Cherry Vodka, Beer Muscles, and the Apparent Ordinariness of Public Chair Sex: What It’s Really Like To Be A Jersey Shore Bartender

[Photo: Ryan Donnell]

We’ve heard all the stories. Sex in the bathrooms. Drinks thrown in the face. Hair pulling. Ass grabbing. Bottles breaking. Basically, it sounds like there ain’t no party like a Jersey Shore party. So we decided to check in with 28-year old bartender Ryan Albany, who has been pouring shots at Sea Isle’s Ocean Drive (aka The OD) for five years, to see if the stories were true.

Is the Jersey Shore really like Jersey Shore?
We do get a lot of Italians, but it’s not that similar. We don’t get the high fades or the guys all jacked up. There are no tanning salons for men in Sea Isle. Guys just go to the beach. Those North Jersey types are a lot different.

What cocktails are most commonly ordered?
Captain and Cokes, gin and tonics, and sometimes Long Islands.

And shots?
It’s the same shots year after year. Washington apples and a bunch with the flavored vodkas. Lots with cherry and grape vodka. And there’s a new one with Mountain Dew flavor that’s going to be big this year.

What’s your drink after the 2:30 last call?
Usually cherry vodka and Sprite or a Coors Light. By the time we get done counting and cleaning up, we don’t get out until 3:30 or 4, but they let us hang out and drink for free after work.

What percentage of the crowd is intent on hooking up?
I’d say about 80 percent.

And how many succeed?
At the end of the night, maybe half the bar, though not with the best-looking people. There are guys who will go for anything at last call.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen at the bar?
Nothing too out of the ordinary, really. A girl will lay on the bar, you pour a shot on them, and people take the shot off of her. And people also try to have sex at the bar, because of the way the bar hangs over and covers them. The girl will sit on his lap.

How often do you see a drink thrown in the face, or a slap?
You see that nearly every weekend.

Do you get a lot of propositions?
Oh yeah. It happens all the time. The line down here — see, we wear these green shirts behind the bar — and the line is that if you have a green shirt on, they want to get it off of you. It’s just an OD thing.

Tell me the best thing about Jersey Shore girls.
Er, I might get myself in trouble with my girlfriend. But the worst thing is the attitudes. How they just wave the money in your face. A lot are from Philly.

And the worst thing about the guys?
A lot of them, they get beer muscles. There might be ten bouncers standing right there, and yet they still want to fight. And then there’s the way they dress. A lot of them wear real tight shirts that would fit my girlfriend.

When was the last time one of them took a swing at you?
Two years ago. And I tore my labrum trying to throw him out.

How much vomit do you clean up on a busy weekend?
None. That’s the doorman’s job. But by the middle of August, I am ready to get out of here.

A condensed version of this interview appears in the June 2011 issue of Philadelphia magazine.