Shift Drinks: Amber Dorcus

Amber Dorcus works as a server and bartender at Local 188 and LFK in Portland, Maine. She is pictured with Maker's neat and a Schlitz chaser. 

Is that what you typically drink after a shift? 

Yes, always. I don't really know why. It started with just whiskey back when I was 25 but then I found out that I was drinking it too fast. I started drinking it with the chaser to slow it down.

Who brought that to your attention? Did someone intervene to suggest that you weren't appreciating your whiskey appropriately, or…


So just your life was telling you? [Laughter] 

Yes. [Laughter] Too much whiskey too fast.

When did you start working in restaurants? 

I started waiting tables three years ago at Local [188]. I went on a road trip for two and a half months, came back and didn't want any responsibility and I didn't want to manage anybody so I asked people I knew around town about work. I knew that I could host because it is just about customer service but instead of hosting I got put on serving.

How did it go at first? 

It was very frightening to be in charge of someone's dinner. There is that person and they want to have a great time at dinner and you are in charge of that. If it doesn't go well, they are never coming back so that was a lot of pressure on me having never done it before. But it has since gotten easier. It is awesome because you get to work with a lot of people, which I love.

What have you learned about people from your time waiting tables and behind a bar?

People are amazing and everybody is completely different. I knew this before, but when you do what I do and you see people start drinking you see a different side of them. You get a lot of stories. I even see different sides of my friends when they come in to just hang out.

What is a recent experience that sticks out? 

I met a girl, a small girl… a small human? She is in preschool. I met her at LFK one evening. She came in with her parents. I was their waitress and she kind of adopted me. She wouldn't stop staring at me so I went over and talked with her. At the end of their meal she got up with her parents to leave but before they went she pulled on her mom's hand and told her to stop and she came over and gave me a hug. Her name was Sarah. She was absolutely amazing.

So you have that access to get to know people, which is great. 

Yes... Random people hugging me.

Which, as long as it is four year old girls, is totally fine. 

Yes! The other end of the spectrum… not so much. [Laughter]

NOTE: This interview originally ran in April of 2014.