Of Bars, Booze, and Bartending - Proving "Coughlin's Law" Invalid Since Feb '05

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Dewar's on the rocks, with a splash of pride.

It's a busy Friday night, and one of the more experienced servers, Bob, calls an order of Dewar's and water, x3. Wow, quite a few, I thought, while making the traditional, but not terribly popular, highball. Added more ice after the scotch "melt", and then added the water. I try ever so hard to mix my drinks with love, not to mention that I'm growing weary of pouring wine and Appletinis tonight and appreciate the change-up.

A few minutes later, Bob re-appears with the three highballs. I roll my eyes at him, and he looks almost pleased when informing me that the customers thought they were the weakest scotch-and-waters they had ever tasted. I'm offended, because the customers are challenging my skills, and exaggerating to boot. "Ever" is little more than dramatic puffery when it comes to complaining customers. Feeling confident that I pour an honest shot, I'm tempted to force Bob to ask the customers if they'd prefer to order and pay for a double, but decide against pissing off a harried server in the middle of a hectic Friday. I top the drinks off with a touch of Dewar's, essentially rewarding the customers with free scotch. I even re-ice the cocktails to freshen them up; I've gone above and beyond the call of bartending. I watch Bob carry them away, and I feel a bit puffed-up with pride, unapologetic for the first round.

Bob, the button-pusher, returns about fifteen minutes later, knowing I'm on edge. "They told me to tell the lady bartender that they'll have you trained by the end of your shift," he laughs. Old-timer Bob is loving my perceived shortcomings tonight.

As the party leaves, I make certain to catch the eye of one of the Dewar's drinkers. Unprevoked (mental darts I'm projecting into his torso notwithstanding), he approaches me, and says, or, rather, harrumphs, "Bartender? Weakest scotches I've ever had."

"Sir," I say. "What did you have? Scotches? Scotches and water?" I tried to play dumb and cocky at the same time, but only came across as stuttering and defensive. Bah. Writing about it now, I'm reminded of what the Germans call treppenwitz.

"See, that's the problem! Dewar's on the rocks with a splash. Not Dewar's and water!!"

Let it be known that there is a huge difference between a rocks drink and a highball, and that this was clearly a case of server, rather than bartender, error. It happens. I feel slightly vindicated, but I still think the guy was an asshole.

For the record, the customers left Bob $25.00 even on a $178.00 tab. Free-scotch-drinkin'-server-runnin' cheapass complainers.