Cherry-stained fingers a drawback

AT WORK

December 07, 2005|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST | NANCY JONES-BONBREST,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Chris Berkey

Bartender

Jerry D's Saloon, Parkville

Age --33

Salary --$5.68 an hour plus tips (usually $100 to $150 a night - but less during the day).

How he got started --Started working at Jerry D's steaming crabs when he was a senior in high school. When he was 21, another bartender quit and he filled in. He now works full-time - three nights and one day a week.

Typical day --Berkey works the main, downstairs bar with one or two other bartenders who serve customers both food and drinks. He also typically works on the service side of the bar, which means he is responsible for his own customers as well as making drinks for waiters and waitresses. He also cleans the glasses, stocks the bar at the end of the night and operates the Keno machine for customers. He's on his feet the entire shift.

The good --"It's always fun interacting with the customers. You never sit down so it's kind of demanding, but every day is different from the next."

The bad --"Full moons. It brings out different people." He added that he regularly spills something on his ties and has stained fingers from picking up cherries for the drinks.

On not having a 9-to-5 job --"I enjoy it. I wouldn't be doing it for this long if I didn't. And it's better than a desk job. I couldn't be one of those people that sit behind a desk for eight hours a day doing the same thing over and over."

His response to people who say he doesn't have a "real" job --"I say try it for a night and see how you do. At the end of a busy night you feel it, especially when you have to work the next morning."

Favorite drink to make --French Martini (Chambord, Grand Marnier and a splash of sour mix).

Knowing how to mix a drink --He says he knows most of the concoctions, both old classics and new shooters. But if he gets stuck, there's a book behind the bar with recipes.

Philosophy on the job --"The busier the better."

Extracurriculars --Mountain biking, skiing and soccer.

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