The Straight-Up Tales of a Big-City Bartender
By Ty Wenzel
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312311025, 288pp.)
Publication Date: August 2003
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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After reading Behind Bars, a no-holds-barred tell-all in the spirit of Kitchen Confidential, you'll never look at your favorite bartender the same way again.
Ty Wenzel offers a raw and clever account of slinging drinks in New York City on the Bowery before and during its renaissance. Wenzel, now thirty-six, has just thrown in the towel after a decade at the swank Marion's Continental Restaurant and Lounge--a gig that was supposed to be a temporary escape after corporate burnout, but instead, like with most bartenders, took over her life.
Honest, clever, and often scathingly funny, this memoir at once offers outrageous tales, the dirty little secrets of the trade, and inspired commentary on bar culture and the human condition. Wenzel's candid stories of life behind the bar covers everything: sex, money, celebrities, the tricks mixers play on you to get you to stay on that stool, how to jumpstart your own bartender fantasy, that all-important tip . . . and how "pink drinks" like the Cosmopolitan are ruining civilization.
Behind Bars is also a riveting narrative of Wenzel's life outside the bar, which is complicated by her Islamic background, her drive to save enough money and get out of "the life," and the ultimate realization that the grueling lifestyle that is driving her crazy is also something she has grown to love.
Ty Wenzel was the fashion editor for Cosmopolitan and a fashion coordinator for Bloomingdale's before her years as a bartender. She lives in East Hampton, New York, and New York City with her novelist husband, Kurt Wenzel, and their young son.
"Wenzel's pulp-fiction prose can hold its own against Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential....Compulsively readable."
"A superb memoir of urban life...sharp-witted and complex....Behind Bars delivers a subtle and mature personal narrative."
- Minneapolis Star Tribune