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

Monday, April 09, 2007

You're Cut Off

I'm sure many of you have seen the recent news coverage of the Chicago bartender who was beaten by a patron in her bar, when she refused to serve him. It got me thinking about the customers I've refused to serve, and I became a bit frightened. What bothered me the most about all of this, actually, was that nobody else in the bar seemed to stand up, take on the attacker. That's not been my experience with regulars, so it seemed all the more bizarre.

Bartender in police beating video says she's still scared

I'll bet. I'm not sure I could return to work, honestly.

I'll never forget this one kid, maybe barely 21, elegantly wasted in his eyes, begging me for another drink. Refusing him service was a no-brainer, but he had accomplices. His friends were sneaking him beers, and kept sending him up to the bar as some kind of frat joke. It was annoying, and obvious. But that's the worst I ever had, just annoyed, just embarrassed for drunk people. You've we've all made damned inebriated fools out of ourselves, but I've never had anyone get aggressive on me.

I feel lucky. I've been hassled, annoyed, jostled; I've even clutched a bottle of Galliano in the midst of a bar brawl (behind the natural barricade that the bar provides a girl, mind you), but I've certainly never been beaten by a customer. Bartending can be a dangerous job, and I'll bet they never promote that aspect when begging you to call 1-800-BARTEND for training.

A toast to Karolina Obrycka, one bad-ass bartender in Chicago. I wish her the best, and I'm a little worried about her.

Left a dog and took his life
Left a pale mistress and a paler bride
Left it all, gave it away
I didn't owe you anyway
To me you were strange
But it's as good as any day to dirty the clean slate
But from the knife I shall refrain

- Wojo, "You In His Eyes"

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