A bartender is an industry professional trained to mix and serve alcoholic beverages at a licensed bar, inn, or restaurant. In addition to mixing drinks and serving nachos, bartenders are often called upon to serve as listening posts to inebriated customers who wish to speak upon their woes. In this capacity, bartenders must also work as pseudo-psychiatrists, always willing to offer a sympathetic ear to someone in need.
Bartenders appear quite regularly in horror fiction. One example of a bartender is Bob Rooney, a minor character who made recurring appearances on the original Gothic soap opera series Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. Played by actor Bob O'Connell, Mister Rooney was the bartender at a drinking establishment called the Blue Whale. Bob could almost always be found standing behind the bar in his plaid shirt with a white rag, wiping down the bar and serving customers. In fact, he was there so often that it appeared as if he never had a day off. Bob was not a particularly chatty individual, but in a one-pub town such as Collinsport, Maine, he had established himself as a familiar visage among the locals and everyone knew his name.
Not every bartender in supernatural fiction was as omnipresent as good ole Bob Rooney. Sam Merlotte for example, is one of the central figures on the HBO television series True Blood. He is the owner and operator of Merlotte's Bar and Grill located in the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Although he loves his job, Sam is not always reliable for being at work when needed and is often out and about dealing with his own personal traumas. When Sam is unavailable, the bartending duties fall upon a young woman named Tara Thornton. Tara is not trained or licensed as a bartender, but she probably has more experience than most. By her own account, she has been mixing whiskey sours for her mother since she was a child.