you don’t last, copious amounts of hair product will!) down the nearest lavatory before waking up the next afternoon feeling like someone has cloven your head open right down the middle!

THEY
When all the ‘fun guys’ have gone home, they clean the bar from top to bottom. After all, it’s business as usual tomorrow. In addition to heaving thirty or so bin bags, filled with an assortment of items and liquids that would turn even the most stubborn stomach, they reflect on just why it is people think they have a glamorous job as they stick arms in the bins, clean out the sink and wipe up all the spillages, broken glass and unidentifiable gunk that the customers so graciously left behind. Finally, an hour and a half after the party-goers are tucked up in bed, or wrapped around a toilet bowl, the mopping is finished and alarm set, the doors locked and all are homeward bound.

What about a penny for their thoughts? How about exploitation for just above minimum wage, or indeed how categorically abysmal and repetitive the music transpired to be. Most pressing though is one question… Any idea if Marios is still open?

Ben Hayes

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