Fritz the Cat

Germans. Why did it have to be Germans?

We all know that the craziest white people on the planet are from the Ukraine but how are we with Germans? Now, I believe we all see eye-to-eye with Nazi beer hall putsch killing Jews and invading Poland Germans. We’re against them. Those guys were turbo-assholes and I’m glad that the pride of York Pennsylvania Dwight the Ike Eisenhower laid down the thunder on those schnitzel eating pukes. The problem with Germans that pestered our grandfathers with bullets and blitzkriegs is that to give them the boot nowadays makes us look like turds.

They seem to be naturally talented people. They build a hell of a car and know a thing or two about precision tools and philosophy. Aside from their whacky pornography and electronic music, the average German is nothing more than a non-tipping tourist coming to over populate out national parks. I’m generally more afraid of being trampled by a band of senior citizens from Munich than bears anytime I go to Yellowstone and so should you. Germans can’t drive worth a damn in the States.

In fairness before I write the next couple of graphs, let’s say a few nice words about Germans abroad. They dress nice, sound funny when they struggle with our language and know how to make exact change. They have a wide-eyed view of the world that is jovial and perfectly condescending. The kind of aw-shucks pompous bewilderment that God could curse other people for not being born German.

Besides that, their beer is pretty good and I usually get pretty drunk at Octoberfest.

Your average Kraut is good for only a couple of things and most of those things involve human poop. But every now and then they’ll surprise you and I had a hell of a surprise Wednesday night.

I was graced by a lovely chap that sounded like an extra from Hogan’s Heroes. He was chubby, loud and snorted when he laughed. Full of advice on love and life, I found myself strangely attracted to the monster. His laughter was infectious. Loud, booming and honest. The kind of laughter that you wish you could muster under a random circumstance. He regaled me with stories of his family and his adventures. He wrote a book on cleaning industrial machinery and raised three kids.

Neat stuff.

I am a jerk because I make fun of people behind their back. Germans are easy targets because they..well..they did something called the Holocaust but this guy didn’t. Hell, he married a Jewish woman and had a few tips on good living. Maybe I’ll soften my opinions on the next German that passes through the doors of the club.

Going Alone

Worked west bar by myself. Bradley was out of town and I drew short straw to man the two wells by myself. Becky and Jennifer took my normal stomping grounds of the east bar and did a good job but I found myself in a world of hurt moments after the show started.

The crowd was rowdy and craved strong drink. I was lucky to have three cocktail waitresses that pushed me but I still had time to pour almost $900 in drinks at the bar. Most of my guests were pretty decent but one bad apple mucked everything up. He ordered a tropical long island and chased and carried with a credit card. When I returned he ordered a shot of rum. I asked him if it was for the mixed drink and he said no. As I was cashing him out, I caught him pouring the shot in the drink.

What a punk.

I read him the riot act and verbal assaulted him in front of the bar. By the time I was done, I had customers ready to take him out the BACK door and make sure he understood how serious I was. I don’t like acting like a tough guy mostly because I am not. I am all sizzle and no steak when it comes to physical confrontations but I am an absolute bully when it comes to verbal fights. With almost 20-years behind the bar, I know how to joust with words and am definitely not afraid to use them. I rarely worry about the repercussions of dressing somebody down. At the best, I have a small army of bouncers that are ready to pulverize any opponent. At worst, I know how to take a punch.

The guy came to his senses, left my presence and had the internal fortitude to apologize upside down for what he did. Good. Manners mean something and the social order demands that offenders make right with their offenses.

In the end, he was a blurp in a night that made me sweat through two shirts and allowed me the honor of pouring half of the nights drinks. I might be more of a blocker but I know how to run a service well.

A Hot Mess of Glasses

Quick post.

There is a popular trend in drinkers who want a rum and Coke or a vodka and Sprite but not as a drink but rather as a shot. They order a vodka with a Sprite chaser and proceed to pound shots this way for the better part of an evening. It’s funny to me that when I think of shots, I honestly think of straight shots of whiskey or tequila. Mixed sweet shots are fine but not for this bartender. I make a living pouring those drinks but I would rather go without than put it down my neck.

With that said, straight shots with chasers are in vogue but I am surprised that people aren’t ordering gin with a tonic chaser. Gin having the highest proof of booze makes it the best straight booze to drink but I guess this isn’t catching on.

The wake of folks ordering this shots is that I am left without a single glass behind the bar and twice the amount of dishes to wash at the end of the evening. Literally a hot mess of glasses.

The Golden Toilet

Squawk, squawk!

It’s been 18 hours since I left work and I have barely recovered. I went home and drank horse choker rum and cokes. Erin called them chick drinks–she’d be right if it was most a mug of Black Seal Rum and a drop of coke. Nah, she’s right, it was pretty chickish. The dogs joined me out back as I listen to a podcast. The air was cool, the lawn wet and the dogs lazy. Such a difference from the night that I experienced.

Type A personalities. Tough, strong and unfamiliar with waiting. They clothes were expensive but cheap. Too much cologne and trinkets  hung from their necks and wrists and they drank like pussies. Too many mojitos, pina coladas and the power drink of the douche-bag,  Grey Goose and water. Worst of all, everyone of them had a black belt in string ordering.

def. String Order: While placing a multiple drink order, a customer orders each drink individually instead as a group.

I can count past one and I have decent short term memory. Want two Coronas, three vodka and Red Bulls, a mojito and a Long Island? Then order it. Instead of normal drinkers, I got 16 years old drinking in a busy bar with their dad’s credit card for the first time. They would have been manageable if I didn’t have a full bar in front of me. Keeping my head above water meant working at speeds I don’t like operating.

I am a firm believer that you need to work at optimum speed. If you can pour $1,400 a night make sure you can hit that number. I think my number is around $3,400. That’s a big number and there are somethings that need to happen to make sure I can go that fast. Big rounds of shots going out, bottle beer over draft beer, people starting tabs or paying with cash and the avoidance of string orderers. Unfortunately, no one decided to play nice.

The customer that got under my skin more than any other was a guy string ordering blended pina coladas and having the nerve to report my “sluggish” performance to my boss. Turkey. Because he had to wait up to 2 minutes to get his drink, he decides to rat me out. Makes me wonder how big his golden toilet is.


The VIP Drank Fireball

Squawk, squawk!

Good night. Got to work with Rebecca (Becky). She’s a tough, smart hipster with bartending chops and cool tattoos. I’ve worked with Rebecca for two and a half years and been friends with her for over 24 months. She worked service while I ran blocker for the rest of the bar. Probably the best set-up for driving a money train and swinging a wrecking ball.

My VIP section was purchased by a conglomeration of douche bags and over-prepped women. My perfect grouping. I poured Fireball whiskey (can it really be called whiskey when it taste like candy? Whiskey is suppose to make your toes curl and fortify your evening where Fireball makes you want to dance to dueling piano music.) and Bud Lights for four hours. Not the perfect scenario to make a living but I have been doing okay for the last decade.

I am a bartender not a mixologist. I am certainly capable of making unique and original drinks with the various liquors behind me but my strength at pouring drinks is that I can do it with loud music pumping through the club and customers that are less than ideal. Mixologists are akin to master chefs–talented but usually pretentious and boring. Bartenders speak freely, entertain widely and treat every customer on a meritocracy. Spend money and tip well, you are the king of the castle. Act like a tool bag, you get the high hat with me probably crushing my fedora over your frosted tips.

The show was …. well, there was a dueling piano show. Not the best one I’ve seen but there were some highlights. Those highlights tended to be when they focused on popular songs that didn’t need a lot of explanation. For the most part, it was a turd.

Nonetheless, it didn’t stop them from drinking shots and playing the fool. After a couple of shifts that wanted me to hang up my cocktail spoon and learn to coach 4th grade PE, I needed a shift that reminded me why bartending is the pinnacle of blue collar labor. Well, tonight, I got that opportunity. I upsold drink, pushed shots, teased money out of people’s hands and even called my biggest tab “ugly” and still got a 30% gratuity.

Not bad for a guy who hasn’t slept more than 8 hours in three days.

The Lonely Hearted with the Long Haul Trucker

Squawk, squawk!

It started with desperate, lonesome souls looking for love or a taste of affection and ended with a group of competitive truckers regaling me with stories on how they won the top title from their home state.

Tonight it was a mixed bag of people participating in a mixer and participants in the nation’s top trucker’s title joining for an evening of dueling pianos. Sounds exciting but regrettably, it was the furthest thing from the truth. Instead of a large group of singles trying to find love, the bar was filled with aces trying to find a pair. The first customer through the door was a bling man with a cochlear implant and guide dog waiting patiently an hour before we opened the doors. He was from Clearfield and had taken the bus for the mixer. He was a decent looking guy and unlike most blind guys, a pretty friendly fellow.

His guide dog named Hank led the fellow to a chair where he waited patiently for me and my cocktail waitress/bartender-in-training to get the club set up. Wednesdays are my busiest nights of the week even if they are my top sale nights. I have to organize the liquor room and start the slow process of prepping the club for the busier nights of the week. With Hank and his handler camped out waiting for us to get ready, I started getting things put in place quickly.

The function was a bust. The organizer was some creepy guy who wore a backpack but had a really nice pressed dressed shirt and tie. He was distributing the game Banana-grams to all of the guests but they were all guys. Most of the customers that I greeted when asked what I could get for them was a response for a date or a girl. It’s not like they were all losers but they were painfully shy and awkward. Nervous and shifty, I wasn’t surprised that they had a tough time meeting women.

When girls finally showed up, I noticed that they came in pairs with one of the ladies acting as a support partner. They were nice but clearly disappointed with the turnout and the threat of being asked to play Banana-grams. I guess I never think about meeting women because I am in a relationship and I bartend for a living. This simple equation means that I don’t worry about talking to people and being myself. It would be nice if some of the guys from would follow suit.

The second group of guys that couldn’t close a rusty chain link fence were guys that won state trucking championships coming to Utah to compete to be the best in the nation. They were a mixed bag of …well, truckers. Imagine what a long haul trucker looks like dressed up for the night and guarantee you wouldn’t have been disappointed. T-shirts stretched to the limits of tinsel strength, bad baseball caps and a love (and I mean a love) of Coors Light.

They drank hard, tipped lightly and complained like I was trying to take their 2-gallon jug of Mountain Dew.

Because of a leaky faucet at home, I left right at 1am to a bar that was in disrepair to find a house not as bad as I thought.