Vaccinations and Hospitality

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I’m copying this over from Instagram, which I never do, However, it was one of the rare Instagram posts of mine that actually has to do with hospitality, so I felt it was important to share here.


The State of Oregon approved restaurant workers for COVID-19 vaccination on April 5th, and after spending many mornings hunched over multiple browser windows on multiple devices trying in vain to book an appointment, I finally got my first shot today! What a stressful process; it was like trying to get concert tickets – you know, back when concerts existed.

Everything else about the experience was incredible once I got to the vaccination site. The place was staffed by people who were there working, by choice, taking care of other human beings. It felt like the very definition of tending bar to me: people taking care of other people and putting up with a whole mess of personalities, both pleasant and unpleasant, while simply doing their best to help. And also dealing with bodily fluids. So yeah, pretty much exactly like tending bar.

Hospitality has always been about so much more than making fancy cocktails, or answering questions about arcane spirits knowledge. It’s about this moment, right here. It’s about taking care of your community, it’s about helping. It’s about taking that core tenet and applying it to all areas of life, not just when you’re behind the bar being a rockstar. We aren’t just getting vaccinated so that we don’t get sick ourselves; we’re doing it because we care about others and don’t want to get them sick, either.

I know I could have jumped in line well before it was my turn and taken advantage of the very lax eligibility verifications, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Half my life has been dedicated to service, and cutting in front of people who the experts deemed deserved it more than I did would have gone against everything I stand for. No shame for my colleagues who felt they needed to go ahead of everyone else, but I’m sure happy that I waited my turn.

If you’re a bartender and you’re on the fence about getting vaccinated when it’s your turn, I implore you to do it. Do it because you’re the type of person who has chosen an honorable profession. Do it because you live your life outside of work the same way you do when you’re on the clock. Do it because you’re one of the most important members of any community. Do it because you’re a bartender, and because bartenders are the fucking best.

Second shot is in four weeks. Coming up after that, I’m setting up the bar, turning on the music, turning down the lights, and going back to throwing a fucking party every night for the rest of my life.

One Reply to “Vaccinations and Hospitality”

  • Mary DeBattista says:

    I appreciate you. A number of my bartender friends were urging me to sneak in as they were, with dubious credentials, to get a vaccine ahead of time. I waited until the morning I was officially cleared to get a vaccine and made my appointment. Although I fervently wish everyone in the country were planning on being vaccinated, my heart and mind were not willing to let me jump in front of any who were afforded the opportunity before I was.

    Thanks for being a true mensch.

    While I have you here, I finally got around to reading Drinking Distilled. My husband had to keep pausing his movie while I read him passages that either made me laugh or that confirmed things I’ve been telling him for years. I believe he responded “hey that’s just what you say!” three different times.

    …and because I realize how deeply you will understand this statement: as even-tempered and kind as I am behind the bar, and as much as I adore my chosen career, I am indeed afraid that the next person who says “come on over, we’re cheersing!” is going to get the sole of my non-slip round-housed to their face and I will be powerless to stop it. #igotlimits

    Happy Vaxxing!
    @cktailgrlmke

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