In Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the bartender appears when Jack Torrance offers his soul for a drink. The apparition appears without warning or introduction. Not even a puff of smoke at his feet. Jack bestows his bartender the name of “Lloyd”. For a drink, Jack praises Lloyd as the best bartender anywhere and starts venting about his wife and the regret when he pulled Danny’s arm out of his socket. Lloyd seems to keep his distance but listens attentively. We learn that this is happening in his mind as Jack falls into a trance on his stool.
Jack would make a second visit to The Gold Room. This time the room is one large party set in 1920’s decor. Lloyd appears in close ups. He is getting into Jack’s head and soul. The Overlook bribes him with drinks on the house. Its reasons are mysterious. However, Jack’s free drink begins a chain of events that leads him to the men’s room. There he meets Mr. Grady who makes an evil proposition to deal with his son. In Kubrick’s vision, the bartender is the keeper who opens the gate into the Shining where reality and the spirit world meet.
In Stephen King’s The Shining TV mini-series, the bartender is known as Grady. He makes himself known by physically tapping Jack on the shoulder. Located in a small lounge, Grady directs Jack to go to the ball room where he waited to attend a party. Unlike the film, Jack doesn’t vent his family troubles. Instead he celebrates drinking again. But as long as Grady pours, Jack will listen to anything he says.
Kubrick split Grady into two personalities, the man serving drinks behind the bar and the spirit who tries to convince him to murder his family. In both versions, the bartender makes suggestions to linger in the ball room to hear what the spirits have to stay.
The bigger budget and cinematography gives Kubrick’s version an advantage. The film made The Overlook a hotel larger than life as if you’re walking through the dream. For characters in the dream, Kubrick’s bartender was more ghostly.
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining
Stephen King’s The Shining TV mini-series