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

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

For the Love of God, Please Don't Fuck with the Muzak

A very, very quiet Monday night. Steady, but dull.

In the evenings, our little taverna turns into a fine-dining establishment, and naturally, the in-house music needs to change. 50's-60's Oldies and Sappy Love Songs channels work fine for the business-chatty lunch crowd, but at night, the owner prefers Standards or Light Jazz or Italian Classics. It simply sets the mood.

Anyone who works in an Italian type-restaurant likely knows the words to "Di Bocci" by heart. The satellite wizards basically spin ten Italian standards, three Pavarotti songs, and two Italian-language covers of American pop tunes per hour. It's a predictable formula, and I imagine it's the same for Italian restaurants nationwide.

For the record, the staff's favorite is the Italian version of Laura Branigan's "Gloria". I recently learned from Italian Owner that the song was originally recorded by Italian pop singer
Umberto Tozzi, not Laura Branigan. I won't ever share that fact with the staff; it would ruin our fun.

So, Tina, who I've mentioned in previous columns, is our most experienced server, and she pretty much runs the roost. She deserves to, and she's damned good at it. One thing's for certain: It's up to Tina what style of music the customers will be enjoying.

Which brings me to the highlight of a dull Monday: One of our newer servers took it upon herself to change the music from Italian Classics to some kind of Classic Rock channel smack dab in the middle of dinner.

When "White Room" by Cream started blaring through the dining room, Tina turned pale and appeared to be shaking. Watching from my perfect vantage point at the bar, I spit up a little bit of iced tea as she tripped up the stairs, running for the control board.

Only a few customers caught the abrupt switch from "You said no strings could secure you at the station" to "Volare, oh oh oh oh! Cantare, oh oh oh oh," but I was happy to observe them.

When questioned, adorable new girl said, "Well, the other music was just kind of boring. I wasn't really feeling it." I predict Tina will chew the child into bits before week's end.

We could have locked up 45 minutes before close, but of course a couple showed up at the last possible minute, exclaiming, "You're still open?! Honey, we just made it!"


chiesa di campagna
acqua nel deserto
lascio aperto il cuore
scappa senza far rumor
edal lavore dal tuo letto
dai gradini di un altare
ti aspetto Gloria!

- Umberto Tozzi, "Gloria"