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Behind Bars: The Straight-Up Tales of a Big-City Bartender Paperback – November 11, 2004


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Behind Bars: The Straight-Up Tales of a Big-City Bartender + Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip--Confessions of a Cynical Waiter (P.S.) + Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (November 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312311036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312311032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wenzel's pulp-fiction prose can hold its own against Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential....Compulsively readable."
- Elle

"A superb memoir of urban life...sharp-witted and complex....Behind Bars delivers a subtle and mature personal narrative."
- Minneapolis Star Tribune


"Wenzel's pulp-fiction prose can hold its own against Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. . . . Compulsively readable." (Elle)

"A superb memoir of urban life . . . sharp-witted and complex. . . . Behind Bars delivers a subtle and mature personal narrative." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

From the Inside Flap

"There are eight million stories in the naked city and bartender Ty Wenzel has heard every one of them. She shares some of the best here in a wild, funny and sometimes horrifying account of life behind the bar. This a wicked shot of truth-served straight up." - Debra Ginsberg, author of Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress

"Having been employed at Marion's during Ty's reign, I can only say I wish I would have paid more attention during my tenure, so I could publish a snappy tell-all. All I'm left with after years of waiting on tables are corns on my feet and a tin full of change." - Amy Sedaris, actress and former Marion's waitress

"In Behind Bars Ty Wenzel tells her story with humor, honesty, and courage, exposing details about her life that many of us would shudder to expose to the cold light of the printed page. Bravo!" - Dale DeGroff, "King Cocktail," former Rainbow Room bartender, and author of The Craft of the Cocktail

"Ty pours out some great tips for bar patrons and great stories about them. I recommend this book to anyone who's ever sat on either side of the bar." - Ray Foley, publisher of Bartender magazine

"New York is changing. I know that's old man to say, but it is. Ty's stories capture a time that will be completely gone soon! Capture it beautifully and honestly. Enjoy them . . . cherish them." - Dito Montiel, author of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints


More About the Author

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.

"There are eight million stories in the naked city and bartender Ty Wenzel has heard every one of them. She shares some of the best here in a wild, funny and sometimes horrifying account of life behind the bar. This a wicked shot of truth-served straight up."
- Debra Ginsberg, author of Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress

"Having been employed at Marion's during Ty's reign, I can only say I wish I would have paid more attention during my tenure, so I could publish a snappy tell-all. All I'm left with after years of waiting on tables are corns on my feet and a tin full of change."
- Amy Sedaris, actress and former Marion's waitress

"In Behind Bars Ty Wenzel tells her story with humor, honesty, and courage, exposing details about her life that many of us would shudder to expose to the cold light of the printed page. Bravo!"
- Dale DeGroff, "King Cocktail," former Rainbow Room bartender, and author of The Craft of the Cocktail

"Ty pours out some great tips for bar patrons and great stories about them. I recommend this book to anyone who's ever sat on either side of the bar."
- Ray Foley, publisher of Bartender magazine

"New York is changing. I know that's old man to say, but it is. Ty's stories capture a time that will be completely gone soon! Capture it beautifully and honestly. Enjoy them . . . cherish them."
- Dito Montiel, author of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

Customer Reviews

Her writing is raw, fun and at times very thoughtful and eloquent.
Ellen DeLuca
Ty Wenzel did a fantastic job of letting me see and imagine thru her words the actions that went on behind the bar scenes. i lived thru her eyes a little fantasy life.
selma ogunc
Unbelievably bad writing by a person with absolutely nothing to say.
John from NYC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bruce on February 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've never written a review for a book I've read on Amazon before, but I felt compelled to do so here. I was given this book for Christmas by two separate people, probably because I'm a bartender myself. Let's face it, a bartender's memoir isn't exactly to be read as the apex of literary accomplishment, so I'm not sure why people can be so aghast at Behind Bars' few flaws. Wenzel has captured exactly what it's like to serve drinks to a vast myriad of people (drunks, suits, etc.), with such an honest verve that I felt as if I were sitting in front of her listening to the anecdotes on a really busy night. Her writing is raw and extremely fun. The Islamic bent from which she comes from was an interesting facet of the mix, too. This book isn't War & Peace, but it is really fun and, for me and many other bartender's I've loaned out to, quite representational. I don't think many of my customers know that I'm using "sex appeal" to keep them coming back for more. In fact, I think they are under the impression that I really am riveted by everything that comes out of their (most of the time) drunken rants. But I'm not. And Wenzel explains this, and why. I think raving drunks won't like this book because it reveals their weakness too much. Wenzel does NOT sugar-coat anything.
Her poignant and sometimes harrowing narrative was very intimate for me, and I wished I'd visited her on my last trip to New York (back when she was still tending bar on the Bowery). We could have commiserated together and laughed at it all. I await her next work eagerly, which I read about on her site.
Overall, not pretentious like some other "insider" books I've read, fun and very revealing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Just finished the book yesterday and really enjoyed it. Never worked in the service industry but I got the feeling that I knew the ins and outs when I was done - and it's not for the faint of heart. It's easy to see why servers of any type could get so sarcastic after many years dealing with drunks and irrational diners. But it's funny too. Lots of insider tid bits, pet-peeves (which I'll keep in mind next time I'm ordering at a bar) and a funny glossary of terms I never knew existed. It's not whiny or apologetic. You can take it or leave it if you're an "orphan" (gotta read it to find out what that means) but I know service industry folks will love this. Definitely a fun summer read. Very entertaining.
Jim
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is loads of fun. Both informative and catty, Wenzel dishes up her share of dirt from behind the bar. I've always fallen in love with my bartenders, so it was fun to hear what it's like to be on the other side. Made me glad that I'm a good tipper too... I recommend this book for everyone looking for an enjoyable read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ellen DeLuca on January 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book as a Christmas gift because I'm always going on and on about my favorite bars and the mixers there. When I finished reading Ms. Wenzel's memoir on slinging drinks on the Bowery for a decade, I laughed and high tailed it over to one of my favorite bartenders. I handed it over to him and said, YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS! All the times they told me that they're going to write a book about their experiences behind their bars... well, Wenzel did it first! And it was hilarious and eye-opening at the same time. I thought that the listed "pet peeves" were great as well as educational for hardcore regulars, and the glossary taught me the insider language. There are a lot of gross things about restaurants and the service industry, and Wenzel tells it straight up... literally. Her writing is raw, fun and at times very thoughtful and eloquent. She's had plenty of touching moments to balance out the in-your-face truths and sometimes frightening anecdotes. Her Islamic background was interesting as were other elements of her life outside the bar.
Want to ask your bartender out? She'll tell you how to do it.
Want to know how to get a drink faster? She'll tell you what to do.
Want to know if you're tipping correctly? She'll really let you have it.
Ever wonder what they're thinking as you're babbling on? Wenzel doesn't pussy-foot around with what bartenders think.
Truly fun. And if you love it as much as I did, pass it on to your favorite bartender. They'll not only love you for it, they may get you a round on the house!
Cheers!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read Behind Bars in one sitting. The double-entendre of the title is appropriate for this memoir because "the life" is not all that it's cracked up to be. I really felt that I was sitting in front of Wenzel at her bar on the Bowery listening to her tell her tales. The pace was wonderful in that it felt like a busy, crazy night at a hotspot in Manhattan. I wish I could have gotten a drink from Wenzel before she threw in the towel.
Her Islamic background made it more interesting, more than a chick-lit story of a girl in the big city. It was thought provoking in that her background was everything but where she ended up. Her prose is bitingly witty and brutally honest, yet as the time passes she softens to her regulars/orphans and the job itself. She doesn't pussy-foot around where tipping is concerned, and in fact, I've heard my own fave bartender talk about the topic in this way. In fact, I plan to get Behind Bars for her for Christmas, if she doesn't beat me to it. I already told her about it.
Lots of add-ons: funny glossary, recipes, pet-peeves and famous quotes about booze and bars.
Definite buy.
Jane Threlfall
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