The Bartender | Nora Georgieva
Colorful lights flash all around the hall in a pattern that makes one feel dizzy. Deep techno music blasts from the speakers mounted on the wall. Hundreds of people dance in an almost mesmerizing manner with the fog machines emitting clouds of dense smoke.
The 22 year old Nora Georgieva stands behind the dimly lit bar of Metropolis, resting her cheek on her palm during the few minutes of rest she gets while working. Being one of the bartenders of Metropolis, one of the biggest techno party organizers in Sofia, is a tough job.
A customer waves to grab her attention. She lets the six-foot-something tattooed man whisper in her ear, and then nods, indicating that she’s understood his order despite the loud music blasting all around.
“The scariest-looking people are often the sweetest,” Nora almost screams out, but it’s still barely heard over the music. She bends down to grab a bottle of whiskey, then pours it into two shot glasses with a certain degree of expertise behind every single movement of hers. “The people with face tattoos and muscles bigger than my face treat me the best.”
Clicking her glass against the customer’s, the two of them take a shot. She doesn’t even bat an eyelash at the taste of burning alcohol running down her throat.
After that, Nora walks around the bar, going out for her 30-minute break in the middle of the night.
Serving hundreds of customers a night for 12 hours straight with only a 30-minute break is not a job anyone could do. Nora, however, is absolutely in love with her job.
COVID has proved to play a huge role when it comes to Nora’s job, though.
“Clubs can still keep working somewhat if the employees and customers are vaccinated and there’s social distancing. But in techno parties, our parties, people just simply can’t social distance. We get 700–800 customers a night, sometimes we hit 1200 if the DJ is popular. You can’t social distance at a place like this.”
She has been working for Metropolis for four years now, ever since she was 18. Her parents held extremely high expectations for her, hoping that she would continue studying medicine after graduating high school.
“They didn’t have the money, so I took a gap year to work. My friend told me about Metropolis, and I decided to try since they weren’t looking for a person with experience. I ended up loving it here so much that I never quit. I never even applied to university,” Nora shares as she leans against the wall, lighting up her cigarette. Outside, the music is muffled.
“I make probably double than what a nurse makes, but they still refuse to talk to me,” she laughs, but it’s bittersweet. “I love working here, though. I’ve met incredible people.”
On her first day of work, she had a drunk woman jump at her behind the bar and try to attack her because they didn’t serve a certain kind of alcohol. “It’s a techno party. We don’t serve any fancy drinks. It’s all vodka, whiskey, beer. That’s about as complicated as it gets.”
She promises it’s not as dangerous as one would imagine, though. “Security’s always ten seconds away. The customers are mostly young people, and almost all of them are understanding. I really wouldn’t trade this job for anything.”
Tsvetana Ilieva is majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Bulgaria. After interviewing Nora, she has learnt that the toughest-looking people are more often than not the softest.