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The Secret Life of a Bartender

Sasha Korsupsin reveals what it's like to bar tend at Stamford's Fish Restaurant.

F.I.S.H. Restaurant

It's a situation we are all too familiar with: we wait at a crowded bar, staring down the bartender and waiting for the eye contact that says, "I'll be right with you." Perhaps it's your outfit, your hair, or the rowdy partygoers you're standing next to, but the bartender just doesn't look in your direction.

So what is the secret to getting the bartender to notice you? What do bartenders really think about the bodybuilder who orders a Cosmopolitan? And how many relationships have bartenders witnessed bein over tequila shots and an Avicii song?

We spoke with veteran bartender Sasha Korsupsin of downtown Stamford's Fish Restaurant to get the behind-the-scenes scoop.

By the time you get to the bar you may be antsy to get that liquid gold in your hand, but when it comes to getting a bartender’s attention, patience is a virtue. Korsupsin advises anxious bar-goers that if it’s speedy service that they wish for, they must stop leaning on the bar. Instead, make eye contact and flash a smile. Chances are you’re going to go back for round two, so if you want to keep that bartender’s attention, be prepared!

Once you get the bartender's attention, make sure you don't waste their precious time. They have many customers to serve, so they can't spend too much time on each individual. “Know what you and your friends are ordering, please,” advises Korsupsin. “It's the worst when you finally get to a customer who's been waiting and their entire group has no idea what they want to drink.”

Okay, so now you are ready to order. How many of us have felt anxious that we may be judged for our drink order? We've all had those fleeting thoughts, “Will this Cosmopolitan make me look like a sissy?” or, “Will this whiskey straight get me sent straight to AA?”

Sasha doesn’t judge, actually she empathizes with her costumers. “If you are a male and order a Cosmopolitan...hey, whatever floats your boat,” she says. “But when a tiny girl walks into the bar and orders a bourbon on the rocks, you can tell she's got edge — she's tough. Or maybe she's had a really bad day, and that's okay. That's what alcohol is for, right?”

Once the liquor gets flowing, Sasha admits the bar can host many love/hate relationships. While she’s witnessed, “too many,” relationships blossom over tequila shots, she also recounts many MTV style girl fights going down just across the bar.

While one would think a Girls Gone Wild brawl might be grounds for dismissal, Sasha is one bartender who believes in taking the high road.

“Kill them with kindness. You own the bar and your mood sets the tone for the people around you. There's no need to stir any trouble, you were the one serving them alcohol in the first place.”

After a night full of drunken hook ups, catfights, and indecisive costumers, Sasha’s last task is make sure the bar is sparkling clean for round two, tomorrow.

“I have the daunting privilege of cleaning the bar each night. Our manager likes to check our cleanliness by doing a nightly ‘white glove test,’” she says. “Needless to say, he only needs one pair.”

So there you have it, the secret life a bartender. Remember, just because they’re not in an office or working a nine to five, they work hard, too. So add them to your round of shots and let them in on the cheers (although theirs may be water).

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