Old Town Dunch – A Tale From The Other Side of the Bar

Dunch.  

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s a 3:00pm -4:00pm meal – smack dab between late lunch and dinner.  Yeah.  Not unusual barternder’s fare when after they’ve been on a drink pouring tear until 4:00am the night before.  This is usually followed by an all day sleeping binge, neglecting essentials like – you know – daylight and contact with other human beings.  

Only, today, my Dunch was a result of beginning of some exhaustive and intense training at my new bar in the MPD.  I neglected to eat breakfast and had no chance to eat lunch.  So, I headed East.  Crazed and shaky from being simultaneously deprived of (1) much needed nourishment and  (2) much needed hop and barley juice, I stopped by one of my old haunts – Old Town Bar on 18th Street between Broadway and Park Ave.

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So You Wanna Be a Douchebag?

Insider Tips to the Art of Douchebaggery

Part I

I work in a place that attracts douchebags like water to a drain.  Somebody has to.  When you’re a douchebag, you either own it and drive a Corvette and go out night after night, hitting on other guys’ girlfriends and hi-fiving strangers after saying things like, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about, bitch!” for the rest of your life, or you go to great lengths to chastise douchebags and relentlessly piss and moan about how they’re everywhere and how you can’t stand the sight of them, until eventually you jump into your Corvette and go out night after night, hitting on other guys’ girlfriends and hi-fiving strangers after saying things like, “That’s what I’m talking about, bitch!” for the rest of your life.

Click through for full article – So You Wanna Be a Douchebag?

Click through for Part II – So You Wanna Be a Douchebag Park Deux-che

I admit it.  I’m anal.  I suffer from OCD about many things but particularly, bartending. That said, I’m often doing my community service by frequenting bars/restaurants in a so far useless search for a really good and frothy Margarita, old-school edible Old Fashioned, the way I’d make them, or the never achievable perfect meal.  I never communicate as much to my servers, but I’m constantly and unavoidably evaluating the entire experience and taking mental notes on environment, quality, service, delays, cleanliness, order, music, lighting, attitude, and taste.  Mostly, I find idiots – surely that’s expected in this dump of Bloombergistania.

I also troll other bartenders’ blogs.  Most are temporary endeavors of a few month’s – a whim or fancy that’s quickly abandoned and left for the Blogger.coms, Tumblrs and WordPresses to relegate to archives of yore.  People just run out of time, ideas, experiences, or just plain change careers eventually abandoning their soapboxes.  Some are quality and some are not.  But every once in a while, you come across someone who speaks exactly your language, conveys your thoughts, makes you shriek with laughter, and shares your experiences and wisdom precisely.  

I thus present to you Dave, creator of TheRealBarMan.com – a California bartender with a lot of the same beliefs about life behind the bar as I have.  For instance, the two posts above on professional and omnipresent Douchebag, a very close relative of the slightly rarer and younger Bro. In fact, you can often use the terms interchangeably.  Bros typically graduate and age into Douchebag-dom.  I digress.  Anyway, Dave’s tales are beyond entertaining, sharply written, relevant, and most importantly, wicked accurate.  Kudos Dave.

Tap Dat

 

Well, the eagle has landed.  I’ve got a new gig in one of New York’s uber-busy and desirable destinations – The Meatpacking District.  For those not in the know, there are very few actual meat processing facilities there.  Rather, it’s a trendy bar/restaurant/lounge/hotel “scene.”  The area has a storied history dating back to a time when – yes – it was a dingy/dirty/stinky meat processing, warehouse infested, blue-collar industrial strip.  An elevated railroad ran through the West Side, beginning in MPD in order to deliver pre-processed carcasses as well as to ship out post-processed meat products.  Though the train ceased all operations decades ago, alongside the exodus of most meat processing facilities, the elevated tracks remained and have been famously turned into the urban oasis called the Hi-Line. 

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Flair… Meh

I don’t get down with Flair Bartending.  This is an indulgence best left for people who don’t want to actually take care of customers, serve drinks or make money – you know, by actually bartending.  Yes, the best get paid and compete and all that; a quick trick is surely impressive once in a while.  However, it’s a visual entertainment phenomenon best left for Vegas freaks and tacky Clevelander (Miami Beach) “bartender” types who are more accurately described as “performers.”  

Yeah, I’m a performer too in many ways.  However, my focus is on volume sales of food and beverages while being engaging, funny an flirtatious so that both the the establishment and I can make some freaking money.  My main objective is to not spill half my owner’s very expensive liquor on the floor doing ridonculous things like trying to pour 7 shots from 7 shakers simultaneously, or spinning full bottles of primo Single Malts around like a circus clown while the bar is three deep.  Anyone who thinks otherwise, has never worked behind a revenue generating bar.  Rather, they’ve been watching too many late-night encores of “Cocktail” and “Roadhouse.”  Speaking of which, don’t ever mention that Tom Cruise movie in my presence.  You’ll instantly be painted as a douche who thinks he knows everything.

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Wookin’ Pa Nub

If you don’t get the reference, you’re obviously completely uncultured.

After a second 4-year stint in the same old mismanaged bar, I quit.  I’m now officially a one job kind of dude and it many ways, it doesn’t feel very good.  Conversely, I’m elated and relieved to be free of The Man’s tyranny in that shithole of what passes for a “bar.”  Yeah, I use “The Man” loosely and yeah, I’m bitter – but for good reason.  Really, it’s just a very small microcosm – sure.  But it was a hell hole none the less from a ownership and management perspective. Completely screwed up place.

Yes, there were a handful of people who truly and genuinely cared about lots of things – one or two folks in management and a couple of F.O.H. staff on the front lines – sure.  I’m greatly appreciative of the few worker bees there that always tried to do the right thing for themselves as well as the business (and in turn, customers).  I can’t deny that.  There are few co-workers who I will miss terribly but most, I won’t.

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Booze Legends: Debunking the Myths Every Drinker Believes

Booze Legends: Debunking the Myths Every Drinker Believes

Booze Legends: Debunking the Myths Every Drinker Believes

The world is rife with alcoholic lore. That’s lore regarding alcohol, not told by alcoholics. Well, there’s plenty of both. But what about all those rules we learned in college? Beer before liquor, never been sicker. More bubbles, more buzz. Different kinds of drinks get you different kinds of drunk. In vino, veritas. For all the legends, there is a shortage of scientific data to confirm or challenge the conventional wisdom… until now!

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You’re An Adult. Learn How to Tip

I’ve written many instances of War and Peace about topic previously.  However, the objective of my rants clearly has still not sunk into the craniums of the masses of bar and restaurant goers.  For the hard of hearing and the educationally disadvantaged, in other words – all of you cheap asses – here it is again from another mouth-piece:

iFFI2.jpg

From the Amber Road Cafe in Canton, MA

Do you see what that is? It’s a credit card receipt. I took a picture of it just a few days ago at a small restaurant (way outside Boston), that I take everyone to, called the Amber Road Cafe. Anyway, I took a picture of it because I wanted you to see what I wrote for a tip: $5.00. No, it’s not a lot of money. No, I’m not bragging about leaving a $5.00 tip on a $14.00 meal. So why post it? Because you’re an adult now and you need to learn how to tip.

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Racism

Yep. This.

I have mixed views on racism.  I should first state that I am a minority… “It only takes a drop.”  I was born in the U.S. to Haitian immigrants.  My parents came here in the early 60′s to escape a doomed country, political strife, economic misery, complete governmental corruption, lawlessness, rape, murder, maiming and lack of infrastructure.  They came to escape 400 years plundering and lack of opportunity.  

But primarily, they came to avoid a witch hunt by “Tonton Macoutes” (Duvalier’s version – at right – of the “Schutzstaffel“), whose aim was to mutilate and kill anyone who was even under the suspicion of speaking out against the government.  It all culminated in something called the “Jérémie Vespers” in which several of my Grandfather’s direct relatives were rounded up and executed.  Long story.  My family decided it was best to then get the hell out of dodge. 

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