Hoboken’s Worst Bartender Contest Competition this Thursday at Duffy’s

Since an out-of-town bartender recently won the “Best American Bartender Competition,” people want to know just how bad Hoboken’s bartenders can be. In the spirit of reality television spin-offs, Hobokenites now have the chance to see Hoboken’s finest drink-slingers at their worst.

This Thursday night (today, Nov. 9) at Duffy’s, 12 bartenders will compete in a throw down contest to see who can win the title of “Worst Bartender” in Hoboken.

Do you have what it takes to get heckled by your peers and cursed at by the crowd?

Read on!

The talent needed

In order to be eligible for one of the dozen slots, you must have a Hoboken bar card that states that you are a working bartender, not just a bouncer. (Sorry fellas, we appreciate what you do, but your skills are needed elsewhere.)

Also, anyone with a professional “mixologist license” need not apply.

They are looking for seasoned bartenders that have honed their skills and then abandoned them completely. The bartender should be a person that has grown weary from years of abuse behind the stick and finessed the perfect putdown for drunken customers or a withering glance.

“The real purpose behind this contest is to see how close people’s idea of a bad bartender is to me on a good night,” said Christopher Halleron, bartender and Hudson Current columnist. “It should be a good time and a great chance for the city’s bartenders to blow off steam and win what is nothing short of a fantastic prize.”

The bartender will be judged on: unkempt appearance, customer disservice, overall surliness, and drink quality and presentation.

Each of the 12 contestants will work with a partner for a half-hour time slot from 8 to 11 p.m. “This is meant to be any bartender’s dream shift,” said Halleron, “since it is amazing how universally angry we can all become after spending too much time back here.”

The scoring

The judging panel will include “celebrity losers” from previous bartending competitions and surprise guests who will help determine, who is the worst at their trade? The scoring will be broken down into four sections including, overall appearance, attitude, customer dissatisfaction, and drink quality. There will be bonus points awarded for surprisingly terrible behavior. Some examples include: having to wait for a drink as a bartender fixes her hair while talking on a cell phone, or waiting while a bartender finishes tallying a trade for his fantasy football league.

Customer’s will be encouraged to shout out for their favorite loser and can voice their opinion about dissatisfaction to the judges.

Have you ever ordered a drink several times only to have it made incorrectly over and over again?

Have you ever ordered a drink and had the bartender tell you that they are too busy to make a Martini? These examples and more will help determine who will win the title.

Sudden death

Although technically it might seem impossible to be removed from a contest that is looking for the worst contestant, there are a few things that could get a bartender knocked out including:

Leaving the competition. This would include going on a smoke break and not coming back.

Sudden bursts of enthusiasm. This would include laughing while serving a drink, where the judges can determine that the bartender is “just pretending” to be bad in order to win the stellar prize.

The winner

The winner will be picked on Thursday, at the end of the competition. The “Worst Bartender” will receive a trip to Gary Regan’s Cocktails in the Country in an effort to rehab the bitter bartender.

Gary Regan, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the bartender trade, will be making a guest appearance at Duffy’s to witness the competition. Regan has written for Food & Wine, Wine & Spirits, Wine Spectator, and writes a weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Regan’s seminar “Cocktail’s in the Country” includes a one-night stay at Painter’s in Cornwall-on-Hudson. Regan will impart his wisdom to the wayward bartender tackling subjects like, drink presentation, the proper pour, and more.

(All those things that the winner of the competition has surely forgotten!)


Duffy’s is located at 239 Bloomfield Ave. in Hoboken. On Thursday, there will be live music from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and all night Happy Hour specials. Note: Duffy’s staff members will be there to ensure that no one dies of thirst while waiting for one of this town’s worst bartenders to serve a drink!

Those interested in participating should stop by Duffy’s in person or e-mail: chris@chrishalleron.com. Note: you must have a valid Hoboken bar card to be eligible.


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group