Anyone who has ever tended bar for even one 8-hour shift knows how tiring it can be. Shaking cocktails, moving kegs, dealing with drunks, tracking cash, and keeping a positive attitude the whole time are all part of the job. It’s certainly not for everyone. However, in daring attempt to do some good, one man is taking the art of tending bar to a whole new level this week. Currently, the title to be overtaken is held by Ruth Brands of Belgium who made it to 111 hours back in 2012. Now, a bartender who works on Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) is attempting to attain the record for longest shift ever, during possibly the busiest party week of the year.
Phil Gallant is a bartender who works at Hunter’s Ale House in Charlottetown on the southeastern coast of P.E.I. Inititially, he intended to go for a record of 120 hours of tending the bar, although it would be something if he even made it to 112 hours. Currently, the area is celebrating East Coast Music Week, which started on Wednesday April 2, and ends on Sunday April 6. It is the first time this Canada-exclusive music festival will be hosted by the bar studded town since 2011 (which apparently has returned to the area due to popular demand). During this time the bars and music venues are flooded with bands and artists performing night and day.
As a way to keep the party going during the celebration of Canadian music and culture, some bars will be allowed to remain in operation 24 hours a day. Enter Phil Gallant and his “wacky” idea of attempting to break into the Guinness World Records for longest bartending shift ever. It is important to note that Phil is not just doing this for “kicks.” It is also a way to do some good. Throughout Gallant’s epic shift people will be encouraged to make donations to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation. Hunter’s Ale House, Phil’s employer, will be holding breakfast fundraisers and displaying a donations box. Interested parties may also donate online.
When recently asked how the bartender is faring, Phil replied that he is “pretty tired.” No surprise there. Apparently he does get some break time, however. He is allotted five minutes of personal time for every hour he works, which breaks down to about 25 minutes every five hours or one hour for every 11 worked: “For the first 23 hours I didn’t take a single break,” Phil stated. He has been accruing time throughout the process in order to take longer rest periods.
“I’m actually blown away by the support and the attention it’s gathered”, he added. When Phil started the shift on Wednesday at 10am, he didn’t expect to receive such a huge reaction. Apparently, he has been gleefully cheered on by bar patrons, and has had an overwhelming response on Facebook and Twitter. As this P.E.I. bartender attempts to set the record for longest shift ever, one can only imagine the moments of fatigue and doubt that may set in. Yet, his attitude only points towards an ultimate victory. Referring to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital drive, Gallant added: “I just thought it was a great opportunity to help out wherever I could”. Phil needs to make it to the early morning hour of 2am Monday, April 7, in order to break the record.
Opinion by Josh Taub