I try damned hard not whore out commercial shit that’s sooooo… mainstream. But hey, once in a while, Madison Ave gets it really right – in this case, Tanqueray’s marketing peeps and their agency. I think this particular clip was produced by Mother NY. Yeah, it’s all dram’d up via slo-mo, low shots, B&W and stuffs – ala Ridley Scott. They do portray a higher-end, snooty venue (maybe a hotel bar) which doesn’t necessarily jive with being 3-deep in the weeds . However, they do nail the bartender’s job, lifestyle, and state of mind pretty fucking well. Bravo!
Big Corporate Hospitality culture is a funny beast. It’s a microcosm; an extreme, shining example of what I believe even “mainstream” corporate environments are like. On one hand (the public face – the one they beat you over the head with in requisite meetings and stacks of training manuals), they are all politically correct, non-discriminatory, equal-opportunity, and “all in” for the team effort. They attempt to rubber-stamp all their establishments with the same “look and feel” and – umm – operational efficiencies.
In all the various types of restaurants and bars I’ve worked in over the last two and a half decades, I still find it amazing that the culture, practices and pitfalls are nearly the same from one to another. As bars/clubs/lounges/restaurants prosper, owners/managers seem to grow exponentially disconnected from reality – what goes on in the trenches. Having been personal witness to several establishments’ Road to Glory, I hypothesize that the tipping point is somewhere around the $500K – $750K [gross revenue] a year mark. Or, it can happen at the 2 to 3 owned/managed venue point – when a previously young, highly-engaged owner/manager morphs into the CEO of a restaurant management group – jetsetting around the region, transitioning his/her bar into a “brand,” and morphing into “Corporate Bitch.”
That said, let’s look at a few choice management group playbook excerpts:
Fellow booze slinger Michael Neff (NYC bartender of Ward III fame) waxes poetic on the distinction between Bartenders and Mixologists and nails it.
“As much as I appreciate the current state of the spirits and cocktail game, I think we’ve taken the difference between bartender and mixologist too far. At the end of the day, they are impossible to separate. Bartenders tend bar. We make drinks. Sometimes, even in the dirtiest of dive bars, those drinks are cocktails. Thus a mixologist is born.”
Here’s a handy chart detailing how bartenders handle [tap] water-only bar requests based on the establishment type. As I’ve previously mentioned, fighting your way through the crowd, rolling up to a busy bar, and demanding water “with lemon and a straw,” has got be one of the easiest ways to piss of bartender. There are several issues at play as probably 1/2 of folks who start off their bar conversation with water requests: (1) won’t spend another dime – no revenue for the bar (2) they won’t tip at all (3) they’ll occupy precious bar real estate and stools, further robbing you of potential income.
So I’ve been at “bar X” in MPD for a while now. I’ve endured numerous, required, eerily long epically repetitive “training” sessions. I’ve eaten crow repeatedly as The Low Man on The Totem Pole. I’ve made good money here and there over the months and met mostly really cool and very talented people. I’ve also run into a handful of ass-nasty useless turds that pass for service industry employees. I guess there are bad seeds in every bunch.
Just like the majority of my dating history, where I’ve mostly not been a dude who does the shagnasty with a different qualified (a 7.5 with a pulse) pretty young thing from evening to evening, I tend to stick it out at bars and turn them into my own. I can eventually thrive where others have failed. The primary reason is that I fucking hate looking for a new job whether it’s an office job or restaurant/bar gig. I despise it almost much as I hate looking for an apartment and moving. Job hunting and moving are two endeavors which cause me so much stress, that I’d rather contemplate smoking endless rocks from glowing, red-hot glass phallus.
In our first segment, we took a look at some of my bar managers’ “character flaws.” There isn’t nearly enough digital ink to characterize everyone of them in one article without imparting Nintendo thumb on your ass – forcing you to endlessly scroll. With that, I present to you Bar Manager Breakdown Part II – all based on real-life “tools” of the trade.
Papillon – The want-to-be escape artist. He’s got some other life long ambition going on (drummer, drag queen singer, Pro bono junior museum curator, or whatever). He’s actually a pretty good bar manager but simply will not stay the fuck away from the service bar, incessantly talking shit (to you) about his dreams of breaking free from Corporate’s chains. The trouble is, he’s been in the game for 20 years and hasn’t made a single significant dent with his extracurricular activities. Bless him for trying though. He just needs to quit the endless complaining and focus at the task at hand: making loot and nailing ass – and helping you do the same.
If you fancy mainstream publications, and jocking them to get a grip on L.E.S. nightlife, drinking, fucking in The Standard Hotel windows, smack, blow, or cocktail culture, keep three things in mind: (1) first and foremost, they don’t know a god-damned fucking thing about any of these topics despite their pretense (2) the larger ones are owned, managed, financed, edited, censored and spun by douchebags, illuminati or both and finally (3) those same fuckers have zero interest providing you accurate, factual, adequately-researched, unbiased information. They are controlled like puppets by their corporate masters and motivated by greed.
The major publications, broadcast, and cable media have but one agenda: brainwash the fuck out of the masses – or at least attempt to do so. By all accounts, they do a pretty damned good job. Take one look at the correlation between recent spree killings, fucktard pundits on their soapboxes spewing misinformation and inciting hate, and you’ll see what I mean. Unfortunately, the sheep in this country fall hook, line and sinker for much of the bullshit we’re fed – day in, and day out. It’s pathetic.
Here’s a dude outside my bar - in the daytime. Alcohol does some weird shit to already weird people. Take the Freddie Mercury inspired, Borat wannabe above… He’s either (a) a glutton for a beating (b) been rejected by every S&M hookup in the back of The Village Voice (c) a really, really lonely Financial Analyst by day (d) bust 3 nuts a day whacker extraordinaire or (e) all of the above. But don’t kid yourself… just ’cause he’s the poster child for losers, doesn’t give him balls the size Bowling Green’s resident bronze bull.
He didn’t walk into my bar in that brazen Coco Austin-inspired swimsuit – oh no… Our man first approached me at the bar in a seemingly ordinary jacket. Five or six drinks later, amid a sea of 4pm diners and boozehounds, simpleton decides to go balls out and make damned sure that I, and everyone around me, can all see just how much junk he’s packing. Not surprisingly, meatsack was swiftly escorted outside where he lingered for a bit to the delight of many a passerby.
Meet Captain Obvious (Dubya is his idol). Captain Obvious’ nightly stint at the bar is the culmination of all his life’s endeavors – his place to be seen and unwind. He’s got his Wharton MBA, a six-figure salary and obscene bonus via some hedge fund or obscure Goldman trading desk, and a new lease on the latest BMW M5. He’s also a card-carrying, staunchly conservative republican. But, despite upper-crust C.O.’s elitist upbringing, he’s got zero grasp on common sense. He’s got no clue fold a fitted sheet, re-ignite a pilot light, change a tire or worst – order a drink. “Uhh… give me a Corona [pause]… with lime!” Well, no shit asshole…