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The Ladies Disrupting the Bartender Boys’ Club

on 08/09/14 at 11:02 am

Booze News

imagesThey make kickass cocktails, they break up fights, they scoff at the idea of ‘girly’ drinks. These women are busting down the bartenders’ boys club, one mustache at a time.

The speakeasy trend that birthed the craft cocktail renaissance was ushered in, and remains almost wholly represented, by a particular bartender type. You know him: The mustachioed man, whose bowtie and suspenders (the go-to uniform for serious mixologists) signals his authority on how to drink.

There really isn’t a female equivalent.

But while the face of the industry may be covered with a neatly shorn mouth brow from a bygone era, creative and technically skilled women bartenders are gaining acceptance in the craft cocktail world. Still, taking their rightful place behind the bar comes with a unique set of challenges. From confronting an industry with an ingrained prejudice against the fairer sex to making hard choices about relationships and motherhood, these newly visible women are paving the way for lady bartenders to come and carrying on the fight for inclusion in the world’s second-oldest profession.

Barmaid bashing has a decades-long history. In the mid-20th century, male bartenders and the unions that represented them went after the women who they felt threatened them as potential rivals; politicians and moral crusaders, for their part, long preached that women should be prohibited from the vocation both for their own good and for the good of society (though somehow serving booze from trays as cocktail waitresses didn’t add to the moral decay).