Culture

Five Quirky Bars Talk Bartender Style

A woman in a tiki outfit behind a bar.
At The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas, each bartender wears an exotic and over-the-top custom costume, which she or he accessorizes individually.

There’s a tricky balance in creating cohesion among bar staff, giving bartenders free reign over their working wardrobe, and making sure everyone’s style choices align with the bar’s overall vibe. Naturally, every bar varies in their approach to bartender style. For example, some implement a uniform or strict dress code, while others are more relaxed in their requirements. The batch of bars we’re highlighting today are a little unusual, as their bars have specific themes and eclectic histories that lend themselves to funkier apparel.

The Golden Tiki

Tiki bars have a reputation for going above and beyond, so you can only imagine just how far The Golden Tiki — a Las Vegas tiki bar — was willing to go. Located in the Chinatown district of the city of sin, this high-energy, sensory-laden, mid-century-era tiki bar has thrown plenty of time, money and energy into perfecting every detail.

“It’s Vegas, so The Golden Tiki is over-the-top in a good way,” says Branden Powers, managing partner. “We are your dirty uncle's homemade backyard Disneyland for adults. Every inch is covered with amazing rarities from Hunter S. Thompson's dagger, Evel Knievel's Hawaiian shirt, real mermaids and giant tiki artifacts.”

As you can see from the imagery, outfits worn by The Golden Tiki bartenders fit right in with the theme. Each wears a custom-made, exotic tiki uniform that’s then further accessorized by each person.

A man in suspenders pouring something into a shot glass. At The Depot, bartenders contribute to the bar's neo-Victorian trai (Photo: Philip Darden)

The Depot

When your bar is situated in a neo-Victorian train station — which is the case for Auburn, Alabama’s The Depot — you’d be remiss to not play into the drama of it all. As such, The Depot felt it was important to honor the building’s historic significance, and to allow guests to briefly step back in time. They did so via décor, classic cocktails and, of course, bartender uniforms.

“The style of the depot is classic Southern hospitality and charm with a modern twist,” explains Caleb Reeves, beverage director. He explains that the bartenders wear black suspenders, slacks and white button downs, a classic uniform that allows patrons to easily “envision a hard-working bar keep from the 1920s” as they sit down to have a drink.

Several men in different shirts behind a bar. Bartenders at The Clumsies maintain the bar's aesthetic by being casual and breezy. And the variation between bartenders mirrors the different decor in each of the bar's rooms. (Photo: The Clumsies)

The Clumsies

The Clumsies bar is located in a historic, 100-year-old building in Athens, Greece that’s served a multitude of purposes. Over the last century, it’s housed a printing shop, school, family home, a traditional Greek restaurant, and is now a bar. To state the obvious: it has an incredibly storied and eclectic past, which becomes apparent once you step inside.

Part-Owner Vasilis Kyritsis explains that everything — from the bar’s menu to décor to staff style — plays into the historic and quirky vibe of the building. At the same time, they incorporate traditional Greek elements throughout, and make sure to feature each of the four owners’ personal style.

The bartenders’ style maintains a very distinct sense of “cool and casual,” that blends seamlessly into the bar’s décor scheme. Think comfortable, breezy shirts that are either solid colors or cool patterns. That each bartender is wearing something different also ties into the varying themed rooms featured throughout The Clumsies.

A woman looking in a mirror while behind the bar. At Le Boudoir, the attire for bartenders (including beverage director Ms. Franky, pictured) is as sassy as the bar name suggests. (Photo: Rose Callahan.)

Le Boudoir

With a bar name like “Le Boudoir,” you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the staff, and the bar itself, really amps up the va-va-voom factor.

“The room is sexy, opulent and ornate. It definitely feels like a special place, so it only makes sense to have the staff look like they fit the mood,” explains Ms. Franky, beverage director of the Brooklyn-based bar. “We like everyone to match the room in some way. Not literally, but in spirit and style.”

Male bartenders are asked to wear a black vest and black pants with a shirt and tie that speaks to their own personal style and color preferences. The women wear a dress of their choice. Boudoir-inspired jewelry (such as choker necklaces and opulent jewels) are highly encouraged, but also a matter of the bartender’s personal taste.

A man with a swirled mustache. At CRAFTED, bartenders demonstrate their personal style with extravagant facial hair. (Photo: CRAFTED)

CRAFTED at Nose Dive

CRAFTED bar is nestled within The Nosedive, a gastropub in Greenville, South Carolina. The bar itself happens to sit centerstage, so CRAFTED has the unique task of blending cohesively into the restaurant while still standing out as a separate entity. To blend with the restaurant, they incorporate similar architectural and organic décor details. To stand out, they default to bartender style.

“We encourage the bar team at CRAFTED to wear an interesting collared shirt, but their real personality comes unleashed with their facial hair,” explains Anjoleena Griffin-Holst, beverage director. “They have fun with it, going from full beard or mutton chops to a well-styled mustache. If they are having fun, you can bet our guests are as well.”

To further create cohesion among bartenders, Griffin-Holst says that each bartender wears a hand-crafted apron made from light houndstooth denim that’s finished with leather straps that tie in with the bar’s overhead crisscross steel beams. These custom-made aprons were designed by Billiam Jeans, a local designer.

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