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

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Three Simple Rules, or, Here's How To Get A Drink At A Busy Bar

People were spending money last weekend like it was the end of the world.

I suspect it may be like that for awhile... traditionally, October-December is known as "Bar Season." It still came earlier than I expected. That'll teach me not to pay attention to bleak economic news.

When expecting good bar service on a busy evening, and when in competition with like-minded persons, here are some guidelines, from a bartender's perspective on the busiest, hottest of nights:

1. Don't Stagger-Order.

You: I'll take a 7-and-7, a Bud, a dry house gin martini up, olives, and an ice water.

Me: (Imagine a cartoon-cloud with a bartender, grabbing and mixing furiously, in the middle) Here you go. That'll be $17.00.

You: And, I'll also take a Lemon Drop Martini, a Margarita, with salt, a house Chianti, and a Peroni. With a glass.

Here's the thing... I've been doing this for far longer than you've been ordering drinks, and I can remember everything you tell me. From the beginning.

Sure, I'll serve your first order, I have no choice. But watch me, and my coworkers, look over your head when you come back to the bar for Round 2.

No way are you going to put us in the weeds like that again.

Give it to me all at once. I've got a big brain. My memory is more capable than you'd think. In fact, I'd be a shitty bartender if I couldn't remember at least 12 drinks thrown to me at once. Trust me to get it right. Try it, just once. C'mon.

2. Get your friends to agree on ONE SHOT.

Me: Hi! What's your poison?

You: Ummm... One Lemon Drop, One Jäger, One Jäger Bomb, Two Sex-On-The-Beach, One Purple Hooter, and an ice water. Only, can you put the ice-water in a highball glass and put a lime on it, so she can pretend like she's really drinking?

Me: Yeh. (rolling eyes)

OK, Junior Drinkers. I know you're particular. But you're going to want another shot after that one, and probably real soon, too. You've blown it on your first busy-bartender round, and earned a (possibly undeserved) reputation as a Junior-Orderer. Organize your friends behind ONE SHOT. I suggest the Kamikaze. It goes down easy, it's a classic, it's cheap, and we made plenty of 'em up before-hand. We also have Store-n-Pour's full of Red-Headed Sluts. Go for it. Besides, you're buying, you poor bastard, so you may as well choose the one shot you're all going to collectively puke up later. How about 6 shots of Rumpleminze? At least your vomit will be minty-fresh.

3. Know what you want to order.

Sure, you've been standing there for at least five minutes, jockeying for position while waiting to make eye-contact with me. Use that time to decide.

You, to your buddy: It's been, like, ten minutes, and I'm thirsty.

Me: Hi! Your turn!

You: Miller Lite, shot of Beam, Coke back, please.

Your buddy: Ummmm..... Uhhhhhh.....

Me: (blowing you off, going to next person waiting down the bar) What can I get for you?

Don't let your indecisive best friend embarrass you at the bar. Ask him what he wants, instruct him to go away and hover over the last-available high-top, and place his order. It's quite simple, really.

I'm just sayin', is all.

Talk To The Tip Jar.

You: Can I get a drink?

Me: When it's your turn.

You: (waving a 20-spot) It's all yours, if you get me next.

Me, skipping the logical, first-come, first-served, "fair" order:

Sir, how can I help you, and what can I get for you, sir? And next time you need a drink, sir, just come to me.