Bar Nip Slip

A while back, on a late weekday evening, an uncommon but highly interesting interaction unfolded.  It was about 2:00am – so most of the 9 to 5 revellers had long cleared out.  There were maybe 8 or 9 customers left at the bar quietly engaged in conversation.  There was a pair of cute girls – both maybe around 30 years old.  One was White and one was Latina.  Both were impeccably dressed, engaging, funny and had been tipping well.  They weren’t obscenely intoxicated, just happily buzzed.

The early evening shift bartender had cleared out and it was just me and my barback “T” on the closing end – awaiting 4:00 a.m.  T was clearing the bus bins near the girls when they started chatting him up.  Watching from a distance, tending to another customer, I noticed some very strange looks coming from their direction.  

A minute later, T wanders my way giggling himself silly.   He reports to me:  “Yo, those girls are crazy.  They asked me to take my shirt off!” I looked at him completely baffled and .  “What was your response?” I gasped.  T says “I told them ‘Hell no!’”  I shook my head, put my fatherly hand on his shoulder and relayed my huge disappointment in his youthful inexperience.  

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Bat Shit Crazy

Another night, another drama, another confirmation that mixing (1) crazy (2) Hennessey and (3) Xanax is not a good idea. An hour into my evening shift, right around the time the suits are getting off their 9-5′s and rolling in, a large forty-ish, well dressed black man gestures me over.  He’s seemingly been there for a while and nothing appears to be out of the ordinary.  There is no sign of him being intoxicated.  He shakes my hand, asks me how I’m doing and says something like: 

[Customer] You’re the manager right?

[Me] No, sir.  I’m just the bartender.  Would you like to speak to the manager?

[Customer] Yo.  Tell those girls you’ve got working here they don’t need to throw attitude like that.  They should just serve.  I’m just sayin’ they don’t need to have that funky attitude ‘cuz they ain’t all that.  They ain’t all that.  They playin’ themselves.

[Me] Sir, did you have bad service?  Is something wrong with your drink that maybe I can help you with?

[Customer] I’m just sayin the girls think they all that but they just playin’ themselves.  They should just serve.

[Me] Look man.  I don’t know what you want me to do with that information.  I suggest you take this number, call back in the daytime and voice your complaints to the General Manager.

[Customer] Tell them just to serve god-dammit! Just serve!

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Vodka Review: The Good, the Bad and the Overrated

If there was ever a question as to my reaction, my baffled look, why I seemingly throw attitude, why I give slight pause, or even why my face muscles determine it’s a good time to throw an Oh-God-360 when someone tries to order a Ciroc and something, look no further than the exhibit to your right.  

Poor Hennessey, Ciroc, Hpnotiq, Alize and even Grey Goose.  French distillers, for reasons inexplicable to me, seem to love, love, love being associated with the goofy side of Hip-Hop culture.  <Flame_on>, but it seems to me that having moronic, headline-grabbing (for the wrong reasons) ass-clowns hawk your products, by agreement or involuntarily (think wasted Kanye chugging a bottle of Henny-hen-hen at the MTV awards), would be a detriment to your fine brand and image, no?  My sentiments have nothing to do with race as there are overexposed idiots of white, black, Aisian and Hispanic flavors. Diddy, Paris Hilton, Kanye, and Kim Kardashian all come to mind immediately.  But, I guess I’m in the minority here as this seems to be the trend pour nôtres amis Français in the last few years.  I’m guessing they view it as good short-term marketing in a down economy. Long-term, I would never sign on the dotted line if it were my age-old, historic distillery. I’d more like, you know, fire my entire marketing staff instead.

I, for one, actually enjoy an occasional glass of Alize.  In addition, I almost always finish my dinner outings with a slightly warm glass or two of, not Hennessy,  but Martell Cordon Bleu (yum!), when and where I can find it.  It’s either that or a Romana Sambuca (Black preferably) and a double-espresso.

Yeah, yeah, I digress… and I know times are tough for many of us. That said, if you must drink this bland vodka stuff, I beg of you not to drink the crap varieties. They will only make you sick in quantity unlike finer (not necessarily expensive) hooch. Educate yourself.  Let’s look at a “most excellent, dude” vodka review – one that I’m in fully agreement with and is impeccably written.  It’s especially meaningful to be because when I do rarely decide to partake in vodka, I typically opt for Stoli.  This one’s again written by our fellow barkeep Dave down in gun-hating, crack-loving D.C.  Visit his blog for the full review

In my last post, I talked about vodka in general. Here, we’re going to talk about some different brands and I’m going to discuss their quality. Again, a lot of this is my opinion, however a well informed one, and not the absolute truth. The point of this article is to point people in a direction and provide them a foundation to form their own opinions by giving my interpretation and a bunch of facts, which has been informed by lots of different sources and research, instead of just marketing, guessing or just not knowing, which is the norm.

There are loads of different choices for vodka out there- it’s the most heavily consumed liquor in the US. So how do you choose which to order? Hopefully by now, you have given up the rail brands and this question has come into your mind once or twice.

So lets get into it!

Click through for full article.

Vodka: Helping People Get Drunk Since the 8th Century

Great, great article written by D.C. bartender (and blogger) Dave, over on Blogspot. If you hazily recall your college days like I do, you’ll insta-gag upon remembering that really bad Urinal-Punch all the frat houses always made with plastic bottle, after plastic bottle, of Georgi.  Yikes! And you wondered why you were always sick the next day, vowing never to drink again during your walk-of-shame back to your dorm?  Shockingly, we still wear that badge of honor years later don’t we?  We still proudly recount those glory days, waking up in seemingly endless pools of blown chunks, naked corpses left and right, not fully realizing what atrocities we had been party to the night before or with whom.  We’ve made a pact that when we “grow up” and become civilized, we’re never gonna let our kids in on our youthful debauchery.

Anyway, the gist is that vodka, by law, is supposed to be tasteless, orderless and colorless. Right… good luck with that one.  The reality is more like every distiller does something a bit different. My personal view is that all vodka sucks ass and will be my last choice in choosing a beverage.  Vodka is like the tofu of the spirits world.  It takes on the flavor of whatever additive you mix it with.  Thus, I let out an inner gasp and chuckle when “connoisseurs” order it on the rocks.  A shit-ton of chicks love this stuff because it’s envisioned as having a low-calorie or no-calorie count (not true).  Then there’s the misconception that vodka doesn’t contribute to a hangovers (also not true).  

Be brave fellas and exhibit a little class.  Try a classic shaken cocktail – something unusual these days that might have some fresh lemon juice and bitters.  Sip a fine whiskey, Cognac or experiment with a glass of wine.  Click through for the full article… 

This post is in 2 parts. In this part, I will be talking some about the basics of vodka. Then in the next section, I’ll go over some of the better vodkas to order, some of the nasty ones and the overrated ones that you think are good but aren’t.

What Makes Good Vodka?
Good vodka is supposed to be tasteless and odorless because it is supposed to be only pure water and pure alcohol. However, they all have some type of taste, but are supposed to lack flavor like gin or bourbon. A lot of taste is a vodka no-no (except flavor infused vodkas).

This is why vodka has been traditionally the “woman’s alcohol,” because it won’t leave you smelling like you’ve been drinking. Apparently back then it wasn’t considered lady like to smell like booze and be overtly drunk. This has changed a little since like the 1940s because given the right place and time of night, some men consider it extremely appealing- but I digress…

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Coke and Rum

Saturday night, 2:30 a.m.  Slow night and I’m leaning on the bar, contemplating the possibility of subsistence living on Kepler 22b, the probability of finding some form of hot chick there, the dream of living Bloomberg-free – throwing my guns in the air, and the moral turpitude of ditching my family for this brave new extraterrestrial world…

Skinny-ass little punk rolls right up to me and the following stupidity ensues:

[Me] Hi there! What can I get you?

[Kid] Gimme a Coke and Rum

[Me] You mean a Rum and Coke?

[Kid] No. I wanna a Coke and Rum

[Me] No, you want a Rum and Coke.

[Kid] No. I wanna Coke and Rum.

[Me][Following 15 seconds of blank staring] Can I see your id please?

[Kid][Does a mouth snap/tisk, pats down all his pockets in an apparent act of looking for his wallet] I forgot it. Thanks anyway.

[Me][Back to Wanderlust. Mental note to blog]

Controlling or Minimizing Bartender Theft

Here’s an important read for all you owners and operaters…

  • If you can, run the place yourself. This is by far the greatest deterrent/preventative. You’ve completely eliminated all opportunity. You can’t possibly steal from yourself… or can you? You can certainly mismanage a business and run it into the ground however. Let’s face it: a bartender stealing cash from an owner is a crime of opportunity. Bad management practices, bad policies and lack of enforcement have left the door open. Obviously, working solo is kind of impossible to do 100% of the time in most places.
  • Be realistic. Keep in mind that in a cash bar, other than a sole proprietorship described above, there is no way in hell you can completely eliminate theft – you can only minimize it; thus, the title of this article.
  • Alternatively, if you have several bartenders, occasionally drop behind the bar and do the bar tending yourself. Thieves hate confrontation or even the threat of confrontation. Bartenders will inexplicably be on their best behavior when authorities are nearby – go figure. If you don’t know how to bartend, and you’re a bar owner or responsible for its operations, shame on you. You really have no business being in charge. You’re in for a rude awakening one day. Your best defense against theft is knowledge – know what the hell you’re doing at a bar in the first place. If you have even the slightest hesitation, hire someone who does know what they’re doing or get the appropriate training and experience.  In a nut shell, be or hire a “Pit Boss.”

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Poke You, A-Hole

One of yesterday evening’s interesting encounters.  Middle aged, mom-jean wearing, lady’s pint-o-grog is nearly empty.  I’m clearing empty glasses whilst greeting and taking orders from a three-top directly next to her.  I’m simultaneously rattling off drink suggestions and making notes of what some of them would like to try.  Mid-sentence, I feel the hot iron poker of her Skeletor-like finger right to my kidney.  This hard-Jersey-living, Caravan-driving soccer Mom has nearly caused me to go down for the count and almost caught a fist to the face (my New York instinctive reaction to such attacks).  She follows with “can I get my check?”

I turned around and say “please don’t touch me.  You can’t do that.  If you want my attention, just ask.”  She’s clearly insulted at my retort and gives me the silent treatment.  Ballsy rat-faced wench scurries out the door and this is what I find… 

Go on with yo bad self Mama! Keep poking alive…