"Drink with a purpose" is a line probably heard sometime early in your drinking career. And that is all the bartenders in the Barman's Fund ask from you when they dedicate one bar shift per month to earning tips for charities.
Founded in 2011 by Brooklyn bartender Brian Floyd, the Barman's Fund is a "motley assortment" of bartenders from around the country who coordinate and dedicate one bar shift per month where every dollar earned in tips goes to charitable organizations or anyone who needs the money. There are five chapters in five U.S. locations, including Palm Beach County, where the newest one was formed by Lion and Eagle English Pub bartender and Boca Raton native Stephanie Kramer.
Formerly based in New Orleans, Kramer was a part of the Barman's chapter there with fellow bartender Holly Williams before moving back to her hometown of Boca Raton last September. During the transition, Kramer emailed Floyd about starting a chapter in Palm Beach County.
The biggest challenge, Kramer said, was finding enough bartenders to participate in the fund. But she eventually found them and now boasts of 11 participants, all from Boca Raton. However, Kramer is hoping to spread the fund to other parts of the county and beyond. So far, she has received interest from bartenders in West Palm Beach and Delray Beach.
Individually each member chooses one night per month where all tips earned go to charity. They generally seek out local nonprofit charitable organizations that support people materially in immediate and tangible ways, asking them for wishlists.
Members are located at other bars around the county: Our Place in Boca Raton, The Irishmen, The Dubliner and The Black Rose Irish Pub. The Irishman has three members who donate their tips on the second Tuesday of each month.
Their first donation went to Little Smiles, providing tote bags with toys and such to children who are in the hospital.
Kramer's next Barman's shift on May 25, who is donating tips along with colleague Rob Small. Bartender Lauren Strong at The Black Rose will be donating tips from her shift this Saturday. The group hopes to raise enough money for the local Boys and Girls Club to send one boy and one girl to summer camp. The cost is typically $1,000 per child, according to Kramer.
According to its Facebook page, the group has collectively raised and donated more than $184,000.
With the amount of wealthy folk who frequent bars, the Barman's Fund may have found a proper home in Palm Beach County. And with the way Kramer sees things, there is no excuse for bartenders to not give up at least one shift per month to donate their earnings for a good cause.
As a drinker, tipping the bartender a little extra on Barman's night means your money goes a long way.
"I've always volunteered and grew up doing it," Kramer said. "I like to keep the beat. There's something else to do than always going out and drinking all of the time."
And the group is not exclusively for bartenders but any service industry personnel, including barbacks, servers, or waiters.
Anyone in South Florida interested in joining the Palm Beach County chapter of the Barman's Fund should contact Stephanie Kramer at the Lion and Eagle Pub at 561-989-4805.