Follow TV Tropes


The Bartender

Go To
"What’ll it be for you, good sir?"
"I'm Guinan. I tend bar and I listen."

Working in a bar is never easy (as any Real Life bartender can attest). You have to deal with lowlifes, drunks, soldiers who will harass the female entertainment and some of the clientele with their better armed arsenal, and the average Joe who confesses his life problems to you as you pour him another round. (And don't ask about the Bar Brawl!) This is the life of the Bartender: he pours a round and just quietly listens and observes the setting.

Unless, of course, he's asked for advice. Just how valuable this advice might be depends on the story, but when you're desperate and maybe a bit drunk, it might seem like a good idea. Expect him to hear "I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!" pretty often. The real weirdos will be the ones who get Drunk on Milk.

Depending on the setting, this character may also be a Knowledge Broker, as alcohol tends to loosen lips. They may take up the duty of a quest givers in any fantasy (or science-fantasy)-themed Tabletop Game.

Many bartenders are known only by their nickname. Also often afflicted with Obsessive-Compulsive Barkeeping or Flair Bartending.

Not to be confused with the Bartender web games, such as The Right Mix.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bartender, predictably, is an anime centered around a Bartender, his bar and the stories of its patrons. One of the main themes of the story is the role of bartenders as "doctors to the soul".
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series, one of the Major's underground contacts is a bartender.
  • Mirajane of Fairy Tail is this for the entire guild.
  • Izumo Kusanagi in K, right-hand to the Red King, and owner and bartender of Bar HOMRA, the Red Clan's headquarters. While he does play a more involved role in the story, he is often seen behind the bar, making drinks, etc. He also usually has that bartender sensibility about him, whatever he's doing.
  • Tsubame from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is the daughter of a world-famous bartender, so he presumably taught her how to prepare drinks from a young age. She gets the chance to show off her skills when she hosts a Christmas party at her house, spending most of the night making (non-alcoholic) drinks for her friends.
  • Whenever he's not out on a mission, Kurogiri from My Hero Academia runs the small bar that serves as a base for the League Of Villains.
  • One Piece:
    • This is Zala's cover job at the Spiders Cafe (where she's known as "Paula") to keep her work as an agent of Baroque Works secret, and also her dream job. After Baroque Works collapses, she's able to escape Marine custody and reopen the cafe.
    • Blueno took advantage of this as he disguised himself as one for several years to find any information about an ancient warship.
    • Makino owns a bar in Fuusha village.
  • Pokémon: The Series has a G-rated version in the episode "The Forest Teacher", an Oranguru that lives up to the species' name of "Sage Pokémon", somehow dispensing advice to humans despite the Pokémon Speak (well, it is a Psychic-type, so maybe it's somehow making its meaning known without actually speaking), treating their wounds if needed, and serving up Pinap Juice.
  • Meliodas of The Seven Deadly Sins is the owner of the Boar Hat bar.
    • Escanor is also the owner of a bar called "The Sweet Gluttony", and he pulls off the stereotypical bartender look better than Meliodas too. He even gets assigned as the Bartender at the Boar Hat when he rejoins the group.
  • Andrew Gilbert "Agil" Mills from Sword Art Online runs a bar in Tokyo. His wife runs the place during his absence, and after the titular game is cleared other players frequently visit the bar, especially the main characters.
  • The Bartender of Zombie Land Saga is a close confidant of Kotaro Tatsumi who is informed of the Zombie Land Saga project. He's actually Jofuku, the legendary alchemist who sought a means for immortality for the Qin emperor. He eventually settled in Saga and has been protecting the land from a deadly curse for centuries. Kotaro's idol project is their latest attempt to keep Saga alive, and Jofuku is ultimately the one responsible for resurrecting the titular zombies.

    Comic Books 
  • At the center of the Criminal (2006) universe is Gnarly, the ex-boxer who runs The Undertow, a dive bar frequented by crooks, con-men and people who just plain run out of luck. Like most bartenders, he has seen and knows a lot more than he lets on, and is extremely judicious in applying it.
  • A Nice Guy bartender shows up in one story in Preacher and ends up helping Tulip's best friend with some sage advise while she's feeling down about her (lack of a) love life. And then, because this is a Garth Ennis comic, we get a hilarious (for us, not for him) story about how he ended up chemically castrated after he got mistaken for a child molester by the police.
  • Primal Warrior Draco Azul: Ramona Escobar debuts in the second issue tending bar at her dad's old biker bar. When Eric shows up, she engages in conversation with him—curious as to why he hasn't left town like just about everyone else. When he turns the question on her, she states that she can't bear to leave it behind due to the sentimental memories it carries for her. Unfortunately for her, a rampaging Diablos destroys the bar, compelling her join up with Draco Azul.
  • Kadies in Sin City usually has waitress Shellie in the role as an earpiece as evident by Dwight's background confessions seen in many stories. Her (and Kadie to a lesser extent) seem to be able to get Marv calmed down, no easy feat.
  • Blurr ends up as this in The Transformers: Robots in Disguise. His bar is a general hangout for anyone willing to not shoot the other customers, Autobot, Decepticon, or neutral. In The Transformers: Windblade, the title character goes here to get information on Starscream.
    • Swerve in Transformers: More than Meets the Eye finds a bar aboard the Lost Light and promptly claims it as his own. Later issues establish it as one of (if not the) most important places on the ship.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • —All You Zombies— by Robert A. Heinlein is centered around the story that a bar patron tells a sympathetic bartender, who is unnamed until the end of the tale. The bartender however turns out to be far more than a mere listener.
  • Cal Leandros: While Cal is frequently a bartender, he's far too involved and ornery to fit this trope. His boss Ishiah, however, runs a bar for supernatural types in New York City and he and his peri fellows stay resolutely neutral on al kinds of things and focuses on keeping the peace in his bar unless really pushed to deal with Heaven-related issues.
  • Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. has Francine, middle-aged human bartender at the Goblin Tavern. Although no Unnatural herself, she's been through so many hardships and bad decisions in her own life that she has no difficulty commiserating with her monstrous clientele's problems.
  • Discworld:
    • In Soul Music, Hibicus Dunelm, proprietor of the Mended Drum, knows what the routine is when a solitary figure is Drowning His Sorrows. Unfortunately, he tries it on Death, and the resulting conversation leaves him rather uneasy.
    • Mr Cheese, the owner of the Bucket, the Watch pub in Men at Arms is described as a good listener. He listens to things like "another beer" and "keep them coming". And he knows what to say: "Certainly, sir" and "Credit? Of course!"
    • The bartender at the bar where Silverfish, Detritus and Gaspode are drowning their sorrows in Moving Pictures, on the other hand, has learnt it's best not to say anything. "It may never happen" or "It could be worse" don't go down well with his clientele, because it has and it was.
    • In Witches Abroad, this is strictly enforced by Lilith - any bartender not round, red-cheeked, and jovial, willing to listen to the cares of the world, quickly loses his liquor license.
    • Igor, mine host at Biers, has to cater for the drinking needs and variant temperaments of a supernatural and undead clientele.
  • Larry Niven's Draco Tavern stories are told from the perspective of the human barkeep to an alien Bar of weirdos.
  • "Mac", who runs MacAnally's in The Dresden Files. MacAnally's is one of few places which is neutral ground for supernaturals, so every non-"vanilla human" in Chicago will drop by sooner or later. He doesn't talk much, though.
  • Harry Potter: Aberforth Dumbledore, the barkeep and innkeeper of the Hog's Head introduced in Order of the Phoenix. There's also Tom of the Leaky Cauldron introduced in Philosophers Stone and Madam Rosmerta of the Three Broomsticks introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • Journey to Chaos: At Full Mug you will find Rab who is both the owner and operator. He'll listen to whatever problem you're having while brewing up some of his taverncraft and give advice as necessary. You don't even need to be in his tavern for the first one; if he sees you on the street it's the same deal. In Mana Mutation Menace, he listened to Eric's girl trouble (failed attempt at a Relationship Upgrade), Culmus' girl trouble (complicated Uptown Girl situation) and Basilard's girl trouble (his clan is rejecting his adopted daughter and she is rejecting them as well, including Basilard himself) but only had sage advice for the latter.
  • Xavier runs a bar in Lonesome Dove.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Barliman Butterbur hands down private letters among some of his customers and shares with them important information. Though he sometimes errs in giving advice, Gandalf trusts him and makes him his deputy Quest Giver.
  • Emile Antoon Khadaji learns pubtending (purveying both drinks and recreational drugs) in The Man Who Never Missed at the suggestion of his mentor Pen. It's the perfect occupation for Khadaji's plan to start a resistance movement against the Confed: a good barman can make a living anywhere in the galaxy, and people will tell secrets while drunk or stoned that they wouldn't tell a lover while sober.
  • Katrina "Kat" Williams is one of these for the Silver Bullet in Newshound. Since the Bullet is the only bar in Phoenix catering exclusively to werewolves and other shapeshifters, Kat tends to know most of the local gossip, and isn't afraid to share it.
  • Paradise Rot
    • Thierry Delasix runs a "Tavairn" out in the jungle that Kyle keeps running into.
    • Desmond might actually fit a bit better into this trope, as he runs a place with drinks and dispenses wisdom to the hero at an opportune time. The fact that it's an espresso cart has nothing to do with it.
  • In The Shining by Stephen King, Jack talks with Lloyd the bartender, someone he knew before coming to the Overlook, but in this particular case, it's actually the Overlook serving as bartender.
  • The Ship Who Searched by Mercedes Lackey has a scene where the male lead pours out his woes to a bartender and receives some good advice — along with a Lampshade Hanging, as it's revealed that a lot of bartenders in this future setting have received formal training in psychological and relationship counseling because of how often they're in scenes like this.
  • The Star Wars short story Last Call at the Zero Angle has Florn, a former TIE pilot who had to retire after a crash left him mostly a cyborg. He now runs the Zero Angle, a bar that serves as a hangout for off-duty TIE pilots from both the navy and army, which leads to frequent fights he has to break up. Notably, the pilots from both branches respect him due to the huge number of hours and kills he racked up as a pilot.
  • A Star Wars Legends example is Memah, one of the POV characters in Death Star. She ran a cantina on Coruscant called the Soft Heart, but deliveries of supplies slowed and stopped, to the cantina and many other businesses nearby. Then the whole block was burned down under suspicious circumstances. Memah and her bouncer assume someone's pulled insurance fraud, but there had been Imperial Intelligence agents sniffing around and another Imperial shows up to offer her and the other despondent business owners jobs on a "military installation" they're not to leave for a few years as they're poking through the wreckage. It's a good offer with great pay, so lacking other options she takes it and winds up running the Hard Heart on, well, the Death Star. Because very few people stationed on it were permitted to leave, the Death Star had a not inconsiderable number of leisure activities and entertainment options like the Heart.
  • There Is No Epic Loot Here, Only Puns: When Delta upgrades her goblin camp to an inn, she automatically gets a goblin innkeeper. Fera is gruff but ultimately soft-hearted — and is empowered by the presence of other goblins in her bar, to the point where she's able to beat a powerful demon in an arm-wrestle, so it's not wise to start anything. She will finish it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: Invoked Trope in one episode. When Sheldon sees Penny working the bar, he expects her to act like the typical bartender, pouring drinks in which he can drown his sorrows and offering him sage advice.
  • One sketch in A Bit of Fry and Laurie involves a bartender that manages to simultaneously offer his customer advice and bar snacks through a Hurricane of Euphemisms.
    Laurie: Let's face it we haven't slept together for years. The best she can hope for is a bit of—
    Fry: Savoury finger?
    Laurie: And naturally, she won't give me so much as a—
    Fry: Good juicy tongue in the back passage!
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Beer Bad" Xander gets a job as bartender and looks forward to acting as The Confidant to pretty girls, only to get run off his feet and insulted by arrogant frat boys. When one pretty girl does look ready to pour out her troubles, Xander brushes her off because he's too busy worrying about Buffy getting plastered with those same frat boys. He ends up quitting his job in a huff just because the owner brewed up some cursed beer that turned those drinking it into Neanderthals. Some people just can't be satisfied.
  • Castle: In "Once Upon a Time in the West" Castle lampshades that western barkeeps tend to be affable sources of invaluable information, and the whiskered man at the Diamondback saloon proves Castle right. He also snarks at Castle for using a Hurricane of Euphemisms for whiskey instead of just saying whiskey, and later ducks below the bar right before the climactic showdown.
  • Cheers: Sam Malone not only tended the bar, he owned it. At least for a while. Both Woody Boyd and Ernie "Coach" Pantusso worked as bartenders at the Cheers bar as well.
  • Deadwood: Al Swearengen tended the bar, when he wasn't being the town's crimelord.
  • The Defenders (2017):
    • Daredevil (2015): Josie is a bartender in Hell's Kitchen who Matt and Foggy have helped out on numerous legal issues. Matt, Karen and Foggy in turn hang out at the bar after work to play pool and have drinks.
    • Jessica Jones (2015): This is how Luke Cage gets introduced, running his own bar in Hell's Kitchen. It's a low profile job that allows him to stay off the radar as he's an escaped fugitive from Seagate. He loses the bar after Kilgrave makes him blow it up.
    • Luke Cage (2016): Since the whole saga with Kilgrave, Luke has moved uptown and now works nights as a dishwasher at Harlem's Paradise. In the first episode, he is pressed by the kitchen manager into bartending because Dante, the regular bartender, has called in "sick" to go help his friends Shameek and Chico rob a gun deal between Cottonmouth and Domingo Colon. During his shift, Luke ends up meeting Detective Misty Knight, who is there undercover to watch Cottonmouth. Luke exchanges witty banter with Misty and eventually entices her into having a one-night stand with him in his apartment. At one point, Luke and waitress Candace Miller also have to deliver some expensive Ace of Spades champagne upstairs to the private box where Cottonmouth, Mariah Dillard, and Domingo are officially sealing the gun deal that Dante and his boys are robbing.
  • Eastenders has The Queen Vic(toria) pub, which is basically the centre of Albert Square. If you run it, you're in charge of the square. Usually, bad things happen to you, too. Several characters fight for the title King/Queen of the Vic.
  • Ezel: Bade Uysal is a female example. As manager and bartender of Vur Kaç, she is always ready to lend an ear, becoming a trusted acquaintance to many of Ezel's friends.
  • Farscape. The episode "Suns and Lovers" opens with a drunk John Crichton at a commerce station, pouring out his recent troubles to a Russian-accented barkeep called Moordil, who's a massive, many-armed creature like a cross between spider, walrus and human. That should tell you something about this particular series—plus the fact that Crichton's troubles are so bizarre he quickly realises that Moordil has no idea what he's rambling on about.
  • In Hiragana Oshi, a recurring segment has Mao Iguchi playing a bartender known only as "Mama", who listens to the other cast members' problems.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: After the three of them buy local bar the Waterfront, Bayliss, Munch, and Lewis all take turns tending bar, especially the latter two. None of them really bother to offer advice, however, as they're generally too dysfunctional and only interested in making money.
  • Invoked in How I Met Your Father. Charlie is a Sheltered Aristocrat who wants to listen to people's problems. He's dismayed at the years of school needed to go into psychiatry or psychology. Sid instead offers him a job bartending.
    Charlie: I'll take it.
  • Life on Mars (2006): Nelson is an oracle nonpareil who may just be the protagonist's subconscious. He's also a Fauxreigner in that he plays up a Jamaican accent so people don't take him too seriously ("Folks just seem happier with the other Nelson"). He turns up again in the very last episode of Ashes to Ashes (2008), which reveals (MAJOR spoilers): that he's more or less the British coppers' equivalent of St Peter.
  • The Love Boat: Isaac "your bartender". Always willing to lend an ear.
  • The Muppets (2015) reinvents Rowlf as the proprietor and bartender of Rowlf's Tavern. As one of the more down-to-earth Muppets, he's sometimes used as a source of advice.
  • Revolution: In the pilot episode, Miles Matheson, at first, until Charlie Matheson came looking for him.
  • In the first sketch on the first episode of The Richard Pryor Show, Pryor plays the barkeep at The Star Wars Bar.
  • Scrubs:
    • J.D.'s slacker brother, Dan, was mentioned as being a bartender.
      Dr. Cox: Well, Dan, I'm gonna go ahead and worry about how we do things around here. But if I ever need to make a top notch rum and coke, well, by golly, mister, you better be right by the phone, 'cause I might just give you a jingle! [makes a ringing noise] Dan! Cox-a-roony, here! Regarding the rum and coke issue: could not be more confused...
    • In one episode, we see JD and Turk flamboyantly mixing drinks at a bar, complete with tossing the drinks in the air and catching them in the glass.
      JD: Last summer, Turk and I had to choose between working disaster relief or going to bartender school. I like to think we made the right choice.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Quark. While more self-serving than the average example, he genuinely enjoys talking to people and getting to know them, and laments turning down a more profitable career as an Arms Dealer due to it being impersonal. Oh, and immoral.
    Quark: Don't call me "Barkeep." I'm "your Host," a sympathetic ear to serve you drinks at a... reasonable price.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "I'm Guinan. I tend bar and I listen."
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In the original pilot "The Cage," the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Boyce, has a drink kit to use when he wants to get a patient of his to open up. As he says "Sometimes a man will tell his bartender things he'd never tell his doctor."
  • Boaby the Barman at the Clansman in Still Game. It's not clear if his surly attitude is the cause or result of the constant abuse he gets from the clientele.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Frontierland", while back in The Wild West, Sam and Dean go to the saloon to get information from Elkins, the bartender, on where to find Samuel Colt. It's assumed, but never confirmed, that he's the ancestor of Daniel Elkins from "Dead Man's Blood", who was in possession of Colt's legendary demon-killing Colt revolver.
  • In Wynonna Earp, Doc becomes one in Season Two after he buys Shorty's, the local bar. He's helped by Rosita, his barmaid/love interest who also happens to be a Revenant.

  • Toby Keith's song "Hope on the Rocks" is from the point of view of a bartender who acts as a confidante for all those who come to drown their sorrows.
  • "The Wishing Well" by Trent Willmon is a similar storyline to the above song.


  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Babysitting New Year's Eve", Mrs. Davis has a friend who's a bartender. She invites him over to prepare the punch for her New Year's party. Mrs. Davis' bartender friend is allowed New Year's off as a condition of his employment. The reason? The bartender hates drunks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ravenloft's 5th edition Soft Reboot has Bryonna, an animate skeleton that tends to Nobody's Inn in the domain of Tepest. The Fair Folk that usually infest the domain and hold court in a field nearby are apparently terrified of them.

  • Bye Bye Birdie has Charles F. Maude of Maude's Roadside Retreat, Sweet Apple, Ohio.
  • Nick, owner of Nick's Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant, and Entertainment Palace in The Time of Your Life.

    Video Games 
  • The Bartender series (such as The Right Mix) revolves around this, with often hilarious and nonsensical results delivered at the shaker of professional bartender Miguel (and, in the Wedding game, his Distaff Counterpart Miguelita) ranging from sudden lycanthropy from a White Cosmopolitan for a bride's jealous ex to world peace from serving an exceptional Oaxacan Punch to a Miss Universe.
  • In Citizen Sleeper, there is Tala, the owner of the Overlook, who is a friendly and warm woman who knows her regulars, but she also has a core of steel, and knows when put her foot down hard on unruly customers. She can potentially become one of the Sleeper's first friends on Erlin's Eye, if the player visits the Overlook's bar frequently.
  • Closing at 2 has you take the role of a nameless bartender who has to serve 3 regulars their favorite drinks as they descend into madness and/or decay.
  • Dragon Age has a few. None of them are of the advice-giving persuasion, but they all have their own relevance to the plot.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, there's Lloyd, the owner and bartender at the tavern in Redcliffe. The player, if their persuasion skill is high enough, may force him to participate in the defense of the village instead of hiding out in the cellar getting drunk. This makes keeping everyone alive during the siege much harder.
      • In the city of Denerim, the unnamed bartender at the Gnawed Noble Tavern can be approached for some off-the-record side quests which are not precisely legal.
      • The owner of the Spoiled Princess Inn, on the docks of Lake Calenhad, needs the player character to stop asking nosy questions because his family is under threat of murder. Naturally, the player helps him get out of trouble.
    • In Dragon Age II, the bartender of the Hanged Man is called Corff. Instead of advice, he offers gossip when asked, and some of it is incredibly funny.
    • In the first part of Dragon Age: Inquisition, the bar in Haven is run by a sweet woman called Flissa. Her major involvement with the plot is needing to be rescued from the burning bar when the village is attacked.
      • When the Inquisition settles in Skyhold, she's replaced as bartender by a taciturn dwarf named Cabot. When asked, Cabot will comment on his training, the general mood, and random things he's overheard from the patrons — all delivered in the same deadpan tone.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, each tavern and inn has a non-generic NPC filling this role. Beside selling food and drinks, they can be asked for rumors (sometimes related to local quests) and work (official bounty hunting quest).
  • Escape Velocity often mentions bartenders in the Flavor Text of the spaceport bars where you can pick up missions.
  • Bartender Bob from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, a reoccuring character who runs the tavern (or some other venture) where you can acquire or exchange cards and minions for your single-player adventures or Battlegrounds. He's a very friendly man who provides good services to his customers, even the villains.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd:
    • Raven, one of the mercenaries working for World Serpent, has her own bar she tends in whenever she isn't out on a mission. It partly serves as a way for her to gather intel.
    • In "A Post-Honkai Odyssey 2", while the player is in the characters' base, Carole Peppers is permanently positioned behind the makeshift bar, and makes drinks (both alcoholic and non-) for the Main Character and chats with him. This is also reflected in her "Carole: Part-time Job (M)" stigmata, where she's tossing a drink shaker while Bronya sits at the bar. From the same story, Lyle also mentions that he's good at making drinks; he inherits this (and his sniping skills) from Raven above, as he was one of the orphans in her makeshift orphanage.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: Rex's dream is to open a bar for the other colonists to drop by for a drink or some advice from him. Sol can help him build it by giving him Mushwood Logs.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Wild West chapter of Live A Live has one, of course. His main purpose in the game is to waste time: you get eight minutes to set traps to hold off the Crazy Bunch gang, and if you're done early you can have a drink to pass the time faster. While he has a story to tell, he keeps getting sidetracked telling it and it goes absolutely nowhere.
  • The Bartender symbol in Luck be a Landlord. He has a small chance of chucking out either Beer, Wine, Martini, or Chemical Seven symbols.
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • A turian bartender in the Dark Star lounge lampshades the advice-giving portion of the Bartender trope; if Shepard attempts to milk him for gossip, he suggests you ask around before commenting that he doesn't get "why humans always ask him that."
    • Another lampshade is hung by Aethyta, the asari bartender on Ilium, who turns out to be a Matriarch. When the character asks what she's doing tending bars, when Matriarchs are supposed to be councilors and figures of wisdom, her reply is, basically, "that's why Matriarchs make the perfect bartender." The third game reveals that she's Liara's father (no, not her "other mother", her father) and was keeping an eye on Liara's intel-broker activities for the other matriarchs. She moves to a bar on the Citadel once the Reaper war starts.
    • In Omega, a batarian bartender tries to poison Shepard, but since this is Shepard, he fails. Shepard can then either force the bartender to drink his own poison, get a paranoid turian to shoot him or tell him to scram. He's promptly replaced by a salarian.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda:
    • Dutch, who runs the Vortex on the Nexus is a subversion. He doesn't want to be a bartender. The Vortex was meant to be a science lab, but some people realized it'd make a pretty swell bar, gave him the equipment to make it one, and he's been reluctantly mixing drinks For Science! ever since. After Ryder shows up, it becomes clear as much as he complains, he's starting to get into the bar scene.
    • Umi Hemon, the owner of Kralla's Song is another subversion. She hates being a bartender (why is she a bartender, then? Don't ask), and is pretty rude toward customers, at the best of times. Except Drack, having taken on the challenge of trying to make a drink that'll actually work on him.
  • Podley from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door fills this role quite nicely, being the bartender in the appropriately named Rogueport. He's essential to recruiting one of the members to your party in Chapter 5.
  • In Potion Permit, Yorn is the owner of Lazy Bowl Tavern, where you can buy food and drinks that replenish your HP and stamina by a lot.
  • The bartenders in the Quest for Glory games are usually of the rough, shady, and not very friendly variety. Probably a member of the Thieves' Guild. Pretty much a given, since the Thieves' Guild is under the bar in game 1, in game 2 the bartender is a minion of the most prominent criminal in a corrupt city, and in game 5 the entire bar is owned by that same person; there aren't any taverns in games 3 and 4.
  • The elderly and professional George Watstatt from Reality-On-The-Norm, sometimes replaced by the young and eager Dave Nihilist.
  • K from Shin Megami Tensei IV, a former a Samurai commander, became this upon retirement. He mellowed out, but he still helps out the new generation by managing Challenge Quests and, as per trope standard, advice dispenser.
  • The appropriately named BarBot in Starship Titanic, also known as Fortillian Bantoburn O'Perfluous. He's stuck in a logic loop with a cocktail he can't make due to missing ingredients, but he'll reward you with a part of Titania if you help him. He also has a tendency to ramble if his cell point settings are high, and he knows a great deal about Nib.
  • In Tapper you play as a bartender who has to serve beer to a bunch of thirsty customers. Some later re-releases change this to root beer.
  • This is a possible background for the Player Character in Unavowed. Appropriately, choosing it also means that you gain access to certain dialogue choices that centers around being a trustworthy and likeable person who has an easier time getting people to open up to you about what troubles them.

    Visual Novels 
  • A couple in Daughter for Dessert:
    • Heidi is the bartender who also owns the bar. Not only does she have skill at making drinks, but she can also keep order when customers get unruly. And she doesn’t take any crap from customers who are particularly insulting. In fact, she enjoys bartending so much, and is so skilled at it, she always tends the bar for her high school reunions.
    • The protagonist has some background in bartending. And if he chooses Heidi over Veronica, he try his hand at running the bar on a bet. And if he succeeds, some after-hours fun with Heidi is in the cards.
  • The protagonist of VA-11 HALL-A is a bartender of a tavern set in a Cyberpunk dystopia. Her job is to not only keep her clients properly liquored up, but also converse with them and give them advice.

    Web Animation 
Discussed and Subverted in Lackadaisy. Former tough Viktor's manning the bar at the Lackadaisy speakeasy, but his dour, grim demeanor doesn't help much with that. He patently refuses to play the role of confidante despite his boss Mitzi's pleas, scowling and growling so the patrons are spooked, and even his attempt at Obsessive-Compulsive Barkeeping results in shattered glass.


    Web Original 
  • Dino Attack RPG:
    • This role is filled by siblings Bart and Carrie Enderson. Ironically, they're both Secret Keepers to two mercenaries that despise each other.
    • There was also an unnamed pirate bartender who appeared in Greybeard's flashback.
  • Bora from Dragomir's Diary.
  • How to Hero mentions a bartending superhero who believes that sometimes supervillains just need someone to listen to them while they wipe they same spot of the bar with an old rag over and over again.
  • Dominic of Video Game Confessions is this. It's not easy for him, because the bar in question is mostly visited by troubled Video Game Characters.
  • Desmond Brewer in Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye runs The Dead Canary pub and inn, which serves as home base for the main characters. When asked for his opinion on current events in the town, he admits that he's learned to listen rather than talk, and, while generally prickly, he often acts as the Voice of Reason to diffuse conflicts in the bar.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur: The Brain works part-time at his parents' ice cream shop, filling this role in later seasons.
  • In Bravestarr, Handlebar was the resident bartender in New Texas. He fought more than he listened, though.
  • Horace, from Family Guy, who is the proprietor of the Drunken Clam in Quahog. Until Jerome accidentally kills him in a softball game, then purchases the Drunken Clam and takes Horace's place to honor his legacy.
  • Futurama has a robot named iZak work as a bartender at times, parodying Isaac from The Love Boat (see Live-Action TV).
  • Hazbin Hotel has Husk, the hotel's barkeep. Despite being forced into the role by Alastor, "Masquerade" reveals that since "Everyone bitches to the bartender" he knows all about the hotel group's problems.
  • "Finnegan's Flea" was a 1958 Paramount Noveltoon told from the perspective of a bartender, explaining why a disheveled man (Finnegan) is standing at the bar in a frozen position. The bartender takes responsibility for the guy as he tells of how this guy discovered a singing flea (making this a Captain Ersatz of One Froggy Evening). Finnegan eventually lands a lucrative contract for his flea and goes to the bartender's place for a celebratory drink. When Finnegan shows the flea, the bartender reactively swats it dead which causes Finnegan to go catatonic.
  • Moe Szyslak from The Simpsons is a comically scummy bartender, being a highly unscrupulous character who tends to give awful advice.
    Moe: Guys, after all the years I've given you advice, now I need a little advice from you.
    Carl: We never follow your advice.
    Lenny: The one time I did, I went to jail for three years!
    Moe: You made some good friends, didn't ya?!
  • Sadie Miller in Steven Universe works at the Big Donut, Steven's most frequented restaurant, and often provides him a sympathetic ear. Though even outside of work, they're pretty good friends.


Video Example(s):


Wise Old Bartender Husk

Hotel bartender Husk understands the psyche of everyone there after listening to them while drinking and offers advice to Angel on a bad night.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheBartender

Media sources: