Local bartender Jimmy Shay has been a part of the restaurant business for as long as he can remember. At a busy bar like the Lampost in Oak Bluffs, Jimmy has become a pro at knowing the ins and outs of his customers and habits they can acquire. This Week caught up with Jimmy to learn a little bit more about his fun –and at times stressful– job.
This Week: What made you want to pursue a career in the bartending industry?
Jimmy Shay: I live here year round, but I used to bartend in Boston. I have been working in restaurants and bars since I was 14. It was natural progression I guess. When I got a little older, I decided bartending was better money.
TW: How do you like bartending? Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of it once the night hours arrive?
JS: Yeah. You’re either made to work here or you’re not. It’s always been what I know. I worked several jobs in several restaurants until eventually working the bar.
TW: How do you like living on the Vineyard year-round?
JS: I love it here. Even in the winter. Everyone says the winters are terrible, but they’re not. You just have to find hobbies.
TW: What is the most effective (and least annoying) way to grab a bartender’s attention?
JS: If you’re a good bartender, you’ll be able to know who’s been waiting long. The biggest thing we want customers
to do is to have your drink order ready. If you run over to customers and they turn around asking other people what to drink, I usually just walk away because I don’t have time for that when it’s busy
TW: What has been the most annoying way someone has grabbed your attention?
JS: The worst is whistling and throwing cocktail napkins. Fist slams and credit card taps are up there as well.
TW: Any special drinks that are popular amongst customers here?
JS: It seems to be the summer of Long Islands, but Titos is what definitely sells the most. The amount of Titos that we go through is nonsense.
TW: Any advice for aspiring bartenders?
JS: Shake it like your mama gave it to ya! Take that as you will.