Posts Tagged ‘ice’

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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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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