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Inner circle
3999 Posts

Profile of RicHeka
On 2007-02-16 04:28, JeffMac wrote:
Just wrote a massive post and accidently closed the window. So I going to go with points as I'm not going to retype everything
- Guest bartenters don't work they look the same as a regular bartender and customers want a drink from them not a trick.
- There will always be slow periods behind a bar and a talented bartender can make as much on a slow night as a packed night. It is the perfect time to pull out your magic.
- Anything you can do to get a crowd to stick around at the begining of a night is gold to a bar. Use your magic to start a crowd and you will become invaluble.
- Bartending is easy I've trained over a 100. You need to know how to open a beer, pour a draught, make a bar shot(rum and coke), make 10 cocktails that are popular at the bar your working in that order and really that's about it. I could train a monkey to make drinks but I won't just hire anyone off the street it's a pesonality job either you got it or you don't. And if you can entertain people early in the night odds are you got it.
- The #1 key to being a performing bartender and I've done it from flair to magic put out the drinks when they are ordered and don't hold back the pace of the bar.
I don't care how entertaining you are the job is to sell drinks and what you do around that is a bonus and that's all.

Hi Jeff:While I agree with what you have stated,what I was referring to was as Patrick said :A special Guest Bartender who may make the occasional cocktail but is there to entertain.It'as a different thing completely.
Now this may not work in some areas,and the venue has to be right for it...but I know it works because I did it myself several times back in the 1980's.In fact I was asked to do it by a couple of owners who frequented the Pub where I tended bar fulltime.

Also,at that time there were other popular bartenders who were asked to 'guest bartend'... who had no real talent other than a great personality,and who everybody liked.They usually just interacted with the guest's and the regular bartender/s,for a fun evening.

It was all a way to promote the biz.Usually a sign was put in up announcing the guest bartender.

They were fun times.

I bet you if push came to shove,I could go out today and get a gig as a Magical Performer at a club that had the right bar set up.

As it stands I have 5 steady restaurants...and with my private gigs...that's enough! I can be ambitious...but not that ambitious. Smile

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Elite user
San Diego, CA
471 Posts

Profile of montemagic
Simon Lovell is also worth looking into. In his Man of Danger series you see how your personality plays better than your magic, but I don't think he is actually tending bar.
Aim To Amaze
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Inner circle
Northern Nevada
5845 Posts

Profile of MagicSanta
I didn't like the term Guest Bartender when I used it. Hired out as a performer the same as a band is, pick a term you like and use it.

I will stand by the being in the right area aspect. I think to be a successful bar magician you need to be in a place that rotates patrons. Eason worked a major tourist area, Chicago, blessed Chicago, is a convention town w/ tourist as is NYC and Atlanta. Regular patrons kill because they don't want to see the same stuff over and over and that is a big beast to feed. Find the right type of place with the right type of clients and you can work a joint for years. If not then you best be a noman to find different crowds.
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Inner circle
1130 Posts

Profile of PaulGreen

Check out

"This site is dedicated to close-up magic and bar magic. I have been performing close-up magic for over 30 years. Since 1990 I have been performing bar magic. Bar magic, in my opinion, is different from all other forms of magic. All bar magic is close-up magic but not all close-up magic is bar magic. All of the magic that is offered on this site has been repeatedly audience tested."

Frank is one of the very few that has done it! Experience counts.

Enjoy the search.


Paul Green
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58 Posts

Profile of chrisgq
I am also a trained bartender and had the exact same thoughts....I could do magic for customers while I was behind the bar. I guess it could work in a small pub, but I worked in a multi-bar nightclub and came to one conclusion.....there was NO time for me to do any I was way too busy to ever do magic, so take into account the type of bar you are going to work in.
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Veteran user
Sudbury, ont
350 Posts

Profile of JeffMac
That's Kind of what I was thinkin when I was saying a guest Bartender wouldn't work. If you are in a busy bar anyone standing behind that bar is a Bartender and should be getting drinks. If the bar is slow paced enough as a pub then it is easy to throw a second person back there to just do magic. However if it is that slow a accomplished Bartender/Magican could easily pull both off.
John Gerard
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Loyal user
249 Posts

Profile of John Gerard
I work at a small pool-side bar with primarily japanese tourists as patrons. Selling is of primary importance. Tipping is not part of the japanese culture, so I have actually found that magic is the only way for me to get at least $10 in tips by the end of the night. On really slamming nights, sales will be up but tips will be down. I have started adding effects that can play to multiple groups. Magician's insurance policy plays very well when you want to entertain during a brief respite from mixing drinks. My boss has been very supportive of magic, given that most of our money is made from a transient group. Holding the initial group is what will help boost sales for the night, and it is a great compliment when I get repeat business from people only visiting for 3 days total.

It's a hard job, and not for everyone. I work every night for at least 7 hours. My hands take a beating from all the washing I do, and in my case I have to perform up to japanese service standards.
Review King
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Eternal Order
14446 Posts

Profile of Review King
Bar Magic looks glamorous, but behind it is an enourmous amount of hard work. Fran Zak in Las Vegas is a REAL Bartender. He stocks the bar, gets ice, makes drink for patrons and waitresses.

He's a wonderful Magcian and a sweatheart of a guy. But he works hard.

"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
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Eternal Order
20522 Posts

Profile of Dannydoyle
Well I have been relativly quite, because my opinion is that the vast majority of magicians have never seen a real bartending magician. I learned at Schuliens. Even WE didn't tend bar there, which is where many point to the advent of "bar magic". Matt was a bartender so was Charlie, and Heba Haba, the godfather of bar magic didn't even tend bar at Schuliens.

Heba told me once that the problem with being a "magic bartender" is that you have to be great at 2 very difficult skills. Bartending, and ALL THAT GOES WITH IT, and magic. Very few can walk that line. Bob Sheets, Doc Eason, and so forth, but few and far between.

To just learn to bartend in a 2 week course, and then think you can do that AND magic, well is a bit ambitious in my opinion.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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Eternal Order
Northern California
13411 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
The Stevens DVD discusses some of this. Having to stock stuff, go get ice, keep drinks full, get people to buy more drinks, cleaning glasses, kicking pepole out, arguing with drunks, then hope to get in 20 minutes of magic on your shift...

I think people watch the doc eason DVDs and think that all one must do is stand behind the bar and tell Doc's jokes and do some card tricks.

I don't think the bar will hire one extra person just to stand back there doing tricks. Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
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Special user
Ferndown, Dorset, UK
624 Posts

Profile of Clarioneer
Purchased Franks his set of notes On the Boards at $15 dollars mad not to some nice ideas and workers from someone who does this day in day out and tripped over himself trying to help - great guy and was happy to email pdf which meant I got them immediately and at no postage cost - bartending magic - short, punchy and keep it simple...
catch you later

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Veteran user
Sudbury, ont
350 Posts

Profile of JeffMac
I think part of the problem too is that Bartenders arn't what they used to be. It's becoming harder and harder to find a true professional bartender. I've been in the buisness for over 10 years and know maybe a dozen true professionals. Calling the guy at applebees a bartender to me is like calling a fry cook at McDonalds a chef.
Unfortunatly more and more that's what as become then norm. So really you can get by making the odd drink and calling yourself a bartender.
But if you do know what your doing and you dedicate yourself to both skills it can be done and you can make very good money doing it
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Profile of magicmanci15
OK, so Im starting the bartending classes next week. After two weeks of that, Im gonna get a job as a bartender, only. Ill do that, and every once in a while try to slip in some magic, all the while getting better at serving. Ill work as a bartender for 6 months or more, then evaluate myself and decide if I think Im ready to do both. Im looking forward to the journey. I have a lot of books to read, and dvds to watch. Thanks everyone for all the input and kind words.

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Profile of blink_inc
I think that you will do well with it.

Go for it and just pace yourself.

I am a Sankey addict....please, help me!

My name is Will, my company is Blink, an experience in transposition.
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