Samantha Amato from Side Bar & Restaurant shares the secrets of bartending success
What’s your favorite part about working at Sidebar? I’ve been here for such a long time now, and I would definitely say it’s the people I work with and the regulars who come in. I feel like they are part of my family at this point. I see the same people, and I know everything about them. I know what they like to drink, what their pets’ names are, how many kids they have — it makes it a lot easier coming into work knowing that I’ll see people I like.
Who would you say is your “ride-or-die” coworker that you couldn’t see working without? Definitely Brandon. He hired me almost four years ago, as a server. We’ve developed a pretty special bond. He’s actually leaving in two weeks, which breaks my heart.
What makes working here different? I learned very quickly about beer; I didn’t know much. Being at a craft beer bar, I had to know before I could sell. My coworkers and bosses taught me very well.
What do you think makes you successful as a bartender? I am very sociable and love to talk to people. Most of the time I can’t stop talking. I think that communicating is a huge part of bartending. Of course we serve them drinks, but we also get to know them. We listen to their days, and listen to their problems — I tell them my problems, and I basically spend the whole day joking around and connecting with people. It’s a good time.
I feel like you make it easy for people to open up to you. Yes, and getting people out of their comfort zone, opening their minds to try new beers that they wouldn’t have tried before. One of the best things about this bar is being able to give them samples of beer that I think they’d like. You can’t really do that with food.
Do you have any good memories you’d like to share? Every year we have a golf outing to raise money for cancer patients in Chester County, followed by an after party. A few years back, during the after party, I put one of my coworkers on my back and squatted her.
When it’s really warm out, would you rather be serving outside on the patio or tending bar? That’s such a tough question. I love being behind the bar — I feel like my personality comes out most here. But during patio season, I love putting treats in my apron for the dogs outside. The customers love it, and the dogs love it, too. I would definitely take a serving shift outside in the summer time any day!
Understandable. What’s your favorite shift? My Tuesday’s are fantastic. We have quizzo at 9pm. We get a lot of the same families every week, bartenders from other bars, and regular friend groups. Jim Dewey has been coming in for years now; he’s pretty much the reigning champion of quizzo. It’s just a blast; I’ve met some of my closest friends on Tuesday nights, and I probably wouldn’t have ever met them otherwise.
interview: COURTNEY POTTS
photo: AMY TUCKER