Sat | Jan 23, 2021

More than booze and backsides - Bartenders: Men prefer bar stool to shrink’s couch

Published:Tuesday | January 14, 2020 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
A bartender pours a drink for a customer at Infront Di Bar in Stony Hill, St Andrew, on July 6, 2018. Bartenders play an important role in counselling distressed patrons.

Over at Cottage Park in Gregory Park, St Catherine, many men opt to unpack their psychological baggage to the only person they trust: the bartender.

That was the case of Jamaica Defence Force Corporal Doran McKenzie, who emptied his soul to a bartender hours before chopping and shooting his partner, Suianne Easy, to death on Sunday morning.

Accounts given to The Gleaner paint a picture of a man who bared his emotions at his favourite watering hole, even revealing that he had planned to kill his 34-year-old partner.

But beyond that morbid end, bar owners and operators say that the pub is an important buffer protecting many men from going over the edge.

Taverns prove to be a refuge for customers beyond the lure of liquor and the voluptuous backsides of bartenders.

That’s the opinion of Robertha Guscott, one of many bar operators navigating a saturated market.

Guscott, who is affectionately called ‘Shelly Wet Wet’ by her customers, has been in bartending for more than a decade and said that she plays many roles, including that of part-time therapist.

“Nuff man put them problem to me weh them have a them yard. I’m a counsellor as well, ‘cause a nuff man me haffi siddung wid and listen them problem and give them my advice,” she told The Gleaner.

“A nuff man when me a talk to them, them a say then, ‘How my woman can’t understand like how me a show you and you understand me, Shelly? How my woman can’t understand me?” she added.


A male customer who was sitting at the bar when a Gleaner news team visited confirmed that account, saying that the bar is often the only place they can go to ventilate their problems.

“That’s where they find someone to console them. You will see a man order a drink and you just see him space out and just a wait for the bartender to say something. Trust me on that. Just having somebody listen helps,” said the customer.

Guscott, who operates as both manager and bartender, insists that she does not sell liquor to minors or to patrons already intoxicated.

“That is not me. If somebody come in here drunk, me not selling them once me realise that they are drunk,” she said.

Wayne Thompson has being operating Wayne Sports Bar on Sutton Street in downtown Kingston for 19 years, a job he is passionate about.

Thompson said that his customer demographic varies, but revealed that his bar provides a place where persons can de-stress. He, too, plays the role of counsellor when called on.

“That is what bar is all about. A man come a the bar and get himself relax. If the bar have some entertainment, them enjoy it. It is a stressful time, so you will find a lot customers, even when a time fi the bar close, you will still see them sit down and the bartender gwaan entertain them. We don’t judge them, we listen to them.

“The bar is good for stressful people who come along. You have all type a people come to the bar and have a drink, it all boil down to how you run you bar,” he told The Gleaner.

Even though each customer should be responsible for their drinking habits and capacity, Thompson said that he never tries to exploit them.

“I normally talk to my bartender and say, ‘When you see a man reach him limit, you stop serve him. You don’t continue serving, because it can be hurtful to him,” he said.