HER studio apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is just shy of 400 square feet, barely enough room for an Ikea open-shelf bookcase, a chocolate-brown tufted couch, a full-size bed and her brindle-coated Shih Tzu, Charlie. So when Claudia Argiro, 33, gave a holiday party last Saturday night, she pared down her guest list to about two dozen of her closest friends, hid the TV behind an industrial column wrapped with holiday lights and turned the media console into a bar. But one thing she had to have was a bartender.
“I’m an adult now, living by myself, and this is my sh-bam, my moment,” said Ms. Argiro, who runs a clothing boutique nearby called Charlie and Sam.
She called up Tealicious, a catering company in Queens, which sent over Eric Villani, a 33-year-old bartender, who was stationed in a two-foot-wide triangle in the middle of the room. For the next four hours, Mr. Villani stood there, not to make special cocktails, but to pour a vodka punch or a rum eggnog into clear plastic cups, trimmed with sugar-coated cherries and cinnamon sticks. His presence did not go unheralded in the apartment, in a new warehouse conversion along the Brooklyn waterfront, although the intimate cluster of guests could have easily served themselves.
“In my opinion, if you don’t have a bartender at your party, you’re a loser,” said Dustin Terry, who lives a floor below Ms. Argiro and said his job was to get models and Saudi royalty into hot clubs. “The bartender brings class and sophistication.” “If you can’t afford to hire a bartender,” he added, “you shouldn’t be having a party.”
That seems to be the consensus of a growing crowd of 30-something New Yorkers who wish to signal they’ve graduated from post-collegiate squalor to young professional coming of age. No matter how small their abodes, they won’t invite friends over for cocktails without the assistance of a bartender — even if there’s barely room for the bartender to stand.