Student workers bounce from school to bars


The Columns bar sits inside the St. Charles Hotel on a slow afternoon. Makayla Wynia serves drinks here while also working on her homework. Photo credit: Lucy Foreman

Lucy Foreman

From F&M’s to the Boot, Tj’s and The Columns, college students are not only responsible for chugging down the drinks, but also pouring them up.

If you’ve visited a bar in Uptown New Orleans, you’ve probably seen a peer from Loyola or Tulane checking IDs or making drinks behind the bar. For these people, working at a bar while attending college means few hours of sleep and lots of stories about drunk college students.

When choosing between working at a bar and drinking at a bar, it’s fair to say most people would choose the latter option. So how did these people begin their bouncing and bartending careers? And most importantly, how are they ever finding time for school?

For studio art senior Sierra Bailey, bartender at F&M Patio Bar, her work began from visiting her favorite bar over and over again.

“F&M’s originally was the place to go; it was always crowded, and I was there every weekend anyways so I ended up getting a job from knowing the bartenders,” Bailey said. “It can be extremely rewarding and there are definitely fun nights because, at the end of the day, all bartenders want is to make money and the best way to do that is by having a good time with the customers,” she said.

One of the few student workers who actually enjoys the long hours required to work at a bar is mass communication senior Nicholas Chopivsky. Chopivsky is a bouncer at The Boot Bar and Grill.

“I feel so much better when I get three to four hours of sleep. If I get a regular eight hours, I feel really groggy when I wake up,” he said.

Chopivsky got his hall of fame moment this year when checking the ID of New Orleans Pelicans’ newest player Zion Williamson.

Studying in between making drinks has become a weeknight ritual for criminology junior Makayla Wynia. She bartends at the St. Charles Avenue hotel, The Columns.

“It’s not the best system but it helps more than waiting till we get off of our shift,” she said.

Last summer, Wynia managed to complete an entire online math course by only doing assignments at work.

“It’s surprising how many customers want to help you when you explain that you’re still in school,” Wynia said.

From disastrous bar weddings to groups breaking bottles on the bar, these students are never short of funny stories to tell their friends the next day. Despite all the fun, working as a bouncer or bartender is no joke.

“From working at F&M’s, it has made me a much stronger and probably meaner person” Bailey said. “You have to learn to stand up for yourself and to be safe and to keep other people safe.”

Madison McLoughlin, English senior and former bartender at TJ Quills, got through crazy nights by dancing off the stress while making drinks.

“It’s not for everyone, and there are nights that aren’t as fun or as busy as others, but it’s worth it,” McLoughlin said.

So what do these college bartenders wish their peers would do more often? Tip, tip and more tips.

Makayla Wynia holds a Moscow mule cup at The Columns. She makes these drinks at her job.