Michael Walcher; bartender at Maison Première
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Once I realized Point Guard for the Portland Trailblazers wasn’t going to work out, I wanted to be pilot.
What was your path to being a bartender?
When I was 18 I knew that I wanted to eat and drink amazing things for the rest of my life. I figured I could make a lot of money so I could afford those things, or work in a place that gave me access to those things. Granted, most of my meals are still deli sandwiches eaten standing over a garbage can.
Do you like your job?
Of course. I would choose something easier if I didn’t.
What are the hardest parts?
Cleaning clogged mint out of sinks, being asked what my “real” job is, watching Tinder dates. The awkward hours were hard at first, but now I like it. And Monday afternoons off are the best.
What are the most rewarding aspects?
I think we all have to love service to be in this job. We have a great bartending community in New York, it’s fun to meet up after work while the sun is coming out, have a diet coke or 3, and talk about how our nights went.
If you could be anything else, what would it be?
Something else in the food and beverage industry. I worked in coffee for years and have never ruled out going back.