Local bartenders raise money for fallen or disabled military and first responders scholarship fund

PARK CITY, Utah — More than 650 bartenders from Utah gathered at The Westerner in Salt Lake City for the 6th Annual Bartender Recharge, themed this year “The Spirit of Service.”

Organized by Casey Metzger of Top Shelf Bartending and Seth Hill of The Downstairs in Park City, this popular event celebrates bartenders who work tirelessly in the service industry and raise funds for a worthy cause. With donations still being accepted, the event has already generated over $5,000 for the Folds of Honor Scholarship Fund.

The Folds of Honor was started by L.T. Col Rooney in 2007. The mission of the organization began by providing life-changing scholarships to the spouses and children of America’s fallen or disabled military, and now it has expanded to include the families of America’s first responders.

“The first bartender recharge took place during the Sundance Film Festival, Seth and I wanted to throw just an industry  party, because we had resources and we wanted to throw a party for bartenders only, because we were working night in and night out,” Metzger said. “Bartenders are always at the other side of the bar and we are at every party but we are working our tails off.

“After the first one, Seth and I realized there was something special about it. I had never seen a vibe like I saw that night.”

Bartenders are some of the hardest-working people in the service industry. They work long hours, on their feet, and deal with a variety of customers. Many are doing the job of bartending as a side hustle; a few of the people honored that night were first responders and military. With over 750 bartenders in their database, all have the opportunity to nominate people they work with.

“Our last one was in January of 2020; it was on Main Street [Park City]; there was no alcohol and it was during the day; it was a health and wellness lounge,” Metzger added. “It is a tough trade; we have lost a lot of staff in our sector, people value their time differently now, and a lot of them don’t work two jobs anymore. This year, we really wanted to acknowledge the people that stepped it up and are still in the industry; we wanted to honor members in our bartender community that actually serve in other ways.”

The event is invitation-only, sent via a bar key with a QR code that is passed around the community.

Courtesy of Casey Metzger

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