I started this blog as a goof, an outlet for a few pent-up frustrations, and for self-psychotherapy. I held no other expectations. The unexpected however, has a way of creeping up on your ass when you least expect it. Having a [public] social media presence has a way of attracting attention – sometimes wanted, other times – not so much. So it’s been with this blog as the year and a half has crept by.
On the good side, I’ve met all kinds of Hospitality blogger geeks and established some pretty cool relationships. I’ve had the good fortune of being contacted by, and participating in several articles, interviews, and now videos, from major and minor publications. It’s all good I guess.
So it was the other day when Huffington Post reached out to me. They highlighted an article from BroBible.com, “Confessions of Bartender” and reached out to a few folks (myself included) to add a little colored commentary. The article is pretty well written and accurately conveys many issues and concerns I’ve mentioned previously.
Gotta love the InterToobs and Google Hangouts I must say.
I’m an ass (my own ass shot for posterity). After a few multi-year bartending stints in a couple of key NYC venues, I flew the coop. I had been in one particular bar so long, it had become unfortunate home. My regulars became my drinking buddies and, cursedly, my Facebook “friends.” I had become so comfortable – in a poisonous environment – that I had already “jumped the shark” in my own head and subsequently, career path. I knew the time had come to become… The Gypsy Bartender. As a vagabond, I would wander from bar to bar, doing guest spots, seasonal gigs, and mostly – not getting into my previous groove with my much-adored co-conspirator.
I went out after work for that “one drink” with the crew a couple of nights ago. We happened to be at The Crooked Knife on 14th St. That’s borderline Meatpacking District/Chelsea for you out-of-towners. After a bad-ass, long, hot, sticky, dirty, demanding evening on my feet, I’m all in for settling down at the local watering hole (once in a while) and kicking back before the journey home. Here’s how I get down: I double-fist it – mostly.
You’re looking at my (1) a pint of Magic Hat #9 and (2) a shot of Michters [with three cubes] – a decent rye with a mildly fruity nose, and a fairly smooth finish. Coincidentally, Michters is one of the oldest distilleries in the U.S. – dating back to before our independence.
I’m a seriously obsessive, compulsive freak. It’s not my fault… It’s my Mom’s. She’s an over-the-top, O.C.D. nightmare times ten and I, for better or worse, inherited a lot of those qualities. I rate myself right about in the average tier of the disease’s spectrum. Admittedly, getting freaky-deaky with organizational skills does come in handy when behind the bar – except when it doesn’t. Case in point: sharing a register with others.
Above, is a picture of my personal drawer at the end of a shift.
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.
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…
Chicks and credit cards. When did they become joined at the hip and so socially unaware of anyone and everything around them? Young chicks, old chicks, models, fugly chicks, college girls, 4′s, 9′s, sophisticated Upper-East-Siders… all kinds. It’s as if 8 out of 10 of them skipped the entire semester on Dining and Drinking Etiquette – opting instead for How to Behave Badly at Bar 101.
The air around a gaggle of girls rolling up my bar is so thick with anticipation, it makes bartenders instantly panic-stricken. The last thing I want to see when I’m rolling 3-deep on a Friday night, is see Cindy, Paula, Antionette and Lindsey sashay (they do that on purpose) up to the counter. They’re all 24 years of age, sporting super-sexy platforms platforms, barely-there spaghetti-string chiffon blouses, and skirts that really don’t hide their vajayjays all that well from most angles.
I get a lot of seriously dumb-shit questions. Many genius customers throw unabashed inquiries out there with such ease and candor, you would think I’d known them for decades. I incessantly get questions like : (a) gay or straight (b) do you have a girlfriend [really stupid question - just go for it dumbass] (c) what should I drink (d) do you know how to make a Tuscaloosa Screaming Cucumber Reach-Around shot [or some other obscure restaurant's house special] and finally (e) it’s my birthday – buy me a drink? There is one subject of interrogation however, which irks me something terrible. That is: “so, how much money do you make?”
Well, Douchebag (greatest word in the English language), “How much money do you make?” Do I show up at your options and swaps trading desk and ask you about your big fat commissions? Do I ask if you’ve met your target December bonus thresholds and what you’ll be doing with said bonus? Are you struggling to decide which convertible Porsche 911 variant you’ll be leasing this year to match what’s left of your corn-row Bosley hair plugs, Havana Cohibas, and crisp Thomas Pink collection? Why do you feel the need to dig into my personal financial business? For the sake of all things holy, I’m going to spell it out for you below and hope you read my post. Maybe, I can finally put to this question to bed and duck the topic (and fake smile) at work at little less… you know – the place where I have little leverage to tell you what a retarded question you’re asking lest I be shit-canned for directly telling you like it is.
Today, we take a break from our normal routine to dish a little bit on Bartending and Blogging; the why, how, when, and what not to do. Guess I should prolly quit that third-person speak – ala, the “Queen of Media,” blogger numero uno, and jizz drawer, Perez Hilton. Eh…it’s fitting at times I guess. I’m approaching 100 posts or so and I thought it only fitting I write a little anecdote on getting all loose at the lips, letting your unfiltered mouth run amuck. I’ve been getting random questions about the topic and even the old lady, an extremely private type, is suddenly hit by the
exhibitionist blogging bug.
It’s been about 10 months since I started dishing dirt on bartending via my blog. I’ve been in the restaurant/bar business since I was 16. I’ve been bartending since 1994. Yikes – old fart. Within just a couple of short years after getting behind the stick, I had already compiled such a litany of stories (mundane, horrible, as well as “uplifting”), that I repeatedly joked about documenting them all. I’d write a book and get it published – you know – making some much needed loot while sharing a breadth of bartending knowledge. How hard can it be? I’ve picked up a half-a-dozen crap bartending books at Barnes and Noble over the years. Most of them sucked ass. Yet, they were selling – somehow. I imagined I could do better – be faster, stronger, etc. (Steve Austin reference).
A Meatpacking District Bartender Tells Us The Best And Worst Parts Of Her Job
“Now I make almost six figures working 30 hours a week – so $1,500 to $2,000 per week [bartenders pool money and each take home a fair share]. I also have health insurance. I’m really lucky.
How did you get to that point?
I’ve had to pay my dues. In the Meatpacking District, employers wouldn’t even see people without three years of work experience, or without three really strong references.”
Read the entire article here.