The position of bartender is an iconic role in American folklore. Think of Moe from The Simpsons or Coach from Cheers. The bartender is someone who not only fills our glass, but lends a helpful ear when we’ve got problems or just need a friend.  But what are bartenders really like? Let’s explore a few of the myths about bartenders out there:

Myth: Bartenders aren’t smart – You know, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Similarly, the intelligence level of a person cannot be determined solely by his or her profession. There have been plenty of examples of not-so-smart bartenders in popular culture, Woody or Coach from Cheers are just a couple. But don’t assume that person pouring your drinks has a low IQ. In reality, many bartenders serve drinks to help pay for the costs of a Bachelor and Master’s degree.

Myth: Bartenders have fun all the time – While many bartenders make their job look easy and fun, bartending can be quite exhausting.  Pulling and tapping kegs, running circles around the bar, dealing with high-maintenance customers and creating complicated drinks at a fast pace requires lots of energy, not to mention the schedule. Most bartenders report to work in the afternoon and work well into the morning hours during times when everyone else is having fun. Not all glamour and giggles.

Myth: Bartending is for the boys – Looking back in our shared culture history, most bartenders are males. But while bartending is thought to be a bit of a boy’s club, 60% of bartenders are female, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state of California actually had a law that prohibited women from bartending. That law was repealed in 1971.

Myth: Bartenders go to Bartending School – In this day and age, not many people in the bartending profession actually went through a traditional school. Much of the job is usually learned by shadowing others or working as a bar back.  The Internet has a recipe for every drink you will ever make and then some.

Myth: Bartenders know how to make every drink – We’ve all been impressed by bartenders who seem to know how to make any drink from memory. In reality, the majority of bartenders know the most popular drinks but may have to look up a recipe or ask a coworker when they get a request that’s not familiar. Bartending training covers a lot of drink recipes, but not every single one. The bottom line: don’t ask for one of those unless you are at an establishment that specializes in obscure alcoholic concoctions.

Myth: Bartenders always know their regular customers – Think about the volume of customers a busy bartender may see on any given night. While he or she may recognize a face or even a favorite drink, don’t assume the bartender knows who you are or remembers your past conversations.

Myth: Bartenders will always short you – Are you one of those people who always orders a double because you’re afraid the bartender’s pour won’t be very generous? The truth is, most bartenders pour the exact amount required, even when they don’t measure.

Myth: Bartenders over-pour if you tip them well – While there is certainly some truth to this notion, the majority of bartenders are responsible to account for the amount of alcohol they serve.

Myth: Bartenders are drunks – To follow this line of logic, you would assume that all doctors are sick.  Just because someone is a bartender doesn’t mean they like to drink any more than anyone else. In fact, the opposite may be true. A person regularly exposed to over-drinking could be turned off to the activity altogether.

Myth: Bartenders are good listeners – While it is true that bar customers love to pour their hearts out to the bar keep, that doesn’t necessarily make the bartender and incredible listener. The truth is, most bartenders are multi-tasking while you are talking and may or may not retain the deep details of your conversation.