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Behind The Bar: 1020 Talks Back

The unofficial drink of 1020

It’s famously hard to get details about the inner workings of Bwog’s favorite bar, 1020. So we jumped at the chance to ask our nosiest questions to an employee who has spent two years behind 1020’s bar. Here’s what our source had to say… 

Bwog: What’s the hands-down craziest thing you’ve seen happen?

1020 Bartender: A girl once wrote a large number of profanities on a guys beige jacket—which was hanging on the back of his chair—since he didn’t offer her his seat. She wrote it in red lipstick. I thought that was pretty crazy.

Bwog: Anything crazy ever happened at closing time?

1020 Bartender: Last year a guy walked in about 20 minutes before closing and declared it was his birthday. I told him I had already done last call, but he said he wanted to buy everyone at the bar a shot to celebrate with him, so obviously I let him. I told him I could give everyone a Sambuca shot and light it on fire, which he thought was the coolest thing. And, to get an even bigger tip (this was the whole idea…), I told him I could light his on fire in his mouth as long as he was careful and didn’t let sambuca drip onto his chin or cheek.

He didn’t succeed—a small part of his cheek lit on fire and I slapped him to put it out. I didn’t get a very good tip.

Bwog: How many shots is the most you’ve seen someone do in one sitting? What were the shots of?

1020 Bartender: Another bartender once served 150 shots of 1800 Tequila to a group of around 5 people.

Bwog: What are the habits of a good 1020 customer, as far as you’re concerned?

1020 Bartender: I’ll answer this question in advice form:

Tip high on the first drink, but don’t try to talk too much. The bartender will probably engage you in conversation when you come back to order thinking that you will continue to tip generously. (After all, we are there to make money.) Don’t use a credit card if you’re not buying over $20 worth of drinks, and don’t crumple money or leave it in a pile of beer. Take a shot if offered one, and don’t ever complain if it’s Jameson.

Jameson is the unofficial drink of 1020.

Bwog: Do a lot of guys hit on you?

1020 Bartender: Ehhh, its not what people normally think of. I don’t normally get comments that refer to anything specifically. It’s mostly just that guys want you to like them, think they’re cool, and consequently make them feel cool. So they act “cool,” whatever their interpretation of that word may be.

Bwog: What’s the most popular cocktail order? Most popular beer choice?

1020 Bartender: Beer is definitely Yuengling, although I still have no idea what the correct pronunciation is.

Cocktails are harder. We serve a lot of whiskey, I would say, more than any other alcohol. So whiskey-Ginger Ale, Jack and Coke, Jameson neat/on the rocks.

We are currently working on making a sign that says the following: NO REDBULL, NO PINNEAPPLE JUICE, NO MOJITOS, AND NO JAEGER. People always ask for Mojitos and I never understand why.

Bwog: What’s the most absurd thing you’ve seen a patron wear?

1020 Bartender: Gigantic Heels and a sequined mini-dress. I mean, for 1020, it’s absurd….

Bwog: Which night do you get the best tips? What’s the most you’ve received from one shift?

1020 Bartender: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are all pretty much the same during the school year. I liked working Fridays best since it broke up the Columbia “Long Weekend.” And tips are a 1020 bartender secret… Let’s just say we make enough so that we are happy to only work one shift a week.

Bwog: Are the taps ever cleaned?

1020 Bartender: We got an A from the Health Department so I’m assuming they must be…?

Bwog: Have you ever seen any fights?

1020 Bartender: Yeah, but they are extremely underwhelming, and are usually instigated by someone invading someone else’s bar space while trying to order a drink. I always hoped to see two groups having it out over a free booth, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Bwog: Were your friends just awful about always looking for free drinks?

1020 Bartender: They were, but now they’re better. I explained (yelled a little) and now people understand that crazily enough, 1020 DOES keep inventory and knows how many free drinks are served. However, I’ve successfully had quite a few free brunches by calling friends the morning after my shift.

Bwog: What is the most expensive drink someone could order at 1020? Has anyone ever ordered it from you?

1020 Bartender: I guess you could order a double Hennessey. That would be $20. And it’s definitely happened.

Bwog: Do you have a favorite movie to see playing on the screens while you’re working? What is it?

1020 Bartender: Air Force One. It’s always on for some reason…

Bwog: Have you ever tried 1020’s “5-Alarm Chili”? Where is it cooked? What does it taste like?

1020 Bartender: I have never tried and will probably never try that Chili. It’s cooked by one of our bosses, at his apartment near 1020. I don’t know anyone who has tried it. Perhaps because Chili is a sloppy thing to snack on behind the bar…?

Bwog: Best part of the experience? Worst part?

1020 Bartender: The best part and worst part of the job are actually one in the same. It’s very entertaining to be sober (or more sober) in an environment where all of your friends are getting drunk. You’re having fun and getting paid and you get an outside look at how you probably interact when you are a customer at 1020 or at any other bar. However, this is both very entertaining and sometimes very disturbing.

I once watched a group of friends play “never have I ever” and vowed never ever to play that game.

Bwog: Was 1020 your first choice of places to work?

1020 Bartender: Yes; I figured, I’m here all the time anyways. Might as well get paid for it.

Bwog: Which bar do you go to when you’re looking to cut loose?

1020 Bartender: I drink for free at 1020, so…

[This interview was edited for clarity.]

What to expect a free shot of via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Phonetician says:

    @Phonetician The “ue” in Yuengling is actually an Anglicized ü, which you pronounce by making a U sound while putting your lips in the form to make an E sound.

    But everyone usually just pronounces it like “yingling”

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Thanks for that. This has been driving me mad lately. Even Yüngling just seemed… wrong. The original German form is Jüngling, which makes much more sense.

    2. Guy from Pennsylvania: says:

      @Guy from Pennsylvania: We say “YING-ling” when asked. But, it’s only ever called “lager” in the Keystone State.

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous “How do you pronounce Yuengling?
      {Ying-ling} Yuengling is German for ‘Young Man’.”

      That’s straight from Yuengling’s FAQ section of their website

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous i once deposited a shart upon the face of the bouncer who looks like a neanderthal. titus romulus i believe his name was.

  • GSclassofwhenever says:

    @GSclassofwhenever Only bar I’ve ever tipped $2o.

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