Thursday, December 31, 2009

NYE is for Amateurs

For some, New Years Eve is the biggest and most celebrated party night of the year. For the rest of us, its just another night at work. When I tell customers that I have to work on NYE, they feel sorry for me that I can't be out celebrating. Don't cry for me Argentina. I'd rather work NYE than be out with all of the amateurs. Here's why:

Everything is Expensive and Overpriced

Think about it. You can go out to any club or bar any night of the week. When NYE comes around, suddenly everyone else wants to go out too. Bars, clubs and restaurants capitalize on this notion by increasing the price on everything. Drinks are more expensive. Prix fixe menus are everywhere. Cover charges are outrageous. All of a sudden, it costs three times the normal amount to eat out and booze it up just because it's the last night of the year.

Long Waits

Going out on NYE means waiting. You have to wait in line to get into the party/bar/club/restaurant. You have to wait at the bar for your drinks. You have to wait for your cocktails server to bring you your bottle service. You have to wait for a cab in order to go to the next party or to go home. The extreme wait times are due to the fact that there are a whole lot more people out on the town than on any normal night. Most of the people whom are out probably don't normally go out all year long. Most people have New Years Day off (unless you work in the service or retail industry) so they go out all night long on NYE and then spend the day after NYE at home, in bed, with a hangover. Which leads me to my next point...

With the dramatic increase in people out on the town, you're bound to run into a lot of amateurs. I'm not referring to the newly turned 21-year-old-types either. I'm referring to the people who only go out and drink once a year (NYE). Amateurs don't understand the concept of moderation. They get excited. Hey, it's their big night out of the year. Amateurs arrive early to their parties, take advantage of and often abuse the open/hosted bars and are usually found passed out in a corner somewhere well before the countdown. The amateurs are the best and worse part of NYE for bartenders. Amateurs are great for people watching and provide many entertaining stories to share with the rest of the staff at the end of the shift. Amateurs can also be a headache, not being aware of proper bar etiquette and therefore almost always slow down service at the bar.

Make Money Instead of Spending Money

Let's face it. With the increase of drinkers out on the town, it just makes more financial sense for me as a bartender to work behind the bar on NYE. Sure, I might miss the countdown and a New Years kiss at midnight because I'm in the middle of making drinks for a thirsty customer or pouring countless glasses of champagne just so my customers can have something in their hands for the midnight toast. On the flip side, I'm making money off the amateurs and not spending my money on inflated cover charges and overpriced cocktails.

Besides, the real players know that the really fun parties aren't until New Years Day anyways, long after all the amateurs have gone home and tucked themselves into bed or passed out in a gutter somewhere.

Happy New Year everybody. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Frontier

I am about to start a new chapter in my bartending career. I officially started training to bartend at a gentleman's club this week. I am really excited for the opportunity. I have bartended in all sorts of bar: live music venues, restaurants, nightclubs, lounges, dive bars and even a few private parties, but never a gentleman's club.

I can't imagine working in a bar like this would be much more different than working behind any other bar. Customers and servers order drinks, you make the drinks. You accept payment, ring payment into the register and thank the customers. Show up on time, do your J-O-B and its easy-breezy.

Each bar has its own special lure to get customers through the door like specialty cocktails, live music, amazing food or topless ladies. In the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter what type of bar I work in because wherever I go, I always bring my hardworking, bubbly personality, tasty cocktail making and superb customer skills with me. For this particular experience, it doesn't look like the focus will be so much on my award winning cocktails as it will be on my charming personality and also perhaps the low cut shirt I am wearing during my shift. Hey, its a gentleman's club. You have to play the part.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hot Toddy Weather

It's been really cold over the last couple of weeks here in San Francisco. So it's no surprise that there has been a surge in the amount of Hot Toddy's ordered at the bar lately. Due to the drink's recent rise in popularity at my bar, I give you my own Hot Toddy recipe and a small variation for those feeling a little under the weather:

My Traditional Hot Toddy Recipe:

2 oz bourbon
1 sugar cube
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
hot water

In a heat-resistant glass, add bourbon, sugar cube, lemon juice and fill the remainder of the glass with hot water. Stir until the sugar cube is fully dissolved. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Feeling-Under-The-Weather Hot Toddy Recipe:

2 oz bourbon
1 sugar cube
1/2 fresh lemon juice
a pinch of fresh ginger
hot water

In a heat-resistant glass, add ginger and muddle. Add bourbon, sugar cube, lemon juice and fill the remainder of the glass with hot water. Stir until the sugar cube is fully dissolved. Let the drink sit for a minute or two so that the ginger can infuse itself into the drink. Before serving, be sure to strain out the ginger. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You're cutting me off?

It's never easy cutting off a drunk person. No matter how calm or rational you are, the rationality is always wasted on the drunk person you are cutting off.

A woman walked into the bar the other night and made it really obvious that she was loaded. It's one thing to get drunk at an establishment. It's another thing to come into a establishment already tanked and act like a fool. Looking back on the incident, we should have just asked her to leave from the beginning. But in fear of making a poor, customer service call, we gave her the benefit of doubt.

This chick was all over the place. Everywhere she went, she stumbled and slurred. She was loud and obnoxious. She even shattered a martini glass at her table just because it was in front of her. Her friends were so embarrassed by her public drunken stupor. They individually came up to the bar and asked the entire staff to not serve her because she was so drunk. Fortunately, all of us at the bar already had our eyes on her and had established amongst one another that none of us were going to serve her any alcohol.

At one point, the boyfriend of the drunk girl had ordered a beer for himself. Ten minutes later, drunk girl realized that her boyfriend had a drink and she didn't. She then stumbled up to the bar and demanded to know why she didn't have a drink. I watched the commotion unfold. As the bartender calmly explained to drunk girl that she wouldn't be served any alcoholic drinks, the drunk girl's voice got noticeably louder. People sitting at the bar were starting to look over to see what all of the commotion was about.

After the third time of hearing drunk girl asking the calm bartender why she wasn't getting served alcohol, I walked over to where the loud conversation had been taking place. As I stood there next to the bartender, drunk girl demanded to know who was responsible for cutting her off. I quickly piped in, "Me. I'm the one who cut you off. I'm the bar manager and I made the call." Of course she demanded to know why. I told her that she had been stumbling all over the club as soon as she had got there, reminded her of the glass she shattered at her table and told her that even her friends had told us to cut her off. Sounded like a no brainer to me, but then again I was the sober one in the situation.

Of course the answer I gave her was not the answer she wanted to hear. She started screaming a variety of curse words as she backed up from the bar, as if to prepare to lunge at me and my fellow bartender. Just as I was in the process of telling her that now was the time for her to go, security came up from behind and kindly escorted drunk girl to the door.

I think its safe to say that this chick has been permanently 86ed from our bar.

Word to wise:

Bartenders: Always keep your cool. Always remember that drunk people aren't rational. You can't take it personal when someone is blaming you for their drunken actions.

Drinking Public: If a bartender cuts you off, it's probably for the best. Accept the fact, quietly leave the bar, get in a cab and go home. Running your drunk ass mouth and making a fool of yourself in public won't get you served and is the quickest way to the front door.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 5th: Celebrate Repeal Day!

December 5, 2009 marks the 76th anniversary of the Eighteenth Amendment being repealed, giving back to Americans their constitutional right to drink. The Eighteenth Amendment is the only amendment to the Constitution that has been repealed thanks to the Twenty-first Amendment, marking the end of Prohibition in 1933.

Learn all about what Repeal Day is exactly and why it should be celebrated

Repeal Day events in San Francisco tonight

So today, be sure to drink and be merry. Celebrate the day in American history when the ban on manufacturing, importing, exporting, buying and selling of alcohol was lifted and that all fellow Americans (whom are at the legal age to drink or older) got back their constitutional right to drink publicly.