Friday, November 11, 2011
'Bartender of the Year' Poll Turns Ugly
Eater Chicago launched its second-annual Eater Awards Monday, and boy did it get ugly this time around in the comments section.
Things were pretty routine in categories like Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year, but when the poll for Bartender of the Year went live, the comments were so nasty and personal that Eater editor Ari Bendersky had to shut them down in less than 24 hours.
The issue, according to many of the commenters who work in the industry, was that they felt that some of Chicago's best bartenders had been snubbed. Of note were Paul McGee (The Whistler), Josh Pearson (Sepia), Matty Eggleston (Perennial Virant) and Ben Schiller (Boka Restaurant Group)—who actually won last year's contest.
There was also strong opposition against a few of the bartenders who made the list, but hey, it's Eater's poll so they can pick whomever they want.
I'm finding it quite disappointing that the bickering within the comments section exposed the ugly side of bartending. While this poll should have been celebrated as another victory for the mixology community, it instead demonstrated a "crabs in a barrel" mentality.
I'm certain that the bartenders who made the list—for whatever reasons Bendersky decided to include them—were beaming when they saw their names. Too bad there's a dark cloud over it now.
Hopefully when the poll comes around again next year people will have a better attitude . . .
In the meantime, congratulations to all of the Bartender of the Year nominees!