B is for Bartender: Student’s work also play

B is for Bartender: Students work also play

Rialda Zukic

On any given Friday, you might find Greg Starks behind the bar at Entourage Tapas Bar & Lounge, pouring vodka into shot glasses as patrons hover nearby awaiting Greg’s alcoholic concoctions.

Greg, a senior from Brentwood, Tenn., said he became a bartender because he didn’t want a boring job.

“I’m happy to go to work, because I know I’m going to have a fun time,” he said, adding that not a lot of people can say the same.

His mother, Karen Starks, wanted her son to attend bartending school because she thought bartending would be a fun and easy way for him to make money while he’s in school.

But Greg didn’t take the classes because the owner of Entourage, located downtown at 935 College St., offered Greg a position two months ago.

Greg said he makes about $100 in tips each night.

Bowling Green resident Ben Mehicic, who works at Entourage with Greg, said he has seen some of the bar patrons tip his coworker $3 to $4 for one drink.

“It’s all about your personality really,” Mehicic said.

He said Greg has a natural way with the customers and always treats them well.

“If a bartender can make a person feel at home, then that should be considered a skill,” Mehicic said.

Greg said his favorite drink is gin and tonic, because it’s simple.

But his drink specialty is the Blueberry Kamikaze, which consists of Stoli Blueberi vodka, cranberry juice and sweet ‘n’ sour. It’s a favorite in the Entourage crowd.

Although Greg considers the bartending fun, some of the duties that come with it aren’t.

He said having to clean up after people is one of the hardest parts of the job.

“There’s times we’ve seen throw-up in the bathroom and broken glass on the floor,” he said.

But the job has other perks.

Greg said bartending has been a great networking tool for him.

He has made connections with business owners who could be potential career sources for him in the future.

“He’s great at building positive relationships with people,” Karen said.

Along with his job at Entourage, Greg works at O’Charley’s as a server and is a full- time student pursuing a degree in financial management at WKU.

He said he had to cut some of his hours at O’Charley’s to make more room for his new job and spare time in his schedule.

“You gotta make sure you have a set schedule when you’re in school,” he said.

Greg said he tries to make time for himself during the day to do activities such as hot yoga, which allows him to get away for a few moments and not think about anything.

He plans to graduate in December 2011 and will continue bartending until he starts a career.

“I’m going to miss the fun factor, because it might not be promised later on,” he said.