For most hardened, service industry lifers, the the grind eventually devolves in to it’s insidious yet beloved state, where your twenties seemingly overnight give birth to your thirties, and – gulp – beyond. That grind is: a chronic routine of pre-shift (followed by post-shift) debauchery, “progressing” to a prone state, naked and unconscious state, wallowing away the daylight hours, nursing a seemingly more and more tolerant, mild hangover. Resistance is building. Wake up at sunset, pop a few Ibuprofen, maybe drop off a load of laundry, grab two slices of pizza, Hair-of-the-dog to polish of that headache, and it’s back to work having accomplished nearly nothing during the day.
Barring maybe a half-dozen exceptions, most U.S. states do have no licensing or permitting requirements for slinging booze other than – say – being 18 years of age. In exchange for an on-premises liquor license, what the law does universally requie, is a minimum level of common sense, a lesson that both Kelly Tracy and Leah Bailey (bartenders at “My Bar“) have unfortunately learned the hard way. Both drink sligers (pictured above) were recently found guilty of “serving alcohol to an intoxicated person.” They now face a $500 fine and up to one year in prison. The “victim,” 55-year old Juan Diaz (also pictured above) – an apparent regular “drunk” at My Bar (we all have them don’t we?) was partaking in his habitually fun evening at said watering hole. He was somehow documented and witnessed as being not only legally intoxicated, but visibly intoxicated. We in the business, particularly those having been through their municipality’s Alcohol Awareness Training/Certification, are all aware of the tell-tale signs and risks. Mr. Diaz calmly proceeded to stagger into the street and pick a fight with a two ton speeding hunk of metal on wheels. Mr. Diaz predictably lost the battle and is now comfortably resting at room temperature.
Dude. I’m a bartender. Get it? Bartending is “what else” I do. This summer, I’ll (celebrate?) my 20th year since I first got behind the stick. Wow! At this point in my life, it’s clearly a profession, lifestyle choice, and environment that suits me – I think. However, a continued life of pseudo-Indentured Servitude – for that enigma called “The Man” (read: rich boss man) – is something that no longer agrees with me. I’ve grown into too much of an obsessive perfectionist, too knowledgeable for my own good, and sometimes, too bitter to accept idiocy or swallow stupidity. For those reasons, I’m working to complete my Business Plan, save more money and open my own bar. My bartending stint has introduced me to a seemingly endless string of wanna-be investors all itching to pull the proverbial trigger. They’re simply awaiting an extensive, qualified plan, and for that plan to be put into action.
I’ve witnessed far dumber (albeit, determined) folks – many with little grasp on the English language – achieve stupendous success and wealth in this business. In each instance, I’m left scratching my head, pondering: “how?” Regardless of how they obtained the Seed Money, how they navigated the dozen or so onerous permit processes, how they managed to flourish despite having abysmal operational efficiencies, etc., the point is: they did it. I consider myself far more knowledgeable about most aspects of the bar/restaurant business then they; so much so that I find myself being tapped for consulting engagements with increasing frequency. As much as I’m occasionally entertained by Bar Rescue, I tend to think Taffer is a smart man who’s much more of a master marketer (with cheesy taste), and less of the “genius” barman the entertainment business portrays him to be. Anyway, I tend to believe there’s no reason I wouldn’t be uber-successful running my own shop.
Here at TTAB, I’m just about never opposed to showcasing a fellow bartender who (a) consistently displays mad mixology skillz or evident bartending experience and (b) has upped their social media game somthin’ special, putting their unique personalities front and center. Like many a [straight] walking penis, I’m particularly enamored when said barkeep happens to be.. ehem… hot. So it is with great pleasure that I “discovered” Ms. Casey Young recently and highlight this pretty young thing for your viewing pleasure.
This is Nicole (actual lovely visage concealed to protect the
not innocent). She’s from that place across the Hudson whose very existence as inhabited, I frequently deny. You know… the land wafting of an oh-so-lovely sulfur-dioxide (rotten eggs) aroma border to border, a dead-end destination bustling on one end with soul-sucking casinos, and a place overrun with millions of Aqua Net encrusted, Bouffant loving, lobster-skinned reality show addicts – seemingly all ex-pats from Brooklyn. Some folks refer to this wasteland as New Jersey. I call it I-95 – a place whose sole useful purposes are to fill up on cheap gas and and maybe an Arby’s gourmet roast beef delicacy on my way to destinations South. I jest (not). Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, it was Nicky’s 24th birthday. Lucky for me, she, and two of her equally attractive girlfriends, chose my bar as their afternoon celebration destination. There’s only one problem – not a single bartender actually cares that it’s your birthday unless you’re a Nicky…
Shoemoney – I need me some. Above, are my recently deceased bartending kicks. They’re in desperate need of burial-at-sea, and replacement. They’re Clark Roars and they were actually quite stylish, comfortable, affordable and stank-free when new. They finally shit the bed last week at the most inopportune time: mid-shift. The soles separated from the leather. My Clarks lasted me 10 months of nearly daily use under extremely toxic conditions. That’s not bad for a $100 pair of leathers. If you’re bartending routinely, uber-comfortable, stylish (and hopefully water-resistant) dogs are essential to your health and happiness. Unfortunately, comfy almost never plays nice with stylish and waterproof, at least not for a shoe intended for harsh bartending environments.
Note to bar owners: spring for behind-the-bar dishwashers and/or a proper dishroom. Washing glasses by hand, in your classic three-sink setup, leads to inevitable minor (and sometimes major – as seen) injuries due to hidden broken glass behind all those bubbles and murky waters. When busy, or when washed by less than O.C.D. barbacks, hand-washing also leaves a not so pleasant film on all your glasses. That’s an issue that gets progressively worse as the bar liveliness ramps up, and as the hours tick by without changing wash and rinse waters. Yum! Mucho gusto el extra flavor in cocktails!
Bartending seems pretty cool, doesn’t it? You’re sitting on your couch 4:30am, after a long night of partying, inhaling Cheetos, toking a bong, and wishing you hadn’t sucked down those last two shots of Jager. The TV is glaring and - wouldn’t you know – Tom Cruise is spinning bottles, without spilling a drop of precious booze – go figure. “Cocktail” is on again. You’re captivated by this ultimate display of Flair and enthralled with the “the good life” bartending can offer… a playboy lifestyle on a Caribbean island, and endless string of doting groupies – ready to rip of your clothes, travel, fast cars, easy drugs, blaa, blaa, blaa.
You want to be a bartender above all else. Screw the post-graduate work, your parents ambitions for you, law school, or whatever. You’ve got your eyes set on getting behind the stick. I mean, how hard could it be? Any monkey can pour drinks, right? Let’s find out…
I’m unique in appearance. You can’t really make out what I really am. My entire life, I’ve managed to both fit in to every imaginable group, as well as feel excluded from those same groups from time to time. Usually, I can deftly move into just about any group (outside of Neo-Nazis) with aplomb. I can shape-shift my appearance, swagger, tone, lexicon and dress to fit just about any environment. I’m agile like that. Well, in my latest bartending gig, you can reasonably assume I’m making full use of my God-given talents, and fully leveraging my Thug Dizzle. That’s because, I’m once again living the
Thug Life Pub Life.
In all my years of tending bar, rarely have I seen any other cocktail prepared as inconsistently (and wrongly) as ye olde Hot Toddy. Why? It’s mostly a result of the “telephone game” or Pass It Down theory of learning to bartend. It’s a situation where Barbacks working Service Bar, teach Runners “how to bartend” – the stupid passing down (uh…) knowledge to the ignorant. This cocktail requires a couple of minutes of preparation and often, a bit of running around. Usually, that means leaving the bar for a trip both to the espresso machine and perhaps to the bowels of the kitchen to retrieve necessary components. What bartender in their right mind would look forward to unnecessary complicated cocktail prep in lieu of serving 3 or 4 other gratuity-rich guests? Answer: the usual suspects – the short-sighted contingent.