Netflix’s Real World-esque reality show Twentysomethings: Austin, a series that follows hot 20-year-olds as they galavant around the city, has quickly become a guilty pleasure for many since it was released this month. One major plot point in Episode 3, “Don’t Break My Bed,” revolved around Abbey Humphreys, a gregarious, hyper-sexualized, broke Texan, doing a bartending trial at East Sixth bar Latchkey and failing miserably. Because Humphreys’s claim on that show that she had bartended “a lot,” contrasted so directly with abilities behind the bar, Eater decided to investigate.
In the episode, Humphreys interviews at Latchkey, a bar that she has never visited, and says that she has waitressed and bartended at a country club. When she is invited in for a trial, she seems significantly more nervous, saying that she “hasn’t bartended in years” (she is 26). She fails a test of correctly pouring a shot and makes a cocktail that her friends deem undrinkable, resulting in her ultimately not being invited back for the job. However, she later applies for a job at Lustre Pearl and is working there as of the final episode of the show.
Humphreys’s social media does not include information about her supposed bartending gig, and our emails to Latchkey went unanswered. However, Eater gathered a crack team of the city’s finest bartenders to answer the question: Based on the filmed evidence in Twentysomethings: Austin, has Abbey ever bartended before? Their answers, which have been lightly edited for length, are below.
Co-Owner, Nickel City
What she does right: It looks like the draft beer she poured was spot on with the amount of “head,” there’s a quick shot of her pouring two bottles at once to make presumably a margarita. Pretty sure the pours were not correct, but two-bottle-pour is something you look for in a bartender. Her shake of the cocktail was pretty spot on and her wash line (ice to liquid in the glass) of the bad cocktail was perfect.
What she does wrong: She started off the pour test by grabbing the bottle by the body and not the neck, and repeatedly does this. She also scoops the ice with the tin to fill up the glass.
Do you think she has ever bartended before? It’s tough to say — if she did, it was definitely a college bar or a beer joint. I’d say at most a semester at a non-high volume college bar.
Robert Bjorn Taylor
Formerly of Arrive East Austin hotel, Midnight Cowboy, Emmer & Rye, and others
What she does right: Admitting she was new and didn’t know what she was doing, lol.
What she does wrong: Held the bottles awkwardly, which also lead her to overpour, Shaker technique was poor. She should probably take the sunglasses off her head. Also probably shouldn’t promote getting people “fucked up.”
Do you think she has ever bartended before? I really don’t think so. People tend to get nervous behind an unfamiliar bar, but I think for a dive bar situation, it should be fairly easy to grasp the concept shortly if you’ve done it before. Even if you had been away from bartending for a while, she should know how to pour a mule, make a proper sour, and any basic cocktail. Also, she kept making the excuse that she was new. I think she was a waitress at the country club she worked for and potentially poured wine and vodka sodas, but that’s not bartending.
Co-Creator, Daijoubu, General Manager, Drink.Well
What does she do right? Well, I’ve seen a worse shake before. It didn’t last long, but she held it right.
What does she do wrong? The way she holds her bottles was the most concerning. Not every bartender makes mixed drinks or had the perfect pour, but every bartender should at least hold the bottle by the neck.
Do you think she’s been a bartender before? Maybe in a beer or wine bar or catering setting? We didn’t see her pour anything from the taps or open a bottle, so she could maybe be better at that. But with her movement and lack of confidence behind the bar, I doubt she’s ever bartender before. She looks so young that I was confused when she said “a long time ago.” Most people don’t get to bartend until they’re 21. Or at least a lot of states require you to be 18.
Obviously, she doesn’t seem practiced in any “bar technique” but more importantly, she didn’t seem to know how to “roll with it,” as any service industry person does. No matter what kind of bar you work in (dive, cocktail, restaurant, etc) you wouldn’t tell a guest, “you’re learning,” with that nervousness. You wouldn’t hand a friend a drink without tasting it yourself to tell if it was any good. You wouldn’t put your bag on top of the reach-in.
She’s charming, so I hope she keeps at it, but maybe someone will give her a couple of barback shifts first! Some real experience and a couple more training shifts, and I’m sure she’d come off as a more practiced bartender.
Bar Manager, Small Victory
What does she do right? Friendly, positive attitude, attentive to her trainer, not afraid to ask questions, seems comfortable talking to strangers.
What does she do wrong? The biggest thing that jumped out at me was how vocal she was to the guests about making mistakes. The professional thing to do would be to make small talk with them and re-make the drink.
Making jokes about getting people fucked up is pretty unprofessional, especially when you’re new and your coworkers/superiors don’t understand your ethics and integrity yet.
I’m wondering what went wrong with the drink she make for her roommate… if she really hadn’t retained even one decent recipe from back in her “previous bartending days” to make for her friend, that is not a good look. To be honest, that scene felt soooo forced and awkward. No doubt that was a bit, and not an authentic flub.
Do you think she has been a bartender before? Seems plausible, but it has probably been a while/she’s rusty, just like she claimed. Also, being thrown into a pour test and having to make menu cocktails you haven’t been able to learn on the first day is brutal.