Slideshow: Ask a Bartender: Your Worst Injuries Behind the Bar

Boiling Sugar Burn
Boiling Sugar Burn
"Besides multiple cuts and stitches from sloppy knife work, the worst injury I’ve gotten was when I was making a lime and peppercorn sugar syrup and spilled it on my right hand—boiling sugar is one of the most painful burns, hands down." — Johnny Swet (JIMMY at The James, et al.)
Martini Glasses Turn Lethal
Martini Glasses Turn Lethal
"I was at Beso in Hollywood about 3 years ago. I was shaking a cocktail in one hand and and grabbed a martini glass with the other. A guest yelled for my attention. I turned my head and so did my shoulders. This made my shaker crack off the bottom half of the Martini glass, splitting my finger open on both sides. I grabbed a napkin to stop the bleeding while I finished the drink. I grabbed another martini glass, set it down and went in for the hard shake on the shaker. When I stepped into my shake I stepped directly on the stem of the martini driving it through my shoe and foot. At this point my leg gave out. I hit the floor like a ton of bricks. Yanked the stem out. Stood up and finished the cocktail. Then excused myself to bandage my foot. And then finished my shift. With a half moon scar as a souvenir..." — Alex Straus (Bon Vivants)
Tendonitis
Tendonitis
"Aside from the standard cuts and peeled fingers and glass in the whatever, I see a lot of tendonitis in bartenders. Happened to me, just long long shifts repetitively shaking drinks all night." —Mike Ryan (Sable)
Wrist to Elbow
Wrist to Elbow
"I had this kid working for me and during training the fellow bartenders and I told him not to tap the glass on the wood… One day he did exactly what we told him not to do and he broke the glass and sliced his forearm from wrist to elbow… OUCH!" — Antoine Nixon (Bocanova)
Sink of Glass
Sink of Glass
"Any bartender that's never stuck their hand in a sink full of broken glass has not proven their worth. Working though a Friday night with duct tape and krazy glue on at least two fingers should be considered a rite of passage. Also picking up the slack for your partner while they're in the ER getting stitches for 3 hours counts." — George Costa (Pub & Kitchen)
Stabbed With Ice Picks
Stabbed With Ice Picks
"We use ice picks to create custom ice for our cocktails and a few times I've stabbed my hand during service. Never fun." — Pamela Wiznitzer (Dead Rabbit)
Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder Injuries
"You get the shoulder injuries or rotator cuff problems every once in awhile. I've seen people slip and fall by not wearing the right shoes before. I also remember the first night I ever barbacked, someone put a broken glass bottle in the compostable bin and I pushed down with my hand and almost cut off the ring finger on my left hand. It really wasn't fun." — Brian Means (Fifth Floor)
Back Problems
Back Problems
"I threw out my back picking up a bar mat once (and didn't realize it until the next day, after I went out dancing with pals), but that was nothing compared to a cocktail server I worked with. She fell down some steps that connected the kitchen to the bar and fell onto some of the broken glass from her tray. It was pretty ugly." — Elizabeth Powell (Liberty Bar)
Exploding Shakers
Exploding Shakers
"Most people don't realize we get hurt all the time, from tiny scrapes and paper cuts to things more serious.  My roommate somehow manages to cut himself on almost every shift.  I had the glass from a Boston shaker explode in my hands once night, it cut right through the webbing between my thumb and index finger.  I ended up being covered in blood and Midori, I was a sticky, bloody, melon-y mess!" — John Henderson (Scholars, Tavern Road)