Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I HATE You GameStop. You SUCK!!

I know that this has NOTHING to do with bartending, but it's my blog and I can vent if I want to. The whole experience really made me mad.

The bastards at GameStop at Serramonte Center (the one near Target) tried to pass off an obviously used wireless guitar controller as a new one and charged me full price (over $70!!!). Totally unacceptable in my book. I wont ever buy anything from this store again just because of this experience.

Just to give you an idea of how I feel about this store now, I recently wrote a letter to the corporate office of GameStop to inform them about my terrible experience:

"Dear Game Stop Corporate Headquarters..." Read the rest of it in my Yelp Review.

It sucks for them that the very first review for this location is a shitty one. Maybe, just maybe they shouldn't do such shitty things to customers.

PS: I went somewhere else, got a brand new controller (minus the usage and tacky stickers) and have been happily rockin it ever since.

Sobieski Vodka: Strawberry Shortcake Martinis

Sobieski Vodka is premium vodka from Poland that is fairly new to the U.S. market. Sobieski was first introduced to the U.S. in 2007. The company claims to have the number one premium vodka in Poland and is the world’s number seven best selling premium vodka.

In honor of Examiner.com’s Vodka Month for the month of June, I offered a group of bartending school students a chance to sample Sobieski Vodka. We made Strawberry Shortcake Martinis. Read More...

San Francisco Dyke March 2009 Billie Jean by Excuses for Skipping

One Word=AMAZING!!!

My friend, Wendy is a rockstar!

Bar Review: Boboquivari’s The Steak

The steak. The crab. These are just a couple of things Boboquivari’s (bo-bo-kwee-var-ee) are known for. Chances are if you live in San Francisco, you have probably driven by Bobo’s (this is what the people in the know call this place) a million times and never noticed the restaurant. Or maybe you did notice the black and red striped awning, always wondered what it was all about but never had a chance to check it out.

Word on the street is that Bobo’s has the best steak in San Francisco. Read More...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bar Lingo: Bar Back

The “bar back” is a bartender’s right-hand man or woman whose goal is to make sure that the bartender always has everything they need so that they can make as many drinks as possible and never have to leave their well. Some general duties of a bar back include: cutting back up garnishes, refill ice in the wells, restock empty liquor bottles, wash glassware, grab inventory from the liquor room as needed, change beer kegs, CO2 tanks and syrups, and pull off dirty glasses from the bar. Every now and then a bar back will have to unclog a sink if one becomes backed up. Bar backs make it habit to always be wiping down the bar and add cash tips left on the bar to the tip jar if a bartender has kept them on the bar top for too long. Both bartenders and bar backs are equally responsible for cleaning up and restocking the bar at the end of each shift. Read More...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The “Best Of” Articles: Open Bar Etiquette

I came across an article in the Seattle Weekly a couple of weeks ago, written by Maggie Savarino where she discussed, in detail, open bar etiquette. Reading this article brought back awful memories of when I had to bartend a number of open bar parties at the nightclub I worked at. I was happy to pick up the extra shifts, but was unhappy with the amount of cash I would come home with after working the parties. Sometimes I would come home with forty dollars. Sometimes I would come home with twenty dollars. Sometimes I would come home with nothing at all. And if the (lack of) tips weren’t enough, it seemed like working the open bar parties required a lot more energy and work than the regular club nights did. It was something about the open bar that made all of the guests leave their manners at the front door. Read More...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

13 Things Your Waiter Won't Tell You

I found this article while looking around on Yahoo. Believe it or not, most, if not all of these points do apply to bartending so listen up. I agree with all 13 points.

From Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by The Waiter (Ecco/HarperCollins) by Reader's Digest Magazine

Waiters share insider secrets about restaurants -- from tipping to what days to avoid dining out

1. Avoid eating out on holidays and Saturday nights. The sheer volume of customers guarantees that most kitchens will be pushed beyond their ability to produce a high-quality dish.

2. There are almost never any sick days in the restaurant business. A busboy with a kid to support isn't going to stay home and miss out on $100 because he's got strep throat. And these are the people handling your food.

3. When customers' dissatisfaction devolves into personal attacks, adulterating food or drink is a convenient way for servers to exact covert vengeance. Some waiters can and do spit in people's food. (I have never and will never do something like this. I believe in karma. The Universe will always take care of the really mean customers. I don't have to stoop to their level just to get revenge.)

4. Never say "I'm friends with the owner." Restaurant owners don't have friends. This marks you as a clueless poseur the moment you walk in the door. (When people do this, it makes me want to charge them more because to me it sounds like they are just asking for a freebie. If the owner is really your friend than wouldn't you want to help support their business?)

5. Treat others as you want to be treated. (Yes, people need to be reminded of this.)

6. Don't snap your fingers to get our attention. Remember, we have shears that cut through bone in the kitchen. (We aren't dogs so don't treat us like one.)

7. Don't order meals that aren't on the menu. You're forcing the chef to cook something he doesn't make on a regular basis. If he makes the same entrée 10,000 times a month, the odds are good that the dish will be a home run every time. (Two words: High Maintenance!!)

8. Splitting entrées is okay, but don't ask for water, lemon, and sugar so you can make your own lemonade. What's next, grapes so you can press your own wine?

9. If you find a waiter you like, always ask to be seated in his or her section. Tell all your friends so they'll start asking for that server as well. You've just made that waiter look indispensable to the owner. The server will be grateful and take good care of you.

10. If you can't afford to leave a tip, you can't afford to eat in the restaurant. Servers could be giving 20 to 40 percent to the busboys, bartenders, maître d', or hostess. (I couldn't agree with this statement more.)

11. Always examine the check. Sometimes large parties are unaware that a gratuity has been added to the bill, so they tip on top of it. Waiters "facilitate" this error. It's dishonest, it's wrong-and I did it all the time.

12. If you want to hang out, that's fine. But increase the tip to make up for money the server would have made if he or she had had another seating at that table. (Nobody ever does this, but it sure would be nice if they would.)

13. Never, ever come in 15 minutes before closing time. The cooks are tired and will cook your dinner right away. So while you're chitchatting over salads, your entrées will be languishing under the heat lamp while the dishwasher is spraying industrial-strength, carcinogenic cleaning solvents in their immediate vicinity. (People that come in right before opening and right before closing annoy me so much. So, so much. I can tell these people have never worked in the industry before or else they wouldn't pull this crap.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Micheal Jackson

What a shock. Such a man of talent. He could sing and dance. The King of Pop. I had the biggest crush on him in the third grade. As soon as I discovered 'Thriller", I had my heart set on marrying Michael Jackson. I played all MJ in my class this morning and plan on doing it again tomorrow for my Saturday class.

I found a link showing the highlights from the Flash Mob here in San Francisco last night where people paid their respects to MJ thru song and dance. The "Beat It" part is the best. It made me laugh and cry a little. I still can't believe he is gone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Guest Blogger Today on the NJC

I'm guest blogging today on the N-Judah Chronicles for Guest Blogger Wednesday.

Read about why I love MUNI so much. :)

**Update June 25th:
My "Why I Love MUNI So Much" article is one of the Top Picks from the Network on Streetsblog today. Whoo Hoo!!

Exciting News!

I can finally tell the world my good news. I have been asked to be the bar manager for a new restaurant/jazz club scheduled to open in the beginning of August here in San Francisco, located in the Mission. I am very excited for this opportunity. I have been a working bartender for six years and have never been a bar manager. I guess all of my hard work and enthusiasm for this industry is finally paying off. I was so honored that they chose me. Being a bar manager was my next logical step in my bartending career. Now I am one step closer to someday opening a place of my own.

Besides having a really cool job and working for super cool owners, this means that I will be going back to bartending nights again, four to five nights a week. I had to give notice to the bar I currently work at. I really love working there, but I just couldn't pass up this opportunity. I will only be teaching at the school now on Saturdays because that is all my schedule would allow. I am going to try and keep my Saturday class at the school, but I might have to let it go if my schedule gets to hectic at the new place.

I will still be writing as the Bartender Examiner on Examiner.com and of course updating my blog here on a regular basis. Now that I will be working nights again, I will have even more juicy stories to share with you. Stories can only get so juicy working behind the bar of a restaurant that closes at 11. It seems like all the really good stuff happens after midnight.

I am still pinching myself about my new job. Yay!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to Spot Counterfeit Money

I found a very useful article today that is a must-read for all of you bartenders out there. The article is titled, "How to Spot Counterfeit Money"

It happens more often than you think. People come into the bar (or any business for that matter), and try to pass fake bills off for real ones. It happens more so in bars because the transactions are usually fast paced and the bars are dark inside.

I wouldn't get too worried about the ones and fives, but I always check the higher denominations (pretty much anything that is a twenty or over). There are sneaky ways you can check the bill to make sure it's real without the customer even knowing. Before you put the bill in the register, give the bill a good swipe with a counterfeit pen. Make sure the ink turns the right color on the bill.

Another way is to use the light from your cash register or POS system display. Place the bill against the light and give it a good once over. It's always better to be safe than sorry. Trust me, there is a lot of counterfeit money out there. I have seen it. It isn't any fun when one of those bills comes through your register and you have to make up the difference because you didn't catch it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ask the Bartender: Tipping at an Event

Maggie Savarino of the Seattle Weekly writes an excellent column called "Voracious: Eating In, Out and Around Seattle." In her column, she writes a weekly feature called, "Ask the Bartender" where readers will write in their questions about bartenders, bar etiquette and bartending in general. This week's "Ask the Bartender" question was:

Who do I tip when I'm going to a wedding? We got in an argument at a wedding last week that I tipped too much. It was a downtown hotel, and I was raised to tip for service. I know I tip the valet, coat check and the bartender, but what about the waiter? I have three more to go to this summer, and I'm tired of not knowing and feeling awkward or wrong!

Be sure to read the rest of this week's "Ask the Bartender."

Every bartender who has ever worked an open bar or hosted party knows and dreads this situation all too well. I agreed and loved Maggie's answer such as, "Tipping is just what you do, people. If you don't like it, move to Germany." and "YOU ALWAYS TIP THE BARTENDER." All hail Maggie Savarino and her awesome column!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's My Birthday. Gimmee A Shot!

It's getting close to that time of year again, my birthday. Since my birthday is right around the corner, naturally I got to thinking about birthdays in general. When I worked at the neighborhood bar in college, I would always get the 21st birthdays coming in and asking for a special shot, just because it was their birthday. I always hated it when people would assume that just because it was their birthday, they felt like they were entitled to a free shot. Friends of the birthday guy or gal would always order the most disgusting shots for their friend like a straight shot of Goldschlager, Jagermeister or a Three Wisemen which would consist of equal parts Johnny Walker Black Label, Jim Beam and Jack Daniel's served room temperature.

If the birthday person was cool or someone I knew, I would set them up with a very special shot for their birthday, the Atomic Stop Light. This shot consisted of three mixed shots: a red, yellow and green shot. I would make the red shot as a Red Headed Slut (Jagermeister, Peach Schnapps and cranberry juice). The yellow shot would be a pineapple Kamikaze (vodka, triple sec, lime juice and pineapple juice). By the time the birthday person would finish the second shot, they wouldn't even hesitate taking the green shot. They would always assume that since the first two shots were so sweet, the green one would be a piece of cake. Wrong! I would make the green shot with equal parts Midori and Bacardi 151. I would get a kick out of watching the birthday person nearly spit out the green shot every time. Then I would scream "Happy Birthday!"

Oh the joys of being a bartender and getting to mess with people.

For my obnoxious customers (the young punks who thought they were too cool for school and entitled to anything, even if it wasn't their birthday), I would always offer them my infamous "mat shot". After said obnoxious customer would come up to my bar demanding that I fix him something special, I would grab a shot glass, lift my bar mat and dump all of the liquid that had been sitting in my mat into the shot glass. Then I would present the shot to the customer. Either they would be so grossed out that it would pipe them down for the rest of the evening or they would be so obnoxious that they would take the shot in front of me, thinking that it would shock me.

Ha! The joke was on them because as a bartender, nothing really shocks me anymore. My mat shots were always on the house, free of charge.

So as my birthday gets near, I plan on celebrating it out of town and quietly. There will be no Three Wisemen, Atomic Stoplights or mat shots for me. But if someone wanted to buy me a shot of Fernet, well that would be an offer I certainly could not refuse.

Happy Birthday to all of my fellow Geminis out there!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Does This Make Me a Racist?

One of my more memorable MUNI stories that happened to me over a year ago on the 22 was posted over on the MUNI Diaries website this week. It seems to have really struck a negative chord with some of the readers out there. Apparently, it isn't okay or acceptable to describe characters in a true story by their race or ethnicity. Just because I referred to one of the men in my story as being "a black man with a gun" and the other men as being "three Hispanic guys who spoke only Spanish", now I am accused of being a racist and racial profiling.

After looking back on my story, I guess I could have done without physically describing the men, but why? Why should I leave out details in my story just because I am scared of pissing someone off? Since when did describing what a person looks like make someone a racist?

Anyways, it just goes to show you that no matter what you say or do, you are bound to upset somebody. People are very sensitive about race, politics and religion. Sometimes you can't even talk about your opinion of the recent state of the economy because people get bent out of shape about that too. This is why bartenders make topics such as these off limits for discussion at the bar because you never know who you might offend.

But in the case of my 22 MUNI story, I was just simply describing the characters. I think it's funny that I was accused of being a racist and for racial profiling. These people obviously don't know me.

Read my story and see for yourself. Do you really think I am a racist?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

National Bartender Examiner=ME!

What's better than being the SF Bartender Examiner on Examiner.com? How about being the National Bartender Examiner!!!! Examiner.com asked me to be the National Bartender Examiner today and I happily accepted. I will be making a formal statement in my next Examiner article.

So what does this mean? I am still bartending. I still live in San Francisco. My topics are going to be more generalized in the bartending field and the bar industry (they kind of were already) and not so San Francisco focused. I will still throw in a few SF references here and there, but my main job is to build a community among all of the other Bars & Clubs Examiners, especially the bartenders.

If you have any ideas or suggestions on topics you would like to see covered in the near future, email me at: Kathleen@XploitedProductions.com

Hey, us writing bartenders have to stick together and educate the masses, one bar patron at a time.

Stay tuned because I still have even more good news coming your way. Until then, I have some celebrating to do and I am starting with happy hour today.

None of Your Damn Business Really

At least once a night, we have customers come in and ask if the current recession has effected business in a negative way. Normally, I don't think twice about the question. Since I have worked at my current bar, I haven't seen a drastic change in business. The money is consistent. I have no complaints. I also didn't work there before the economy took a nose dive last year so I am not really the best person to ask.

Tonight a customer asked me if I had noticed a decrease in business since the recession began. I was honest with him and told him that since I first started in February, I hadn't notice any drastic decrease in business. He then got annoyed with me and said, "Well that doesn't really answer my question now does it?"

That's when I really got to thinking. Who the hell was he anyways and why was it any of his business on how the recession was or wasn't effecting our restaurant? It's not like I am going to run the monthly sales report and show him the numbers. And even if we were slow, you'd think I'd tell him that either?

I wanted to tell this guy to piss off and that it really wasn't any of his business. Shame on him for prying and then getting snippy with me when I didn't tell him what he wanted to hear.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dropping Knowledge

Last night, I had two older couples come into the restaurant and sat at the bar to have a drink before their dinner and stopped by the bar after dinner to have a nightcap. These people were visiting from Palm Springs, happily enjoying their retirement. When the couples first came into the bar, the gentlemen were deciding what to drink. One of the men told me that he wanted a Manhattan served up with Makers. When I looked at the other man to take his drink order, he kind of stumbled. He wasn't sure what he wanted to drink. He then quickly decided to follow suit of his friend and ordered the same thing. So I made two.

As I was making the Manhattans, I could hear the men discussing what they thought whiskey was. I could tell that they were mixing up scotch and whiskey. These guys had probably been drinking for more years than I have been alive, but sadly they had no idea what they have been drinking all of these years. I piped in and explained to them the difference between scotch and whiskey. I explained to them the difference between Tennessee whiskey and bourbon. They asked me to explain to them what the difference between single barrel and small batch bourbon whiskey was. I even threw in some fun facts such as by law, straight bourbon has to be made with 51% corn and 95% of the bourbon distilled and aged in the world comes from Kentucky. They were both very impressed and reflected their appreciation of my knowledge in the form of a generous tip.

I just couldn't let those men leave my bar drinking whiskey and not knowing what the difference between scotch and whiskey were.

Sometimes bartenders have to drop knowledge on their customers and educate them on what it is that they are drinking.


I'm coming home soon.....

Smooth Nights

I worked my first weekend at my "new bar" (well, new to me since February) this past weekend. I worked both Friday and Saturday night. It had been awhile since I had worked behind a bar on a weekend. Like five months or so. I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Saturday turned out to be way smoother than Friday was. I think by Saturday night, I totally had the hang of the weekend craziness. I had spent the whole day before work in bed and mentally preparing myself.

I worked again tonight and it went just as smooth. We were busy too. It feels really good to be able to work behind a bar so well that you can almost do it with your eyes closed and have fun while doing it. I finally feel totally at home and 100% confident behind my current bar. That's a good feeling to have.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kitteh of the week: Ace

My kitty, Ace is Kitteh of the Week over on the Tenderblog. Check it out:

Ace: Kitteh of the Week

PS: We are temporarily relocated for the time being due to the fire on Friday. We are both a-okay, but man was it stinky and scary.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I came across a really cool blog today called Tenderblog. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love living in the TL. Turns out, I am not the only one who loves living in the TL.

About Tenderblog:

"We live, work, eat, and shower regularly in the Tenderloin/Tendernob area. Sometimes we pop up to Nob Hill or Russian Hill on a “human safari” and we talk about that too. If you happen to actually like the Academy of Art University (isn’t that title just a wee bit redundant?), then you’re probably not going to like us. In that case, send any and all hate mail to thetenderblog@gmail.com. Just make sure that you say, “You’re an asshole.” and not, “Your an asshole” as the second is more commonly written, yet highly grammatically incorrect."

I love this blog already.

They even mentioned little ol me and my feature on i live here: SF. I am now officially a Tenderloinette. Check it:
i live here SF: Tenderloin Pride

You better believe I am going to follow this blog and so should you. Go Tenderloin!!

Some Interesting Articles

I came across some interesting articles over this past week that I wanted to share with you guys.

Oh Gosh! wrote a great article about certain cocktail guilty pleasures-drinks you would never publicly admit to ordering or drinking. This article is all about an embarrassed look at the Woo Woo (a fine example of cocktails you enjoy secretly):

An Embarrassed Look at the Woo Woo

Also, did you hear that there were traces of cocaine found in Red Bull? Don't get too excited. It was in Austria, not the United States. You guys know that when Coca Cola first came out on the market, there was cocaine in that too? I'm just saying..

Austria: Traces of Cocaine Found in Red Bull Drink

Happy Reading!

And happy day off to me. It's sunny in San Francisco for once.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June Already?

Geez! It's June already. Man, where is the time going? I think I am still stuck in March. I still can't believe that I have lived here in San Francisco for four years now.

I still can't get over that I am in my sixth year of bartending. Who knew that bartending would be my career of choice? And what a fun and lucrative career it has become.

Speaking of career bartending, whoever said that bartending wasn't a real job? Be sure to read my Examiner.com article today:

Busting Bar Myths Monday: Bartending Isn’t a Real Job