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The term bargirl can be used to define two different types of jobs, but the most common use of the word describes a woman who is paid by a nightclub owner to frequent the premises. She is expected to move around the bar, spending time with customers in an effort to encourage them to buy more drinks. In many ways, they are like hostesses. A bargirl is also sometimes used in reference to a bartender’s assistant, or “barback.” The job involves performing menial tasks behind the bar, such as washing dishes and stocking liquor supply.
In parts of Southeast Asia and the Philippines, many young women earn their living by becoming a bargirl. Typically, they sit at the bar and allow male customers to buy them drinks. From the perspective of the bar owner, having a bargirl helps attract male customers. Some nightclubs employ several bargirls, in the hopes that having several attractive, unattached women inside the bar will entice customers to stay longer and spend more money. Though bargirls are more common in Southeast Asia, many bar owners all over the world employ women in similar positions.
Sometimes bargirls are paid a straight wage, but often their pay is based on a percentage of the income they help generate. When customers buy them drinks, the bargirl typically receives a percentage of the drink price. In some bars, they are expected to generate a certain amount of money each night, after which they can end their shift. This fixed price is sometimes referred to as a “bar fine.” Often, a bargirl will encourage customers to pay the bar fine in full, after which she will typically spend extra time with the customer, often sitting and drinking with them until they leave the club.
Bargirls who work behind the bar are usually responsible for helping the bartender in a number of ways, such as stocking beer and liquor, washing dishes, and keeping the work areas clean. In rare cases, they may be allowed to mix simple drinks and serve customers. Most of the time, a bargirl who works behind the bar receives “shift pay,” a fixed amount of money for each shift she works. In addition to this base pay, most bargirls are tipped by the bartender at the end of the shift. Some bars insist the tip be based on a percentage of tips earned by the bartender, though in some cases, the bartender can tip the bargirl at his own discretion.