Bartender Chronicles: Lacey Moore, The Charleston

Photos by Sarah Jacobs.
Photos by Sarah Jacobs.

Have you ever wondered what life is like for those kind and patient people pouring shots behind the bar? This summer we’re bringing you a meet and greet with some of your favorite faces behind the bar at your favorite haunts. After the jump, Lacey Moore from the Charleston shares her background as a modern dancer, her hobbies to unwind after a long night at the bar, and tipping etiquette.

How long have you been bartending?
I’ve been bartending for about six years.

Where did you start?
My first bartending gig was actually in Florida. I went to the University of Florida in Gainesville, so I worked at like a dive bar there and like an outdoor cantina place.

How long have you been in the city?
Just about two years now.

Why did you become a bartender?
Well, I’m a modern dancer, so it actually went really well with my schedule because it’s such a flexible gig, and it’s also something I can kind of…it’s a very personable position. You know, I get to meet a lot of people and really get to learn a lot of different things from different people. And especially since I’ve lived in Brooklyn I’ve made a lot of connections and getting to know a lot people in my industry and different industries who’ve been able to help me grow in what I do. And also I love to drink alcohol.


Is there anything in modern dance that you bring to bartending?
I mean, you’re standing behind a bar. Everybody’s facing you and it’s almost like performing all the time. Not in a fake and acting kind of way, but you have to be ready for somebody to say something absolutely ridiculous to you at all times…just kind of, you know, being there and being present. I find a lot of qualities that I grew up, grew up dancing and stuff like that kind of helps me deal with me. Because, you know, I work in a dive bar, and a dive bar in Brooklyn, so a lot of strange things come up. You kind of have to be on your toes and ready to go.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you or someone’s said to you?
I think the most awkward moments are always when I have to kick somebody out. Because I’m the daytime bartender and I’m a small-set girl alone, and it’s usually a bunch of men in a bar. So I have to kick a grown man out. Luckily, I have so many regulars, so anytime it gets kind of violent, all of the men stand up and have my back.

Do you have any advice for bar etiquette? What are the to-dos and do-nots?
Just understanding that the bartender is just another person doing their job. The worst thing that you can possibly do is, when the bartender is clearly busy and not giving you their attention…it’s because they’re busy at the moment. So yelling and, a lot of people know my name, because again they’re regulars, so just yelling, “Lacey, Lacey, Lacey,” when I’m clearly doing something else really is horrible etiquette.


Something that I know we all hate–because we work on tips–the worst thing to do is when you buy a round of drinks and then you let the bartender know, “Hey, I’ll tip you on the next when. I’ll got you on the next one.” That drives your bartender nuts because 90 percent of the time you’re not, and…that’s just something that irks everybody.

What’s rule No. 1 for good bartending?
Well, the difference between being a bartender and being, say, a waitress at a fancy restaurant or something like that is the customer — especially at a dive bar in Brooklyn — the customer isn’t always right. Because 90 percent of the time the customer is a drunk asshole. So being able to control a situation without being a complete dick about it is a really important, you know, personality trait. You have to be not shy or nervous to confront people when they need to be confronted, but also not egging them on…Just being able to remain calm but still being able to lay the hammer down and get shit done is really important in that kind of environment. Besides, that I think it’s also really important for anyone that’s serving anything to know exactly what they’re serving. You know, somebody’s coming in and they’re foreign, they’ve never seen all these Brooklyn or local beers, just being able to give them a little description or let them know — or even being able to do, “Hey, what do you like? Here’s my recommendation.”

What are your hobbies outside of dance and bartending?
I went to school for dance, so that’s what my degree is in. Dance has just been my entire life–and especially because it’s just so exhausting, that when I’m not dancing and stuff like that, that’s why I go to the bar: to unwind. I consider it my other hobby, but I did just start a garden in my backyard. I’ve got a tomato plant going real strong right now. I’ve got kale, I’ve got broccoli going.



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