Girls With Glasses: Eloise Stanton

For many years, drinking was considered a boy’s game. The women of Girls with Glasses break that glass (bottle) ceiling as they man bars around the country. 

Female bartenders are no longer a scarcity, but they still face distinct challenges when working behind the bar. Eloise Stanton is a 21-year-old student at Duke University who has been bartending for about three years. She has worked in various bars, ranging from, in her own terms, “classy bars” to “sports bars.”

What is it like being a female bartender? 

It really depends on what kind of bar you’re working at. At the classier bars, it’s totally fine and fun to interact with clients. However, at sports bars, where I’ve worked at a lot, you get disrespected for sure. People are getting drunker, so it’s rowdier and less pleasant. But it’s still a good time depending on who the company is. 

Have you ever worked alongside a male bartender, and have you noticed any differences between your experience and his?

I have mainly bartended with other women, but last summer I worked with a male bartender in the sports bar setting and the clients all knew him well. I was the new person. The [male] manager and his son were more at ease during work and were able to comfortably run the show. They weren’t getting any disrespect from clients. Most of the clients were locals and they seemed to respect [the manager and his son] more. However, that could have been because they had all known each other for years. 

What challenges have you faced as a female bartender?

Overall, it is difficult when you need cut someone off (denying them further drinks). They may be rude or not listen and it can get uncomfortable when you need to be firm with them. It can get to the point where a client says ‘I’m paying for it, just give me a drink!’ and they get angry. Sometimes a manager will step in to cut off a client. It can become a really aggressive situation. Mostly, I’ve had to cut people off for being way too drunk. Once, a man was too drunk and was being way too forward with me. But that’s only happened once. 

Overall, I have had only about five bad interactions with clients. Most of the time, the worst interactions have been with managers and bosses. I’ve had problems with not being respected by them at all. Because they were higher up, they could reprimand me and blame me for things I didn’t do to keep themselves from looking bad.

It is definitely hard as a female to work in a place like a sports bar. I don’t think I’ll ever work somewhere like that again. I’ll always prefer to take up a job at a nicer restaurant or bar because you definitely get disrespected a lot working at lower-end bars. 

When you say “disrespect,” what are you referring to, specifically?

It can get very annoying when clients get a little drunk and think its fun to flirt or hit on the bartender. After a while, it is irritating to deal with that. Just in general, not necessarily as a female, working in lower-end bars is also tough because the managers can be very unkind. 

What is your favorite part of the job?

Bartending is a lot of fun when there are good people to talk to. I also love making new, special cocktails. I do really enjoy interacting with clients, as long as they weren’t negative interactions like the ones I’ve been talking about. It has been fun and I have made a good amount of money, which is great. 

It has been a great experience in terms of gaining respect for people who work in the industry. I’ll never rush a bartender again!

What is your favorite cocktail?

My favorite cocktail is either a margarita or a kamikaze. I love margaritas because I love tequila. It’s the only non-depressant alcohol and margaritas were the only cocktail that my parents drank when I was growing up, so there’s sentimental value there. I can make a mean margarita and I think they taste super good. I like a kamikaze mostly because it’s practically a margarita, just made with vodka. And I love the name.

Feature photo courtesy Eloise Stanton