Valentine’s day inspired cocktail

Living With Bartenders – How to Cope with Crazy Schedules

Learn how the partners of some of the world's best bartenders make their relationships work.

Authors: Paul Mathew, International Bar Owner and Drinks Producer

Paolo Tonellotto, General Manager, The Hide Bar Tree Mao, Bar Consultant

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

How The Other Half Live

Bar staff are used to playing cupid, encouraging new romances and even, on occasion, hosting a proposal.

But being a bar professional can cause challenges in a relationship – from working different hours to your partner, being too exhausted to spend time together, and not being available on the weekends, we understand the many hurdles you'll have to overcome.

Although there will be sacrifices, there are things you can do to make the most of time together.

Here, the spouses of three top professionals in the bar industry offer advice and insight on how they make it work.

Silvie – Partner of Paolo Tonellotto, General Manager, The Hide Bar (London)

For Silvie, weekend work and Paolo returning home in the early hours aren’t so great, but a well-stocked liquor cabinet and glassware for any occasion are amongst the positives.

Top class Manhattans in front of the TV are good, as is being part of the tasting panel for new cocktail list development.

Silvie's Tip: Put aside enough time for each other and ensure that time is away from the bar.

Ariel – Partner of Tree Mao, Bar Consultant & former bartender in Shanghai

Bartending hours make synching schedules difficult, but allows for important personal space. When they do share time together, Tree is able to make Ariel the perfect drink, and knows where all the best bars and restaurants are.

Ariel's Tip: Enjoy the time together and the time apart. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Timing is the main problem - when I want to go out, my partner is exhausted or asleep, while conversely, there are only so many nights a week I can stay out drinking late and still get up for work in the morning! Aside from that, bartending hours mean that we both get some personal space - important in any relationship!


Bryony – Partner of Paul Mathew, International Bar Owner and Drinks Producer

One challenging area for Bryony living with Paul is that they're never awake and at home at the same time, limiting their time together.

There are good things, though. Living with a bartender means getting good quality service at home and when out, and you also learn a lot about the industry, which can help you expand your palette.

Being married with children, there is less time for Paul to be with his kids, but he puts in the effort to ensure family time together is always special.

Bryony's Tip: Enjoy that bartending is a career you can both participate in, be it by helping craft new cocktails or checking out new venues.

Key Takeaways

  • Living with a bartender can be challenging. Working nights and weekends can limit the time spent together.
  • Making the most of your time together is one great way to make a relationship with a bartender thrive.
  • There are positives to living with a bartender, such as incredible drinks and knowledge of all the best places to visit.