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

Friday, May 05, 2006

Here's Why I Hate Going Out.

Like any normal girl, I just wanna have fun. Cindy Lauper preached it.

What sucks about being a bartender is that after-work fun is hard to find. First of all, we work until most other bars close. Second of all, who wants to go hang out at a bar after tending bar for hours? It would be like asking the head of Exxon-Mobil to go to an Oil Fiesta after the markets close.

Although he'd probably enjoy that. Bad analogy.

But, I got off early tonight, and was thrilled to finish up in time to go out and see my friend's band play in Northside. The bartender seems cool. I'm a beer-and-a-shot girl, nothing complicated. I tip him ridiculously. It's bartender karma. I'm in for two rounds.

I go up to the bar for a third round, and suddenly, my name is Skip. Bartender spends his time at the far end, chatting up his buddies, chillin' with regulars. I understand playing up to your friends and regulars, of course. But, from time to time, a good bartender takes a sweep of the bar, a mental inventory, if you will, of the half-full beers and empty drinks sitting before new customers. He does this, kinda, but manages to overlook me each sweep. I tap my foot. I'm probably exaggerating (they all do), but I'm thinking it's been about eight minutes that I've been standing.

I finally catch him when he's at the register. "Hey," I call out.

He snaps his head in disgust and says, "What!??!" Damn, such snark, and he's not even in the weeds.

I say, "I'd like a round, same as before."

He ignores me, closes his cash drawer and heads to the opposite end of the bar. Chats with his buddies. I get a big drink of nothin'. I'm really quite shocked, and a little embarrassed. Nobody likes waiting empty-handed when they're thirsty.

Still, I wait patiently, thoughts in my head of being in his shoes on a busy Thursday. I make up every excuse for his behavior that I can, but never would I have treated a customer I've already acknowledged, especially one who has tipped me so obscenely, in such a horrible manner.

And that's why I hate going out. I think I know all the rules, but apparently someone didn't read the Basic Rules of Bartending Manual.

I guess he's trying to teach me a lesson for not being a regular or a buddy of his. When he finally decides to serve me, I ask him, earnestly, "Hey, did I not tip you enough on those first two rounds? Seemed like a lot to me."

"Oh yeah?" he snaps back. "So, what do you do for a living?" He thinks he's being cute. It's really uncalled for. I've been nothing but patient and polite and generous since I arrived at his fine establishment.

"Me? I'm just a bartender," I reply. He doesn't even flinch, not that he should. But, still...

He serves me an Anchor Steam and an icewater, and I I flip him yet another big tip; it's that bar karma thing, I guess. Each tip I gave him has been unearned, but he's completely unaffected.

Is it a generational thing? Where is the love, junior barkeeps? I hate to think that I'm passing the torch to the likes of you.

All that being said, Happy Cinco de Mayo, my boozy friends!

It's a quarter to three, there's no one in the place 'cept you and me
So set 'em up, Joe
I got a little story I think you oughtta know
We're drinking my friend
To the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

- Frank Sinatra, One For My Baby