Monday, July 30, 2012

WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! (Featuring Guest Blogger, D., The Bartender's Bartender)

             It had to happen. Getting around to talking about TOO much drinking. I try to avoid condemning any kind of excess. In a godless world as we live, hedonism seems the finest choice, the pursuit of pleasure at all costs. Secretly, we all are hedonists, opting for the pleasurable moments and avoiding the other ones, in pure Epicurean fashion.
            I like to think I’m an exceptional drunk.
            Some might disagree.
            The only time I’ve been cut off from the bars was when I clothes-lined this guy off his bar stool at The Abbey Bar. And I worked at the bar. I wasn’t on shift. I was merely a civilian that day.
            The man in question was a known shit talker and I suppose I was done with it.
            He muttered something. I pegged the back of his stool with my foot and slammed an arm across his chest, sending him reeling backward and onto the Abbey Bar’s dirty floor. I leapt up and got above him, and that’s when my boss came around to stop me.   
            “Matthew, what the hell are you doing?”  
            “Fuck this guy, man, I’m tired of his shit.”
            My boss pulled me aside. Behind him the man in question goaded me on. My boss took me outside.
            “What’s your problem?”
            “I’m fine. I’m fine.”
            “The hell you are. You can’t attack customers.”
            “I need a drink.”
            He stood, hands on his waist, shaking his head: “You going to have to have one somewhere else.”
            I shrugged and moved on. I couldn’t really argue with him. If I was working, I would’ve kicked my own punk ass out.              
            This week however, we are graced yet again from a woman who no doubt has seen me in all kinds of drunk compromising situations: “D”, the Bartender’s Bartender.
            We had found ourselves discussing when ‘enough is enough’ with some of these drunken styles. You might have found yourself in some of these moments. And then been told to leave.
            Ladies and gentlemen, “D”, the Bartender’s Bartender:           

            You’re in a bar.
            You’re super charming.
            Everyone loves you.
            It’s the best night of your life.
            Or so you think. Because you’re wasted. And everyone around you is wasted. Except one person—the bartender.
            Even if I, your lovely bartender, have done a few (or eleven) shots of Jameson, I am still sober. Nothing keeps you sober like steering a ship full of drunks through a storm of alcohol. Your captain must remain alert and look for signs on the horizon that a storm may be brewing.   We bartenders have some tricks to see just how drunk you are, even as you pretend to be the picture of sobriety for the five minutes it takes to complete our bartender/drinker transaction. You want that booze and we hold the key. One wrong move and bam, cut off!
            But why?
            How’ d she know?
            Ever been cut off and didn’t know how the bartender could’ve possibly known the true extent of your bender?
            Here’s how:

            You Can’t Speak
            If you come up to the bar, I will say to you, "hey, how’s it going?" This is a cordial greeting, sure, but this is also a test. The correct response can vary, but it must include actual words.
            If you simply nod, I get suspicious. Then I pose a follow up question. "What can I get ya?"
            If you slur, I will assess the clarity of what you said and how wasted I think you may be. If you simply point at a can of beer, you are done.
            If you cannot verbalize what you want to drink, you simply cannot drink anymore. And you are cut off.
            Because if I serve you one more...

            You’re Sleeping On The Bar

            This should go without saying.
            If you are sleeping in a bar; slumped over on the stool, head on the bar, or actually standing and nodding off (yes, this one really happened just last week) then you have no business being inside the bar.
            The bar is not an ideal place for a nap.
            The only time a person sleeps in the bar is when they are passing out. The last thing I want is to be shaking awake some drunk dude and then helping them in a cab, find their phone, wallet, keys, etc.
            Ideally I’ve cut you off before we get to this point, but sometimes you come in from another bar where the bartender kicked you out, and now you’re my problem.
            Or sometimes I was the one getting you drunk, but you fall into the next category.

            The Sneak Attack Drunk

            Ah, this is the best kind of drunk.
            I’m pouring you drinks all night.
            You’re cool and funny, you tip well and can totally hold your liquor.
            You’re a bartender’s favorite customer, until that fateful game-changing drink which I pour and when I turn around and you are falling off your barstool or worse, puking.
            Out of nowhere, you are super wasted.
            The problem with this type of drunk is they are usually your best regular and it’s nearly impossible to know which drink will be the kicker.
            It’s Russian Roulette.
            And then we are dealing with a slurring, sleeping fall-down mess.

            So next time you are in the bar and secretly know just how wasted you actually are, be prepared.
            Say your order simply and clearly, or get a friend to order for you.
            Stay and awake and in closing, please enjoy this quote from Load- one of the best punk rock bands to ever come out of Miami, Fl of all places.
            "Fell off the barstool again. She was my only companion. She’s there laughing at me. Laughing at me as I fall."

            Incidentally, the last time I fell off a barstool was at the Subway Bar. When I texted my friend the next day out of embarrassment, she simply replied "welcome to the family".






  1. I'm a number 3. It's why I make absolutely certain to only be #3 when I'm around people who I trust to know when to tell me to GTFO.

  2. There is a no.4 to this list, which is the bartender him or herself. We go in to bars, we drink at work, and we have been all of these examples and worse. But the point I'm making is not on a night by night basis. It's a life in your legal drinking age thing. When was the last time YOU, the bartender, went a day with out drink. There's the madness of our trade. And the reason we can drink YOU, the patron, out of your mind, out of your rent, and under the table.