Friday, February 28, 2014


             Every time you start to feel the sensation of emptiness, that all rivals amassed in your life have revealed themselves to be your enemies, and the thought of cleaning a razor and slipping into a bubble bath sounds super sexy, I want you to immediately look over to your calendar hanging in the kitchen (like the Norman Rockwell painting I know all of you live in). If the date is February and any number in the 20’s, I want you to sit down calmly at your wood carved, placement adorned kitchen table, and breathe out deep.
            The world is not coming to an end, aside from the feeling contrary.
No, friends, it’s just the tail end of an East Coast winter, and any one who has lived through some know that irrational and often fatalistic thoughts are common during this glide into March. An everyday reality. And the City Of New York doesn’t help either. There is gleefulness in tragedy, like some dark season in a Dostoyevskian novella, that allows the human mind to feel that depression, sadness, and betrayal will be our only daily bread.
            No kids, you just need a beach day.
            The thing is that this is the most depressing time in NYC: snows been falling for weeks, the sun is replaced by a London Fog of grey doom, and the people have hidden themselves indoors OD’ing on House of Cards and True Detective.    
            Even Alec Baldwin came out to say he’s so depressed he’s going to move to Los Angeles (you’d have to be to move out there).
            But as your bartender, I’m here to tell you everything is going to be okay. This is only a phase. Your friends are not out to get you. Your boss is not going to fire you. The girl/guy you have a crush on probably does like you back. You don’t have to spend all of your time on Tinder.
            There are just a couple of things I want you to remember as we edge, slowly, through each unbearable degree of freezing cold (I think it was 3 degrees this morning out here).
            Don’t buy that gun. Avoid abusing Percocet. Put the bottle of whiskey down. Stop polishing the blade. Try to remember these fun facts about these last weeks of Winter 2014:

            This is a proven psychological affliction. Seasonal Affected Disorder. It means that the human mind and mood is ‘affected’ by the weather. Not in some paranoid ‘chem trails’ sort of way. It’s simple. Look at England. Want to know why the best music (rock and roll, especially) all comes from the British Isles? It’s grey as fuck (like Seattle) and the only thing left to do is lock yourself in a room and learn every Leadbelly song you can.
            Or take Southern California. Why is everyone in such a chill and good mood? Easy: no seasons, endless skyline, and the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s very difficult to be depressed on the sandy beach watching the dolphins swim together before the silhouette of Catalina Island. Of course, being a pale-faced, scrawny New Englander freshly moving to Surf City U.S.A. from Rhode Island, I certainly tried my best to be depressed about it. I just listened to a lot of The Cure.
            S.A.D. is real. So if you’re balancing on the edge of a building right now—stop. It’s too cold for that shit. Yes, people are meaner in this season. It’s because their insides are freezing cold. Give them a sunny day and watch the ice melt.

            BEACH DAY

            Oh. Yes.
            Here’s my foolproof plan each Spring/Summer/Fall day that clocks above 80 degrees. Get up at 9am, immediately head to Union Square. Send out a mass text of those that would join the adventure (yes, I’ve gone solo before and will do it again). I go and purchase two bottles of Prosecco. They go right into the cooler (ice can be acquired at destination). Then I grab one of the yellow lines all the way to Brighton Beach. It’s no more than a 40 minute (proper train jumping is key) ride for $2.25. Before you know it, you’re in Russian town, buying ice and chilled bottles of Vodka from the bodega.
            We walk down the beach (which is never crowded at that hour) and set up camp. Towels are spread, umbrellas are dug in, and the weed is sparked. Nobody gives a shit about what happens out there as long as you keep a low profile. Then, after food, talk, several drunken swims, and other expressions of odd beach behavior, we walk down to Coney Island and watch the sunset drinking a Coors Light at Ruby’s, a nasty old glorious biker dive bar.
            Don’t you already feel better? Whose on my list!?!

            BACKYARD BBQ’s

            I don’t care if your grilling 25 pounds of ribs or sweetly charring heirloom mushrooms with chipotle butter. Any time the sun is shining, friends are drinking, and the music is pumping out in the afternoon light, times are great. Think of all those kids in Syria who don’t get backyard BBQ’s! It’s cheaper than a bar and far more intimate. Conversations abound, a blunt passed happily around, maybe even some dogs and cats running around our feet, these types of parties bring warmth to me, that’s for sure.
            Y’all feel me on this one?

            So buck up, buttercups, and ride this goddamn Winter out. So much more to come.

            Till next time.




Friday, February 14, 2014


            Now this topic is incredibly apropos for our celebrated day of love: St. Valentine’s Day. We all know from the myriad of Facebook posts that in fact, St. Valentine, the honorable saint that the day was commemorated for back on February 14th, 269, was beaten and clubbed to death when he tried to get his buddy, Emperor Claudius to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Claudius, not digging religion, demanded Valentinus to rebuke his faith in Christ. Valentinus refused. Then Valentinus got beat to death.
            Why in the world this lovely holiday ended up the day in America when we give each other roses and stress out waiters during dinner rush hours, I will never know. But I made a pact with you, dear readers, I would address a serious issue I (and many people at my bar) want answered this week: to Couple, or not to Couple. That is the question.
            We all know by now that New York is a city made and constructed for single people. Maybe it’s the endless parade of the ‘better’, that illusion that people are merely interchangeable objects that can be replaced much like items on the shelves of Wal-Mart. If something is broken, just bring your receipt to the counter and get a similar version without those annoying aliments such as depression, borderline personality disorders, undiagnosed anxiety, or rampant narcissism. And still despite all of the common opinions that New York is a place of sex Olympians, Don Juan’s, and Jezebels, there are still plenty of people who decide to shack up. I’m sure it’s just to get a better deal at rent or the existential abyss that is New York Winters. Or whatever.
            Let’s try, for the first time in The Bartender Knows history, to be even-handed in my judgments of the couple/single thing. I’ll give a series of episodes and we will apply the couple/single filter upon what happens when these life-moments happen.
Here we go.
            You Get A New Job

Finally you have more money to go out and meet people to talk to/fuck/ build intimacy with. Now you no longer have to troll Craig’s List ads at bars (because you don’t have/ can’t afford Internet in your house) and bitch to everyone you know about looking/not finding work. Now both your time and your money is yours. Until you meet someone. Then you have to spend it on them. A lot. On everything from drinks to movies to dinners (or what ever people who don’t know each other do).

            Change is death. Time schedules must be re-arranged. The patterns, the ultimate mark of any couple, now must be altered. Sometimes this is a good thing. Most of the time, change, of any sort, is a cause of serious friction. After all, you bought the person as is when you say the words: “I love you”. The three words stipulate: 1. “I” means you know what you are: 2. “love” is the expression of these feelings: and 3. “you” meaning that you know all there is to know about the significant other to ‘love’ them. However, if any change comes to the structure that you ‘love’, there is a threat to the security of that ‘love’. That’s when the arguments start. And we all know how fun those are.
            Somebody You Love Dies

You are fucked. Yes, some people will give the gratuitous head-down bow and say: “I’m sorry,” but there is no one in the darkness of the night that will hold you when you weep on your pillow. Only alcohol, binge eating, and narcotics will help you through these dark times. Or a true friend, and if that friend is hot, you should probably try to have sex with them. Nothing is more erotic than death-sex. Try it. You’ll see.

Best thing ever. Now any where you go, from bar to restaurant, to shopping mart to dry cleaners, if you start to break down, someone will be there to hold you and comfort you through these trying times. Mourning sex is better with someone you know, and things grow in wildly intimate proportions. Try it. You’ll see.

You Get The Opportunity to Travel

This is perfect. Nothing is better in this world (other than death-sex) than wandering around God’s Green Earth alone. There is a huge world out there, and you are obligated as a human citizen of the world to see every part of it before you bite the dust. Not only do you learn about yourself in ways no yoga class or psychologist could teach you, the utter ‘dizziness of freedom’ is as intoxicating as a bottle of good French wine. No one can explain the feeling of being ‘on the road’ alone, especially in places where you do not speak the language. The utter ‘aloneness’ that washes over a person in this scenario, albeit scary at first, is a revealing experience you will never forget.

Drag. A fucking total drag. If anyone has ever traveled with a partner, unless one person is as passive as a porcelain doll, there’s always the push and pull of where to go, what to eat, where to walk, and how to stay in a foreign city or land. Admittedly, I am a great traveler. I just don’t give a fuck about where I go, unlike my personal life when stationary where I become tense and edgy. I have gypsy blood, so freedom (and others freedom) is essential to my being. But most others, under the time restrictions of ‘vacation’, are caught in a funnel only leading to both peoples unhappiness. Now, if you just want a ‘lover’s getaway’ I can get behind that. You can fuck, drink, and ignore the world together. But when you are exploring another country, there must be no rules. Ever.

You Just Moved To New York City

Good move. Truly. The only way to understand, experience, and actually become a ‘New Yorker’ is to be ALONE in New York for several years. That way you can experience by yourself the ups, downs, lefts and rights that is this fine city (which is unlike any place in the world). And when I say, by yourself, I mean it. Life here can be torturous, insane, nerve-wracking, tense, and can sometimes inspire total nihilism. But without these ‘dark nights of the soul’ you are missing out on some serious life lessons. This town will carve you into what you always should have been.  Otherwise, you should have just moved to fucking Philadelphia. You could have saved a lot of money that way.

You will break up in 6 months. That is a fact. It always happens. Trust me.
You Want To Breed

You are fucked. Sorry. Try

This makes sense. You might have to couple up (I suppose you don’t have to be a couple to get pregnant, but it might be better for the kid) before you actually conceive a child into this fine thing called life. Don’t listen to what the ‘modern’ doctors tell you that one parent is just enough. How else can you manipulate your kid into a good person without the assistance of another human? It takes two to tango, as they say, and breeding is better going Dutch.

Happy Valentines Day!
Till next time!




Monday, February 3, 2014


            I’ve been listening to a lot of Elton John lately.
Strange. I always resisted him for some reason. Maybe because my folks were really into him and like any spoiled brat, tried to resist his music. But it cannot be denied. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Rocket Man”.
So many soulful tunes—emotional, real and true.
Which is all you can ask from a song. 
             As most of you know, I’ve been lost in the dream of myself for the last couple of weeks (and ending in about 22 hours) down here in the now sleeting city of New Orleans, Paris, France’s punk rock stepchild. Yes, I said sleeting.
No more of those languid afternoons falling asleep on the porch with a straw hat on (that happened). This sleeting reminds me of a place like, hmmm, what’s that place called? You guys know what I’m talking about. Shitloads of people constantly around, usually hating on something, not smiling…right, New York City. This terrible weather reminds me of New York City. My home for the last 8 years. The place that has made me (and I’m sure countless millions) realize exactly who I am as a person, as a soul, as an artist. Because, putting it simply, New York is the place where the fat burns right off of your personality, shaping you into what you actually are.
As one of my customers (a native New Yorker) once told me: “You don’t move to New York to be something. You move to New York to become what you actually are.”
            There is no greater city in the world that relentlessly tests you and what you think you are. Yes, your flaws are readily handed to you on a silver platter. Conversely, your skill sets (already present or quickly learned) expose themselves as well. Before I moved to New York (and I sort of want to hug that guy, whoever the fuck he was), I had many ideas about what and who I was. Now I know exactly what I am. And the only things I’ve lost are my illusions.
Bye, illusions about life, I will miss you.
            This may sound like I’m the one hating now. But anyone who has ever lived in New York will tell you; it is taxing, and not just in the pocket book, but on your precious soul as well.   
            So as I watch the minutes count down before my grand (or humble I should say) return, I can't help but to think of the differences between these two very strange American Cities. 
            There are not as many differences as one would think. Both are rich in cultural history. Both have some lovely cuisine choices. Both attract very odd personalities. Both towns are certainly not short of drinkers.
            The one glaring difference brings me back to the whole Elton John thing. The people here in New Orleans are not afraid to bleed openly. To suffer in some open, public, and romantic way seems part and parcel round these parts. People wear their flaws on their sleeves, and whether they judge you quietly after the Southern Hospitality wears off, they just don’t care. There’s something so relieving about that experience, being around people who know all too well about life’s unfairness. Now I’m not saying suffering is unique to New Orleans, this whole goddamn life is suffering (just ask Buddha, one of his principle tenants). Yet, despite openly suffering, there’s a universal sense of humor, comedy, and straight forwardness about life’s less-than-gorgeous moments. It’s that fucking smile, my friends. Everybody’s got one here when they greet you. And it’s emotional, real, and true, just like those ballads of Mr. John (not to be confused with Dr. John, whose music is now playing at this bar as I write. “Right Place, Wrong Time”, for those keeping score).
            I love the wounds of this city. There’s not a crack in the sidewalk that needs to be filled. People here in New Orleans aren’t afraid to bleed openly. There’s a beauty in suffering down here, a poetic knowledge of the tragedy of life, and bravely approach that darkness with music, fun, and gaiety:
In spite of everything.
Now that’s what I call some American spirit. I am aware about now readers that you are probably thinking to yourself: “Hey Matthew, why don’t you just fucking move there already?” (said in New York accent). Yeah, I get it. I still owe New York just a little bit more blood.
I was thinking of the great philosophical question walking down a rainy Magazine Street this morning: “If a Matthew fell in a forest and there was no one to hear him, would he make a sound?” I thought. Not unless the birds and the creepy crawlies read blogs…

(NOTE: At the end of this sentence, I started talking to this young writer guy and we ended up in a dialogue about art, music, etc. It was wonderful, feeling this form of simpatico with any human. We were at the Rendezvous Tavern on Magazine Street, a small lovely dive with a nice bartender and unbelievable drinks deals.
However, as the dialogue increased in energy, I noticed someone behind me. A squat, fat, balding, sweating man leaned on the bar, in work boots and dirty jeans, just staring at me with anger and vehemence in his eyes. And it was just 530pm.
Now, I would never let some guy who looked like The Thing with death in his eyes ruin a dialogue filled with such glory and truth. So I ignored him. But if I had made once slanting look he would have struck first. New Orleans bars never close, so this guy could have been on the cocaine/booze/labor job train for the last 3 days. Or maybe just thought our talk of Oscar Wilde was worthy of a beat down. Who knows? Who cares? New Orleans is dangerous. Sometimes it’s not only the ghosts you might have to contend with.
Either way, I thought I erased this blog down, but it turns out, it’s alive and well. Here it is. Happy Drinking! Next we will discuss Married/Single life and the pros and cons of both. 
And if you're still not following me on Twitter, get on that shit @ADrinkPleaseBK)