Posts Tagged ‘establishment’

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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Tony D., East Vista, CA. GULPU

April 28, 2012

A husband and wife walk into the bar. He is a fifty year old wearing a Hawaiian shirt half buttoned and she is homely and half his age. She is pushing a stroller with their child inside it. Most bars aren’t kid friendly, but since our establishment is both a restaurant and a pub we encourage families to be comfortable there. In fact a lot of our regulars bring in their sweet, well-mannered and well-behaved children all the time and not only do we as employees embrace them but other customers do as well.

This is why when this man strolled up with his kid and his darts no one really thought much of it. He approaches the bar. After waiting less than a minute he grows impatient and begins waving his cash in the air. I walk over to him.

“Jack and Coke. And whatever she wants,” he says.

He points over his shoulder at the woman he walked in with who is frantically trying to find a safer place than a crowded dart room in a busy pub for her to store her child. As she does she dodges darts until she finally finds a safe corner for her kid and her to sit. She begins to order, but does so in what sounded like German. She spoke as if she expected me to understand her. I stopped her finally and began to respond in English. She held up her finger and waved it in my face before turning and calling for the man in the Hawaiian shirt. He was playing darts so it took a minute to get his attention. She waved him over. He leaned on the bar, annoyed.

“I said a Jack and Coke.”

“Right, what is she having?” I asked pointing at his wife.

He nodded.

“Vodka Tonic. Make it the cheap stuff.”

I made their drinks and by the time I returned he was back to playing darts. I placed the drinks in front of the foreigner and told her it was nine dollars. She stared blankly at me. I motioned money with my fingers and she finally got it pulling out a twenty. I gave her some change which she pocketed.

Then the crying began. It started out quietly and brief, but slowly transformed into the sound of a constant scream. It was the kid. I scanned the bar and received annoyed looks from my happy hour regulars. The screaming stopped but continued to ring in my ears for several seconds longer. The guy returns with an empty glass.

“I don’t think there was any whiskey in that drink so make this one a double,” he says as he waves his money in my face.

I pull out a glass and a shot glass. I measure the drink to exactly two ounces and top it off with coke. He pays without tipping.

“Do you guys have any snacks? She’s hungry,” he says as he nods to his mail order bride.

I slide him a menu. He slides it back.

“No, no, I meant like peanuts or crackers or something.”

“No we do not, sir.”

“What kind of restaurant is this?”

He goes back to playing darts. I serve some other people when out of the corner of my eye I see him standing halfway in the doorway to the kitchen. I rush over and find him harassing the kitchen staff for soup crackers which unfortunately they give to him. I inform the man he is not to be bothering the kitchen and he walks away without acknowledging me.

I return to the bar and see that his wife is dousing the soup crackers in Tabasco sauce and shoving them down her throat. The screaming begins again shortly after that. The mother tries to console the child but to no avail. The father keeps playing darts not even looking over at her or the child. He returns to the bar and orders another double. I inform him that it would be appreciated if he could get the kid to stop screaming. He shrugs me off and returns to the dart board again without leaving a tip.

The screaming stops and everyone sitting at the bar and those sitting in the section of tables to the left of the dartboard release a collective sigh of relief to be free from the piercing sound of an angry child. He orders another double without tipping. Five minutes later the screaming starts right back up. The mother has since given up and stares blankly off into space while the father never acknowledges either one of them.

This happened every Friday for a month straight. It was to the point that customers were complaining about the noise. Both parents had been warned every week, but finally it became too much to bare. I was forced to walk out from behind the bar, pull the man to the side and inform him that his five year old child was 86ed from the establishment. He looked shocked. He glanced over at his screaming child briefly before turning back to me.

“If they wait out front can I stay?”

After fighting off the urge to call Child Protective Services I sent the whole fucked up family packing and thankfully have not seen them since.

The Bad Bartender Chronicles

February 26, 2012

A lot of male bartenders think they are really cool because they work behind the bar. Let’s be honest bartender gigs are hard to come by, especially for men, so any person who has achieved that position should be proud. However, there is a line that is not to be crossed and unfortunately the prestige of pouring drinks gets the better of a lot of guys. These self-entitled fraudulent drink peddlers make the customer feel as if getting served by them should be viewed as an honor no matter how shitty or rude the service is.

I walk up to a bar and the bartender greets me with attitude and a sneer. While I order he looks past me to check out a waitress who is walking by. I order a vodka tonic but instead of hustling to mix my drink he casually walks over to the waitress he was just checking out. He says something that is in his mind witty and gets a courtesy laugh out of the girl who knows if she doesn’t play along her drink tickets will be ignored all night. He then walks over to the ice well and slowly pulls out a glass. A friend of his walks up to the bar and stands next to me. They slap each other five, bang knuckles and then act as if their hands have just exploded. There is an exchange of bros and then he goes and pours this person a beer.

As he hands the beer off they discuss whether or not the waitress is a slut. I can feel myself becoming dumber by listening to these two talk, as if stupidity were an air born disease. He scoops some ice out of the well and without taking his eyes off his buddy goes to put the ice in my drink. Half goes in the glass, the other half spills on the bar. He doesn’t seem to notice.

I hear the printer behind the bar print out a server ticket and watch as he tells his friend to hold on a minute. He then rushes to grab the ticket. Once he does he sets two glasses next to mine. He fills them carefully with ice and then proceeds to pour nice, stiff drinks. He rushes off to put them in the server window. When he returns he picks up his conversation with his buddy. He finally fixes my drink which consists of four ice cubes, half a shot of vodka and a whole lot of tonic. He slams it in front of me and says five dollars.

At first I’m not even sure if the drink is for me because he hasn’t looked at me or paused his conversation. I stare at him and wait for confirmation that we are actually involved in some sort of transaction. A minute passes before he finally looks down at me.

“What bro? I said five dollars.”

I slide him a twenty. He holds it in his hand as his buddy and him now discuss the latest UFC fight. Five minutes pass. Finally, I interrupt and ask for my change. Both of them stare at me with looks of disgust. The bartender scoffs and slowly walks over to the register. He hands me a ten and a five and resumes the conversation with his buddy. To me that means he is either expecting me to not tip or tip him five dollars. Neither of these is a realistic option. I know this arrogant schmuck deserves to be stiffed but not tipping isn’t in my physical makeup. I interrupt his buddy and his meeting of the minds again and ask for change for a five. I receive another scoff and after another minute of conversation he finally obliges. I leave a dollar and curse my tip karma obsession as I realize my tipping this waste of human flesh is simply reinforcing that bartenders can be as shitty or rude as they want and still receive a tip.

However, that dollar is the last one he will get from me as I would rather drink a warm forty of Olde English with a homeless toothless crack head on a street corner than ever stepping foot in that guy’s bar again. This self-entitled dickbag is one of many like him out there so beware. I urge you to be on the lookout for this sort of behavior and when you see it simply leave the establishment you are at and never go back.


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