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

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ryan Freel's Dirty Shirt Night

Image hosting by Photobucket

Best promotion ever. Yeah, Reds!! Delightfully creative, and really brought out the crowds on a gorgeous spring Friday evening.

My night at the ballpark: Seventh inning, pretty dull game with Phillies starter John Lieber holding the Reds to a one-hitter. I've had a few beers, and I'm hungry, craving some nachos, or maybe a Skyline coney, so I'm thrilled when I discover the Skyline booth offers both horrible foods one gorges oneself on while watching baseball delicious items.

After an interminable wait, I reach the counter. "I'd like two Skyline coneys, with mustard, no onion, and the nachos... you serve the chili on top of them?"

"No ma'am. You can have nacho cheese, salsa, and jalapenos."

"But you've got the chili right there. And the shredded cheddar. Is it an option?"

"I don't think so. (sidetalk with supervisor) No. Absolutely not."

"Absolutely? Absolutely not?"


(For some reason, I find this hysterical.)

"Two Skyline coneys, with mustard, no onion, then. And the nachos, no jalapenos."

"You can get your mustard over there, we don't have it," he explains to me.



Two teensy coneys and one inexplicably chili-free order of nachos costs $12.50 at the ballpark these days.

Other culinary notes, I didn't order any of these: Skyline 3-Way: $9.00. Fried Twinkie: $7.00 (!!!). Sam Adams 12 oz: $6.25. Miller Lite Plastic Pounder: $7.00. Your Major League Baseball experience on Ryan Freel's Dirty Shirt Night: Priceless, or so I'm told.

The food and beverage cost at baseball games is out of control, and I can't imagine how a family could afford a night at the ballpark these days. Was it this expensive when I was a kid, too? How did my dad ever afford those outings, let alone those souvenir red-dyed lucky bunny rabbit feet I'd beg for? I don't think the vendors sell those anymore, by the way.

My favorite moment tonight, outside of the stunning Reds victory in extra innings, was a beer vendor from our aisle, checking ID's. "That's funny, you don't look Hawaiian," he quipped.

Now that's a line I wish I'd thought of myself. I think I'm going to rip it off.

With that in mind, and as a weird coincidence, I lift my plastic, warm $7.00 beer to the late, great Don Ho, and one hell of an under-appreciated tune.

Tiny bubbles in the wine
Make me feel happy, make me feel fine
Tiny bubbles make me warm all over
With a feelin' that I'm gonna love you till the end of time

So here's to the golden moon
And here's to the silver sea
And mostly here's a toast
To you and me

- Don Ho, "Tiny Bubbles

Technorati Tags: , , ,

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"

Technorati Tags: , , ,