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magicmanci15
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My mom asked if I was interested in going with her to a 2 week bartending school. She doesn't speak english well, so I would go with her to help, while also learning the tricks of the trade. for like $250, you get lifetime bartending job placement, a bartending certificate(?), plus the two weeks of hands on training in real bars and clubs by experienced servers.

So I was thinkin. With bartending under my size 32 belt, I could probably approach many places as a: Bartender that does magic, or a magician that bartends, opening more doors. I know this is not a new aspect of performing magic, but I don't know too much about the bartending magician, so any info or sources on the subject could be nice. It doesn't feel like it would be a longshot at all. And with the right approach I don't see why a club/restaurant/bar wouldnt hire me as the magicians who bartends. What are some of the important differences between tablehopping and behind the bar?

I would probably charge more than tablehopping and perform less, so that me being at whatever place I like would become an event whenever Im there for the patrons. So one night at a restaurant, one night at a bar, and one night every week at a nightclub would be my ideal "work week" Any and every thought on bar magic or anything else is much appretiated.

Ivan
Dannydoyle
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Magic bartending is not as easy as it sounds.

Always keep one thing in mind.

GTFM
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
patrick flanagan
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As a "magic bartender", keep in mind that your MAIN responsibility is to sell drinks. Until you build a reputation, people won't come there to see you. They will come their to drink. Ernie Spence and Heba Haba Al, magic bartenders from the Chicago area in years past, are two guys of which I am talking about. After they developed their reputation, people would go to the bar, mainly, to see them. However, they still never lost sight of the fact that GTFM is rule number one. Everything else is secondary. Get The F****** Money, I believe was Heba Haba Al's motto.
Patrick Flanagan
Jaz
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As a bartender your priority is to serve and do other bartending duties.
You are behind a bar and that's where you can keep several props and ditch things.
Because of damp bars there is a good excuse for using a close up pad.
Sexually explicit tricks are often more acceptable here.

Also, it's likely that you will be getting bartender wages and relying on tips.

The work of Don Alan, Jim Ryan, Heba Haba Al, Matt Schulein, Eddie Fechter, Karl Norman as well as Doc Eason, Scotty York, Bob Sheets, J.C. Wagner, and Tom Mullica are worth looking into.
Vandy Grift
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If you are going to tend bar, and as these guys have said; TENDING BAR in the primary focus, I think the school is a good idea. I know several people that have tended bar, and the ones who attended the classes have all recommended them. One of my buddies who took the class as a kind of lark because he wanted to pick some part time money, now owns a nice little Irish joint here in Milwaukee and does really well with it.

I ran across this Bartending "College" rewiew just last week on a local online magazine.

http://onmilwaukee.com/bars/articles/bartendingcollege.html
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
Stevethomas
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I spent 18 years behind bars...and I mean that in a good way. Get out there and give it a try. I think I'd like it more now that smoking in bars has been banned in my city. Magic behind the bar can be very rewarding, both in picking up extra gigs and in the $$$$$$$$ it brings in. I was clearing upwards of $300/night in tips (besides my $20/hour wage) for a 5-6 hour shift, and the magic would help. If you're truly interested in following this..remember that it's not all "Cocktail" (the movie)...it's a lot of work. Learn to tend bar REALLY well first, THEN bring in the magic. There's a lot to learn from Doc Eason! Go to him, grovel at his feet, learn from him as though he's a Jedi Master.

Steve
magicmanci15
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Im guess Ive got some work to do. Stevethomas, is a 5-6 hour shift behind bars with an hourly rate at lets say $20, what a bartending magician might try to start out at? Also, at what point while serving drinks, and making sure everyone is happy do I actually show magic?

I really like the fact that most of a 6 hour shift will be serving drinks while a less than half of that would be magic. Would the initial management approach differ greatly than in restaurants? doesn't seem like it should, but thanks for all the help everyone.

Ivan
Dannydoyle
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Your hourly rate is about 6 bucks an hour. AVERAGE mind you.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Rimbaud
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Here are three good places to start:

1. The Doc Eason DVD Set
2. Fechter (The Book by Jerry Mentzer)
3. The Magic Of Matt Schulien (The book by Phil Wilmarth.)
http://www.DanLaddthehypnotist.com
"Saying 'Everyone is special' is just another way of saying 'No one is.'" --Dash from The Incredibles
MagicSanta
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The folks above said what needed to be said. I want to add to the list above the rerelease of the Scotty York bar magic videos in individual disk and also a nice three disk set. The Magic Menu has some great info in it as well and you should be able to get copies of the, dang brain...Magic Arts Journal I think it was by Ammar.
JeffMac
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Jc Wagner has some good stuff on his Commercial magic Series. He even throws in a couple pointers about serving and doing tricks.
$6 an hour is your average paid wage (odds are you'll work for less than minimum)
But the tips can be amazing. My bartenders average 35 and hour when tips are included. Mind you they wouldn't have much time for magic. The best time for a magic bartender is early in the night while trying to hold the inital crowd. If you sell it that way you will find tons of bars willing to hire you. The most difficult thing for a bar is the inital crowd in a night.
RicHeka
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I think a better approach would be as a sort of... special guest bartender who is there to primarily entertain the guests..maybe make an occasional drink..but the slinging of drinks is left to the regular bartender/s.

This allow's you to be seen as a unique 'entertainer',and hopefully get compensated accordingly.You better have all your ducks in a row though,as far your Magical entertainment and people skills are concerned.
It is not as if you can excuse yourself..and move onto another table..if the going gets tough.It's almost like being trapped in a steel cage. Smile

Bartending as noted is hard work.[a typical shift is more like 7-9 hrs.]I know..I was one for 10 years.This was good though because it gave me an avenue to hone my magical skills before a live crowd.[when I had the chance]

I highly reccommend Doc Easons DVDs to see how a real pro operates in this environment.

Best.
Rich
ldl1017
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I would lidten to Steve and Danny about the place to start. Like Steve I have spent at least 20 years bartending at various locales. Everything from bowling alleys to sandwich/pizza places to 4 star restaurants and Country Clubs. Learn to bartend for a couple of years first. Get to the point that the bartending is second nature and then work some magic in. I second Danny...GTFM!! It's what Doc lives by and he'll telll you on his DVD's. If you ever have the opportunity to meet or see Doc live/lectuer, jump on it. He's a great guy. I performed with him at the 1st and 2nd Houdini Days here in Wisconsin and consider Doc a freind. Also on the list of material would definitely be Magic Menu and anything by Scotty York. Good luck.
Lou

Posted: Feb 15, 2007 2:31pm
Whooops! My bad. Looks like Magicsanta all ready mentioned Magic Menu and Scotty York. I'll just second his advice. Yes, MAJ was by Ammar. Great stuff!
“I am, as I've said, merely competent. But in an age of incompetence, that makes me extraordinary.”
Billy Joel
MagicSanta
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Rich (Paleo) point about being a 'guest' bartender. I always loved this way of doing business IF you are in the right type of area. You approach it like a restaurant magician would. You are there to perform magic and back up the bartenders rather than being a bartender that does tricks. Just make dang sure that you are not costing the regular tenders their tips, make it so they are making more.
RicHeka
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Correctomundo Santa! In fact that is a good sales point...any tips that come your way will go to the BT's.This also can justify asking fo a decent hourly rate or overall fee.


Rich
magicmanci15
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Thank you all very much.
JeffMac
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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.
Dannydoyle
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Jeff, yep. Simply said yep.

GTFM. Heba, as far as I am concerned not only one of my teachers but one of the best ever always drilled that in our heads. When you are behind the bar the only thing that matters to the manager (whose perspective you gladly have shared with us) is to keep the money flowing. IF that is a trick now and then great, IF not, put them away.

See as a "magic bartender" you have to be able to do things that you can stop immediatly and get a drink. You have to be able to be interupted, as drinks selling keeps the lights on. You have to be very flexable. Few of us are. Doc, Bob Sheets, Scotty York, they all have a different deal than you are speaking of.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
patrick flanagan
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Agreed Danny, Tom Mullica, Doc Eason, Bob Sheets, Scotty York, JC Wagner....they may have pushed drinks at some time in their careers (and maybe still do), but what they have shown in their videos is nothing like what a magic bartender would do in the real world. I love their work, but the performances on their videos is what a "guest" magic bartender would do. They would be stationed at one area of the bar and perform a set for as many patrons as they can get crowded around that spot. It is more like a formal close up show. Real world magic bartenders may have a card picked, mix a few drinks, have the card returned, pour a few beers, reveal the selection, and wash some glasses in the sink. It is very casual, professional, but casual. I remember a two-part sieres that Jaime Ian Swiss wrote in Genii about maybe 10 years ago about the magic bar scene in Chicago. I'll have to look through my copies and get the exact months it appeared in. Great article which gave some background on the magic bar , and the magicians that made it work. It has been many years since I've performed while tending bar. But, it was a lot of fun.
Patrick
JeffMac
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Again you can do full routines while working as a bartender you just need to know the time and the place. I have often worked a slow night and can mix drinks and perform at the same time. If the bar is slow as all bars are at some point you can pretty much get away with anything. It's all knowing when to put the gear away and get to the Full on bartending
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