Posts Tagged ‘bartending’

The Bad Bartender Chronicles IV

August 4, 2012

There is a disturbing new breed of so-called bartenders that was first discovered in North Park and parts of Los Angeles but now seem to be plaguing once respectable bars everywhere. They call themselves mixologists because they claim to make a superior cocktail that requires mixing a bunch of random shit together to make fifteen dollar drinks that take forty five minutes to serve. Some would call these mixologists skilled craftsmen while others might refer to them as flaming douchebags. I would fall in line with the latter as a bartender who doesn’t have such a vast knowledge of the four hundred different uses of the juniper berry.

I like to call these masters of the mojito Cosmetic Bartenders because they always look good but when you peer beyond their physical makeup you will find a gross lack of efficiency. Cosmetic Bartenders dress in tuxedo gear without the jackets. Rolled sleeves expose any barbed wire tattoos they might have gotten when they were nineteen. Their hair and adjustable mustaches will be overly greased with ozone depleting hair gel.

What’s strange is that dive bars seem to be a large part of the Cosmetic Bartender plague. The only place for a tuxedo behind a bar is a wedding or four star dining. There is something extremely wrong if you are wearing a tuxedo as you work behind a bar that still reeks of whatever liquor was spilled the night before. That’s like having a restroom attendant hand out mints in a bathroom covered in vomit.

At the end of the day as long as I get my drink poured strong and in a timely fashion I don’t give a shit what the person serving it is wearing. Unfortunately, most of the stuff these Cosmetic Bartenders specialize in takes twenty minutes to prepare. This is for two reasons. The first is there are many ingredients that all seem to require a special process. All their recipes require stuff that needs to be muddled or needs flavor strands extracted from them. They also shave their own ice which is a complete waste of time if you work somewhere lucky enough to have an ice scoop and an ice machine.

The second reason it takes so long to get a drink from a Cosmetic Bartender is because they do not possess any sense of urgency behind the bar. They are too busy concocting new ways to make whiskey not taste like whiskey to hustle like most hard working bartenders. To a Cosmetic Bartender looking good and making a colorful drink takes precedent over providing speedy and efficient customer service.

I once overheard a Cosmetic Bartender brag about how he could make a mojito in just twelve minutes. That’s right, one drink takes twelve minutes and they consider that fast. I can make twenty four drinks in twelve minutes and my well crafted mai tai will take fifteen seconds and taste just as refreshing as any drink that requires the blood of a virgin to make. I like serving lots of people quickly and competently rather than wasting my time trying to re-invent the art of pouring liquor.

Perhaps the only people who hate Cosmetic Bartenders more than me are their bar backs. Imagine that every drink made at a busy bar requires a shaker, spoons, knives, muddlers, three types of glasses, a blender and a jigger. Guess who gets to clean all that? It’s the bar backs. So while these well dressed monkeys mix their twenty minute drinks as casually as one would walk along the beach, their poor bar backs are trying to keep a bar stocked where employees use more glasses than customers do.

Bar owners deserve some of the blame of this return to those glorious days of speakeasies and gentlemen bartenders. If you encourage your bartenders to take as much time as possible to mix a twelve dollar drink then you deserve to go out of business. Any good bar operates on the idea that the more drinks you sell the more money you make. When it takes a combined half hour to get two measly drinks then people begin to grow bored with the fancy appeal that these specialty concoctions offer.

There is a large customer demand amongst females for Cosmetic Bartenders which is another influencing factor in this annoying phenomenon.  I believe this is a cry for attention by the fairer sex. Where else is a man going to spend twenty minutes catering to a woman’s every desire by crafting something specifically for them while all they have to do is sit and watch?

Anyone willing to wait the twenty minutes it takes to make an allegedly perfect cocktail absolutely has my support as long as you realize that Cosmetic Bartending doesn’t exist at every bar in the country. What that means is don’t walk into an English pub and order a single plum floating in perfume served in a man’s hat and not expect to be met with laughter and possible ridicule.

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Every Night Amateur

July 14, 2012

The term amateur night is usually used to describe New Year’s Eve. It is the one night a year where everybody who never goes to the bar decides that New Year’s is the night to do so. Any veteran drinker knows to stay away from even their most regular of establishments on such a night to avoid being surrounded by virginal bar goers spewing curdled car bombs all over the bar as they blow furiously on squeaky noise makers.

I’m here to say that it’s not just on New Year’s Eve that you, the general drunken public, should be wary of amateurs. On a nightly and on some nights an hourly basis I witness people doing some really stupid shit that makes you wonder whether or not they are mentally challenged in some way. Unfortunately they usually aren’t. It is much more likely that they are every night amateurs.

Every night amateurs behave in a manner that suggests that they have never been to a bar before in their entire life. This is not true. These people have been to bars before and some of them on a semi-regular basis. Despite this they still don’t realize that there is a certain way you are supposed to act in a public setting where alcohol is being served.

For example don’t bang on the bar, ever. Never reach into my fruit caddy or you will feel the wrath of my iron clad bottle opener, also known as Excalibur, which has bruised the shit out of many a fruit stealing fingers. When you approach a bar always have your id and money ready so that a transaction that should only take thirty seconds doesn’t turn into a five minute ordeal. If you don’t want to be labeled an every night amateur then use common sense and realize that if a bartender overhears you telling the total stranger sitting next you that he is over tipping, you most likely will never get served at that bar again.

The latest every night amateur trend seems to be ordering a drink and then walking away. That way when I return with their drink they are nowhere to be found. Nothing is more frustrating to a bartender who is busy then to have to seek a customer out to serve them. I’m not sure of the logic behind walking away after placing an order. It’s not like it’s going to take me fifteen minutes to fill a glass with some ice and some vodka cranberry. I didn’t give you a number and tell you we would call you over the loudspeaker when your order was up so why in the hell would you ever walk away right after asking me to make you something that takes fifteen seconds?

Every night amateurs come in couples some times. You can spot them because they will be the unattractive pair sloppily making out while sitting at the bar with no regard for anyone who happens to be around them. Drunken public displays of affection are the worst kind. Not only are they sloppy but they are noisy so that every smack of lips, lick of tongues or gnashing of teeth can be heard by anyone within five stools of the nasty couple. Visible tongue twisting and neck slurping can cause many a stomachs to turn. The worst is when this already disgusting display of every night amateur foreplay leads to an under the jacket hand job. When this occurs it must be stopped immediately or else spilled beer and melted water won’t be the only substances staining your bar.

The older an every night amateur is the more difficult they are to deal with. They have been acting like jackasses in public for so long that they actually believe that their behavior is acceptable. This makes every action of an older every night amateur much more extreme. What that means is they will be louder, dumber and more offensive than possibly any person you have ever come across. That also means that when they start making out with whatever other ancient fossil they come across who happens to be just as horny as them that their drunken public display of affection will always end with either an 86ing or a bar sprayed down with elderly semen.

We as bar employees deserve some blame for the high number of older every night amateurs that are out there. If they have been acting in such a moronic way for so long that means somebody somewhere should have said something like, “Hey asshole how about you stop whistling and calling me sweet cheeks or else I’m going to rip your tongue out of your mouth and smack the shit out of you with it.” Any bar owner who doesn’t allow his or her staff to properly police and educate the animal-like behavior that goes on at every bar in the world is doing you, the general drunken public, a disservice. If you don’t call an every night amateur out they will act like a dickbag for the rest of their lives and most likely raise a family of half-wit dickbags that will terrorize innocent bar employees and regulars until the end of time.

The worst offense an every night amateur can perform is the defamation of a check book or credit card receipt. If you don’t want to tip that’s fine, there is a special restaurant in hell you will be waiting tables at when you die, but being cheap is your right. However, vulgarities of any kind found on company property are unacceptable. That means that slipping a condom in a checkbook, drawing a penis or making obscene comments or simply writing fuck you on a credit card receipt will be met with swift action. Disrespectful behavior such as that is an abomination wrapped in an abomination marinated in hot sauce topped with melted Gouda served on a cheese cracker and should result in public humiliation, aggressive 86ing and, possibly, leg breaking.

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You’re 86ed!

June 17, 2012

It takes a special kind of dirt bag to get 86ed from a bar. It is the highest level of bar discipline there is. First you get cut off, then you get kicked out, but to be 86ed means you went below and beyond the worst of human behavior. Getting 86ed requires more than simply falling out of a stool or vomiting in a plant. You have to reach an extreme level of douchebaggery to receive a lifetime ban. With 81 unassisted 86ing’s on my stat sheet I would like to share my expertise on the subject so that you can avoid ever being banned from a bar for life.

First of all never swing first. What that means is if you don’t instigate a fight a fight usually won’t find you. I have found that people who get into bar fights go out looking for them. There are guys out there who believe that fighting is a way to solve simple bar disagreements. They suck down countless vodka red bulls and then have two options; have a heart attack or start a fight. I prefer they choose the first option but they never seem to.

Fights are bad for business and are a serious buzzkill. People get hurt; girls start screaming and most of the time the cops show up. Pain, female screaming and the police aren’t exactly my idea of a party. If they are yours you won’t last long at my bar. Starting a fight is an automatic 86ing and if you happen to hit my door guy he is likely to break your fucking legs so that you have to crawl to whatever bar you plan on starting shit at next.

In some cases where fights are involved the instigator isn’t the only one to be 86ed. If you get in the way or ignore our attempts at breaking up a fight you will be 86ed. If you escalate the fight to a higher level of violence, like say cracking a pool cue over a guy’s head, not only will you be 86ed, you will also be billed for a new pool cue.

In order to be welcomed back to a bar you must respect that bar and its policies. The most important policy a bar must uphold is to not sell alcohol to minors. If a bar or one of its employees get caught doing so they can be fined, lose their liquor license or can even be arrested.  That’s why if you come into my bar with a minor and try to sneak them drinks you will be 86ed.

I work with an elite staff that take their jobs very seriously and are damn good at them. No matter how sneaky you think you are being we will always catch you. We are smart enough to know that those two shots you claimed are “both for me bro” aren’t, and as soon as you walk away you are on immediate watch. At that point it is only a matter of time before we bounce both you and the sixteen year-old girl you passed that second shot off to. If you want to get a minor wasted do it at home like a normal parent or older brother or statutory rapist.

In addition to respecting bar policies it is important to treat the bar staff with that same level of respect. We are here to help you have a good time so don’t fuck with us. Bar employees have to put up with a lot of shit but crossing certain lines will absolutely get you 86ed. The second you throw a shot glass or a handful of fruit at me you will be 86ed. If you decide to talk shit about me or one of my fellow bar employees or even the bar at which I work you will be 86ed. If you threaten to break a bar stool over my head because I cut you off you will be 86ed.

Sexually harassing bar employees is the easiest way to get yourself banned from a bar for life. Whether it’s a hungry pack of Human Female Hyenas molesting a defenseless bar back or a group of frat boys hounding an innocent hostess any unwanted and aggressive come on that crosses the line will get you 86ed. That means no touching us, ever. This rule mainly applies to female employees. The second your hand grabs the ass or breast of a female employee you will be lucky to leave with that limb still attached to your body.

There doesn’t necessarily need to be a specific reason for 86ing someone. Over time the accumulation of minor infractions can add up to getting a repeat offender of bar policy 86ed for no reason at all. If you are repeatedly rude, disrespectful, don’t tip, and are hated by regulars and employees then you will be banned from every decent bar you ever frequent. It eventually gets to the point where it is so evident what a dickbag a certain individual is that I may 86 them simply for saying hello.

People who get 86ed always seem to try to come back. Not just once, but multiple times. No matter how many times you try to explain to someone they are 86ed they never seem to grasp that it is for life. There is no getting un-86ed once the final verdict has been handed down. All appeals will fall on deaf ears. Making excuses or apologizing or begging is not going to undo what ever asinine act got you 86ed in the first place. My advice to anyone I’ve ever 86ed is to save your time and your breath and find some other bar to act like an asshole at.

The Bad Bartender Chronicles III

May 12, 2012

With modern technology cell phones have come a long way. Devices that used to be dedicated to just phone conversations have evolved into mini computers that allow people to avoid human contact with other people for weeks at a time. These hi-tech phones also allow people to ignore each other in a blatant manner under the guise of being busy on one’s phone. This has especially become rampant in the bar business where it seems bartenders feel like they need to constantly have their cell phone within arm’s reach.

I understand there are special circumstances. People have kids and sick loved ones and gambling problems and in the event of an emergency may need to leave the bar to take a call. However, nowadays people normally want their phone around in case they think of something witty to post on twitter or want to leave a comment on facebook every time they think of a new way to pour a cactus cooler or because they are engrossed in a new app they just downloaded that tells them what kind of panties a girl is wearing as she walks by.

There is nothing more frustrating than walking into a bar with a strong thirst for a pint and upon sitting down seeing a bartender with his back to the bar. Upon further inspection, you see that he is standing in front of the register and briefly you forgive him for breaking this golden rule of bartending. After almost a minute it becomes evident that there is no transaction being processed through the register. You peer down the bar and see that there are five people waiting all with empty glasses. The music is loud but even over it you can hear the bartender give out a chuckle. You move down a few stools for a better view and see that the bartender is too busy on his phone texting to even know that you want a drink. If you ever witness this leave whatever establishment you are at immediately.

The internet in the palm of one’s hand can be very distracting. Some people feel as if armed with this power of information they are able to answer any question or issue thrown their way. Bars have long been a place of great debate. The key to winning most debates are facts and what used to be found in dictionaries, sports almanacs and classic issues of playboy can now be found in modern day cell phones.

Of course there is always the guy who believes his fancy phone can find any piece of information no matter how obscure or asinine the fact faster than anyone else, anywhere. He wears his phone on his hip ready for any software duel. As always there is a regular game for the challenge. They draw their phones and race to find out what 1980’s movie featured the Paul Simon song that just finished playing on the jukebox.  I watch from my side of the bar as the bartender leans both elbows on the bar top as he furiously types his way through countless pages of 1980’s movie trivia. Once my glass of whiskey goes without for five minutes or more my patience wears out and I leave, never return to such a place.

A cell phone’s original purpose, once again, was to be a mobile device people could have phone conversations on. Even that most simple function of a cell phone shouldn’t be used when one is working behind the bar. Only two results can come from this, either people are going to be rudely ignored or receive shitty and absent-minded service.

For example take the girl who will continue to serve people while chatting away on the phone. You’ve seen her before. She prances around the bar mis-pouring drinks because she is only half listening to orders while the other half of her half a brain is listening to whoever is on the other side of her cell phone. It’s even worse when after fucking up she apologizes, covers the mouthpiece of the phone and mouths the words “my boss” to you. For some reason she thinks this makes it okay. If this statement is actually true then it makes me wonder why the fuck am I spending money at a bar owned by someone dumb enough to condone such behavior in their business.

The other girl will just stare at you while she talks on her phone. It is apparent whatever conversation she is holding is far more important than getting me drunk, making herself and the bar money or most simply doing her fucking job. Whether she is laughing or feigning sadness to whoever is rambling in her ear, her lack of common sense is never lost on me. Then, when I try to engage her in a last ditch effort to get my drink on, she sticks a bony smoke stained finger with a hot pink painted nail in my face signaling for me to hold on. You are supposed to put phones on hold, not people. As soon as that finger finds its way somewhere near my face I fight the urge to snap it and simply just leave.

To all the bartenders out there who are going to read this and say, “Hey bro, what’s the big deal?” I say you are in a business where making a lot of money is directly related to the happiness of the people you are serving. Talking to your boss because he or she believes they are more important than their customers means the bar they own won’t be in business much longer. Texting your friend that you can’t wait to get off work so you can get drunk is not going to put money in your tip bucket. Twittering every five minutes to keep your four followers informed on exactly what you are doing at all times is only going to leave you with an empty bar. Most importantly, to all be warned that the next time I see a bartender using their cell phone behind the bar I am going to snatch it and stuff it in a very dark place. I encourage you, the general drunken public, to do the same.

 

 


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