Cocktail Waitress Hell According to TalesFromABar.com

It seems we’ve all been there – the not so glorious Service Bar.  It can get stupid busy with that horrific, little printer spitting out dupe after dupe, piling onto the floor.  It’s nightmare-inducing at times.  The whole while, you’re (a) hounded by half a dozen retarded servers and (b) doing your best to juggle your main bar duties – if you don’t have a dedicated service bar minion.  Have you ever had to make a drink twice because servers haven’t spiked their dupes?  Don’t you want to “reach out and touch someone” in a violent fashion when the same server repeatedly rips the dupes off the printer, causing you not to see drinks need to be made?

I’m not going to continue to describe the various states of server befuckery we’ve all endured at the service bar.  Why?  Because my fellow barkeep Caveman nailed it.  I mean, he nailed it dead-ass.  So head on over to TalesFromABar and read the article yourself.  You can relive your worst evenings dealing with the likes of The Greedy Bitch, The Garnish Enthusiast, The Magician and the most common type of cocktail server idiot, The Caller.  Well done sir Caveman.

Settling In – The Seasonal Gig

So the new bartending gig is finally starting to pay some dividends.  By dividends, I mean I’m at long last getting decent shifts, picking up loose shifts, and starting to see a reasonable amount of cash coming in on the regular.  I dreaded leaving La Maison de Merde (my last gig of several years) primarily because I cringe at the thought of starting a new one of any sort.

For dudes, in most situations, you start at the bottom of the totem pole no matter how good or attractive you may or may not be.  Depending on the venue, it may take months/years for you to work up enough cred to get what you want reasonably often – meaning: decent number of shifts, consistent money making shifts, set schedule, etc.   For chicks, yet again, the situation is quite often  - shall we say – different?  There’s nothing I can do about that.  Dudes in this business are uncontrollable walking penises.

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Ashes to Glory – Tito Beveridge Tells His Story

Dude, if you’ve read my horribly brief review on Tito’s Texas Vodka, you’ll know that (1) I suck ass at reviewing vodka (2) I’m hearting me some Tito’s Holy Water lately and (3) I can’t get enough of this guy born burrito “Burtito.”  Anyway, I don’t even know him – but he rocks!  This is likely the greatest story – er… – ever told.  My new BFF.  I’m mesmerized by a good Southern accent almost as much as I’m romanced and stricken silly by the average Glaswegian, Dublin/Hiberno, or Cockney speak. Southerner, born and bred.

Humble, well spoken, funny, in-touch. Been broke, been doing well. He’s just takin’ it all in stride – true gentleman style.  Buy his hooch… buy a lot of it.

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Craptastic Accessory of the Day – Island Oasis

Know what this is?  It’s something you don’t want at your bar under any circumstance.  Welcome to the not so wonderful world of Island Oasis, Inc.

Island Oasis has been spamming the bar and restaurant business with their eyesores, pseudo-blenders, for the better part of 20 years here in the U.S.  They’re another example of a company, among many, whose focus is Sales and Marketing, quota objectives and publicity, rather than quality and (positive) word of mouth.

They manufacture and market this terrible looking contraption you see above.  It’s their in-house take on a bar blender.  They think it’s substantially more efficient than your typical Vita-Mix or Hamilton Beach commercial blenders that are found in most bars.  The problem is – they couldn’t be more wrong.

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Tito Beveridge – Tito’s Texas Vodka

Uh yeah.  That’s the dude’s real name.  Go figure.  If you’ve read my other vodka posts #1 and #2, you may have heard mention of this guy and his hooch.  I’m a sucker for an underdog, a great rags-to-riches story, and most of all – thumbing my nose at the mainstream.  I’m continually rolling my eyes and internally fuming, each and every time someone asks for Ciroc or Goose.  Help me – please.

I again blame the greedy French and their Madison Ave public relation goons for selling out to “brands” like Diddy, P.Diddy, Puffy, Puff Daddy, Spiffy, P.Combs, No Combs, No J.Lo, or whatever Prince-inspired name change he comes out with tomorrow.  I’m a firm believer that there is an inverse relationship to quality and quantity once a product turns extremely popular and mass-market.   

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The Manhattan Cocktail

The Rob Roy Cocktail (Коктейль Роб Рой)So, you fancy you some good old boy Rye whiskey – don’t cha? Well, the epitome of haute culture Rye drinks is, hands-down, the Classic Manhattan Cocktail.  Even though many a bartender claim to be itimately familiar with the ingredients, I’ve seen tons of folks, calling themselves “bartenders,” completely screw this drink up. Knowing a cocktail’s contents does not equate to knowing how to prepare, proportion, mix, garnish and serve – even one as seemingly simple as a Manhattan.

It’s unfortunate, in NYC at least, that a large percentage – if not the majority – of bars you’ll frequent, really should not pass for “bars” at all. Rather, they are trendy nightlife establishments that happen to serve alcohol and are staffed, yet again, by eye-candy that are focused neither on customer service (in the traditional sense) nor speed – enough said. In contrast, thankfully, there are also dozens/hundreds of boutique, hipsterish, low-key venues that do focus on quality homemade ingredients, aesthetics, mixology, atmosphere, individuality, and proper preparation.  Befittingly, they are almost always owned and/or staffed by some seriously OCD mixologists with a love of all things old school and classy.  Some of them can be found in my Pub Crawl.  Places like, Please Don’t Tell, Dram and Raines Law Room illustrate the point.

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Ballers on Parade

Each and every bar/restaurant I’ve ever worked in, has it’s local, designated, after-work “watering hole.”  It’ a spot where lots of local folks head to relieve the “stress” of a long shift, having had to tolerate and wait on one idiot after another.  “Relief” is usually in the form of drink, or seven, or twelve.  The is place is about nothing less than rampant debauchery on a grand, grand scale.

Those of you who pursue economic prosperity through more traditional means, slaving away in a pressed button shirt, routine shave, and fresh-shined wingtips, have a certain code of ethics (usually written, signed and strongly enforced) that specifically prohibits you from engaging in life’s more “rewarding” ventures – the kind of activities that illicit “tactile feedback.”  The corporate monkeys have done everything in their power to provide for perceived equal opportunity, an OSHA-approved safe work environment, and curtail any and all sexual harassment harmless flirtation.  They frown upon, and will bring Thor’s hammer down on your ass with vigor, for any and all violations of said HR rules of engagement, in the event of things like:

  • Blatent grabbing, touching, groping, rubbing
  • Any perceived inappropriate touching in the workplace or off-campus official/un-official corporate function
  • Water cooler “day after” tale telling
  • The mere mention of certain body parts within earshot of another employee
  • Mutually gratifying requests for copy-room quickies, bathroom stall sports, and under-desk bobbing for apples

Good for the Jews – Spreading the Gospel

It’s touching for this old bartender got a little heartfelt mention on the Nightlife Culture NYC blog! Cool man! As my wife likes to ask, when evaluating ethical or financial dilemmas, “is this good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?”  I say it’s damned good!  She’s a halfie and can therefore get away with an off-color question/comment like that I guess.  Even if she wasn’t, I don’t really care if anyone’s annoyed.  Move on – nothing to see here folks.  I think she inherited the wit from her Dad, who comes from a long line of comical Ukrainian immigrants (they’re career midget circus clowns).

As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a writer – although with this blog now about 8 months old – one could reasonably begin questioning my continued denial.  My intent in kicking this bad boy blog off last year was not financial gain, publicity, notoriety or anything else other than my penchant for blowing off steam in a way that I can just about never do where I work.

I’ve gotta say though, in recent months, it’s been incredibly fun and enlightening to connect with industry peeps (bartenders in particular), who are of similar disposition and experience, not to mention – hella funny.  I never knew any of them existed when I first started out. Check them out in my Blogroll.

Peace…

 

Ain’t Nothin’ Cookin’

Many years ago, I was unceremoniously working a brunch shift at a popular bar.  It was a perfect summer day – mildly hot.  Fans were slowly spinning.  The band was kicking some mellow samba tunes with catchy beats. A light breeze was rhythmically rolling through the open windows.  It wasn’t very busy… just a few shoppers strolling in and out, here and there.

In walks a pleasant looking couple – probably in their mid-30’s.  They belly up to the bar.  I bust out with my normal, inviting smile and greeting.  Next, something completely uncharacteristic flies out of my mouth far, far before my cranium has chance to filter or stop it.  It’s like one of those instances where you knock over a priceless vase, your mouth goes agape, and you dive to catch it before it goes kaboom – all in super-slow-ass motion.  You know you’re doing wrong as you’re doing it but are powerless to stop it.

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