I’ve previously devoted significant digital ink to the topic of Drinking on the Job. However, in light of my seismic “demographic” shift late last year, from a career of working mostly big Corporate Hospitality and Fine Dining, to one of Pub Life, it’s a topic that now needs revisiting. You’ll easily find much Hospitality Consultant coverage and opinions on the matter (several of them are linked to on this blog). Rarely, however, will you get an F.O.H. insider’s perspective as you’re about to. Moreover, you’ll almost never get such a rant from a bartender who doesn’t abuse the sauce.
At issue, is the gargantuan disparity in policies, actual practices, acceptability, tolerance, social impact, and most of all: Top-line and Bottom-line impact on income. That last one is an huge issue – one which many smaller owner/operators (particularly those who have little to no experience outside their own) have little understanding of and often, lesser clue how to realistically quantify.
Hell hath no fury like that of a service bar printer gone wild. Dupes down to the floor and another stack of “chads” hanging by one’s lips. Round after round of 20 lemon drops (all with sugared rims), followed by 20 B52s (all layered – I kid you not), all evening long for bachelorettes. Getting yelled at by waitstaff for “slow” drink service, spilled sticky liquors all over your arms, bleeding fingers and running out of various key spirits at the most inopportune times. All the while, one guest to whom you’ve just handed a check presenter, insists he didn’t have half the drinks on his tab and demands a refund. A manager is nowhere in sight and conveniently neglected to offer you a walkie-talkie that evening. Another guest, simultaneously demands 4 Mojitos and and 3 Lychee Martinis of you. a Welcome to hell, otherwise known as the Service Bar.
With that, let’s look at some of the cocktail waitress heiresses you’ll often run into. Our buddy Caveman first tackled this list last year in The Top Ten Most Annoying Cocktail Waitresses.
1. The Napkin Stuffer – She’s an efficient waitress. She always follows The Steps of Service with an eagle’s eye on her tables. Nary will she let a 1/3 full glass lie unguarded without either (a) offering [trying to sell] another drink or (b) snagging the empties, wiping down the table and generally – trying to turn the table over. There’s only one problem. The Napkin Stuffer has no concept of the garbage can or bus bin. Stuffing trash in empty glasses, then stacking them on the bar (or dishroom) for someone else to deal with is her modus operandi. She loves to stack the bartop with glasses full of chicken wing bones, used gum, and crusty bev-naps, in an attempt to “enhance” the ambiance for your bar guests. As you might expect, she wants nothing less than to make it really easy for barbacks and bartenders to process dirty glasses. What a lovely sight to behold.
So, you wanna be a baller, huh? You love to pound shot after shot, cocktail after cocktail in an effort to show just about all your bros (and often hos) that absolutely no one can possibly upstage you during an evening out, by drinking you under the table. How well you “handle yo’ licka,” is a skill which must be conveyed to all your homies at any cost. Among several problems with such an excessive endeavor, including (1) rapidly draining the evening’s budget and tapping into the Rent Reserve (2) funnin’ strangers boobs without a formal invite and (3) eating a fist full of teeth and getting tossed on your bum, perhaps the most challenging may be the dreaded Hangover.
What in tarnation causes a hangover anyway? How do you avoid it? Most importantly, how do you get rid of it once you have it?
Working Front-of-the-House in the Service Industry in various venues, you’ll inevitably have to get your learn-ed on, in terms of wine basics. At the very least, you’ll have to become well-versed in faking it with a showy, resume-word-laden service spiel, that “implies” you know what the fuck you’re talking about when it comes to sour grapes. Now, if you’re employed by a dive bar (and actually have a red and a white offering beyond Fonzie jugs of Manischewitz) you may not have to know much more than which variety is dry and which is – ehem – sweet. On the flip side, if you’re fortunate enough to land a high-income gig at a trendy Steakhouse, unionized Hotel bar, any French/Italian Restaurant, or the myriad of genres in between, which have actually put some thought into their wine lists, you must possess basic Somm skills.
I’d surmise that most post-bro phase adults have been there: You’re hitting up your favorite/trendy watering hole with a gaggle of your bestest homies. As typically required by the establishment’s powers-that-be, one of you has plunked down that all too convenient enabler of binge-drinking and mayhem, a credit card, in order to keep your groups bar tab “open.” It’s a very common occurrence, no? Indeed. Come the end of the evening’s grand imbibery, what happens when there’s a discrepancy?
SHTF happens… that’s what.
Y’all know how much I heart me some [relatively] low-key, prohibitionist, revival type anti-hotspots, right? Well, Employees Only is just one such jewel, among an ever-growing NYC contingent, that’s been somewhat littered with “throwback” themed venues over the last 10 years. Honestly, many of them suck ass or slowly degenerate into suckery. E.O. hasn’t (yet) been terribly overrun with Porsche-loving, douchebag financiers, nor Staten Island Ed Hardy types, nor Jersey spiked-hair and lobster-tan dudes, nor plastic-faced Dix Hills L.I. rich bitches – thankfully. Likewise, nary have they deviated from their initial mission statement. Their raison d’être: atmosphere and vibe, combined with quality and trend-setting cocktails hasn’t suffered one bit since opening day. Those are just a few such reasons it remains popular with Hospitality industry employees.