My days at the Brooklyn Dive Bar: “WTF 101”

Sometimes I wonder just how people got through the writing part of the business proposal and still have NO IDEA on how to run a business.  Who the hell would lend them money for an establishment?

I love many of my co workers with the exception of a couple, but I have to say the internal workings and organizational skills of those high on the Totem Pole have a lot to learn.

…and these are people with B.A. and Masters Degrees; WTF?!?  Let’s review some simple things that even community college kids understand:

  1. Got MS Office?  Good.  Now USE IT.  (Excel especially)  Don’t have it or don’t understand it?  HIRE someone who does.  You’re running a business; to make money you have to spend some.  Quit being stingy.  How are you ordering food, wine and spirits – every week- on scratch paper?  WTF?!?
  2. This is a business – dive bar or not, we’re sort of a family.  Make sure the staff is on the same page.  I can’t tell you how irritating it is to have things done or said two (2) different ways because us tending the bar are told one thing and the wait staff is told another.  STAFF MEETINGS are key; don’t you WANT us all on the same page so things flow smooth?  WTF?!?
  3. Let us know what the hell is going on.  Please.  Let us know if a DJ, a Live Act, Private Party, etc. is going on so we can tweak and prepare.  I can’t tell you how irritating it is to come in on a day we all know is SLOW just to see the sound guys setting up and the tables are  ‘purtied (prettied) up’.  WTF?!?
  4. If someone rents out the place let them know the rates and any extras, i.e. security, food and of course, they and their patrons are expected to tip the Bar Tenders; open or cash bar.  WTF?!?
  5. I guess it isn’t only Corporate America; hey, I’m an equal opportunist like anyone but come on…  Guys, you are running a business; let your big head do the thinking.  Just because you’re the manager/owner/whatever, banging the new chick who’s tending bar doesn’t mean THE REST OF US have to suffer.  Take care of business – there are more than a few spices pieces of ass with tits who’d love her job. Focus for Gawd’s sake.  WTF?!?

But of course, as I always say; “I just work here.”

Last Call

…and I thought nothing was going to happen tonight worth writing about.

We love business.  Any GOOD business.  But; why do people come in at/near closing time, lolly-gagging, order a drink and proceed to nurse it for an hour?

I’m all for sipping good spirits but c’mon.  I mean, really?

It’d be different if you were keeping me here and earning the bar AND I some ends – but no, the three (3) of you are just sitting here, laughing talking about some broad outside while I’m waiting to close up – there are other bars on the block open later.  I just want you to know that.

I know it’s not your fault I have menstrual cramps but I do and I’d REALLY like to go home and that 25 minute train ride is gonna feel like 125 minutes the way I’m feeling right now for every second you all stay here.

Please leave so I can put up the damn bar stools and lock up.

Thank you.

A bird? A plane? No; it’s daddy’s credit card!

This group of people come in once/twice a week and order $50 – 100 worth of food to go, during the BUSIEST time of night.  They pay w. the golden plastic – I will NEVER understand people who NEVER tip for take out orders?  Just because you’re not dining in with us we still did you a service.

People are still working to make sure your order is correct and satisfactory even if you aren’t staying…

What’s up with this?

82, Don’t stiff your bartender or to-go person on a tip just because “they aren’t waiting on me and don’t provide table service”. First of all, yes, they are waiting on you. They took your phone call, wrote your order, transmitted it to the kitchen, boxed up your order and delivered it to you. Second of all, yes this is a “service”, right – it’s just not table service? No, you don’t have to tip the normal 15 – 20% because it’s true that they aren’t providing table service to you. But you should at least tip 5- 10% for the service and convenience that they are providing to you. Just remember that a to-go server is relying on your tips just as much as a table server. If you don’t do the right thing and tip something, eventually you won’t be able to get to-go food because they can’t pay someone minimum wage or less to ring $1500 worth of food and run their asses off for dozens of customers on a decent to-go shift.

[82 is from: http://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/top-100-things-that-a-guest-should-try-to-avoid-doing-76-%E2%80%93-100/]

Uh Bartender, my drink has too much flavor

Just when I thought I’d had customers figured out; they say something like:

“Are you sure this is Bud Light?  It seems to have too much flavor…”

I check the tap and re-pour him another, in a tasting glass.  His face scrunches up and he has all FOUR (4) of his friends take a sip.  They think its fine but he says, “yeah, it still tastes funny to me.  It feels like it has too much flavor.  I’ll just have a Corona.”

You can’t make this shit up.

Maybe some people should just drink better beer…

Alright now; time to bend over and grab your ankles

The suits came in last night – ordered their Spotted cows & dirty martini’s and talked about whatever they talk about. Fast forward to drink #3, things got interesting (and louder); it got to the point of lower & middle class people who are “in trouble” in this economy. They basically called them all lazy – unbelievable.  Well kinda.

While there will also be exceptions to every rule, their whole approach to how these “lazy people” live their lives was eyebrow raising.  Especially since these were trust funds babies who act like they’ve never even wiped their own brow without help from ‘the help.’

“If those people would just pay their bills on time we wouldn’t be in this mess.  People are just going to have to hunker down and put a bit more elbow grease into the lively hoods of themselves & their families.  Obama’s going to have the whole damn country on section 8 & food stamps…”

Umm, come again?  Not all middle class people are irresponsible breeders, just like all rich or wealthy persons aren’t pretentious assholes.   People usually do what they have to do to get by; it just depends on their route and what they’re capable of and what they feel comfortable with.

Example, a couple of friends that I went to college with:  The one that lives in Chicago has two teenagers and is a widow.  The one that lives on Long Island is a make-up artist and lives with his two 2 cousins in a house.
Now, both of these people worked at their chosen profession with their degree until they were laid off.  One is working through temp agencies and bartending at a gentlemans club and one is working as a cashier and moonlighting as an escort through a long time agency.  After some time they’re making it work and are doing quite well for themselves and their familes.  Why?  Because – you do what you have to do when you have to do it.  When you owe money for things the collector on the other end doesn’t care WHAT you have going on; they want their money.  Doesn’t mean it has to be long term but, bills still gotta be paid, people need to eat, toilet paper and sanitary napkins still have to be bought, kids have camp/school trips that need your attention and gas still has to be put in the car (or your MetroCard has to be loaded…) among other things.

So let’s weigh a couple options using the suits from today’s logic/way of thinking.

  1. Stop trying to work altogether, get on public assistance until something better comes along.
  2. Continue to hustle on their own on the daily grind, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps making it work without handouts.
  3. Sit in the house and starve/give up while life goes on around them.
  4. Grand larceny, start mugging people and pulling off stick-ups.

Do people know their are individuals who used to make (beaucoup) ‘Boo-Coo’ bucks now looking and applying for ‘jobs’ that pay only $30 – 45K vs. $200K+?

Most of these people had a great job, college or no college, and made a decent living not bothering anyone or asking for anything.  “The times, they are -a- changin'” and it ain’t pretty.  Some things aren’t going to change.  People are always going to be willing to pay for things.  Things like fucking, drinking, housing, food, even water.  Just like other people will never know what it’s like to walk in another persons shoes.  Not everybody has it all, nor would most want it IMHO; a lot of workers are taken for granted: housekeepers, bank tellers, teachers, day care workers, the guy that fixes the copier, the person that makes your sandwich at the sub place, hell, maybe even your bartender.

What would you do without them?  Who would you talk about then?  Only time will tell.

I love my line of work.  Take care.

I leave you with this little quote:

“Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning huh? Fuck you, pay me.” – Henry Hill, Goodfellas (1990)

A Persian, an Ecuadorian and a Drag Queen walk into a bar…

Fellow Bar Keeps…

Ever have a day, a week, a month, even more go by great at work and then things start heading downhill because you don’t “fit the mold” of the other bar personnel?

Yeah, me neither…  But, if I did (hypothetically speaking) it may go something like this:

You help out the owners and managers  starting out and then they start letting people go at their every whim and talking about them at every waking moment and in every managers meeting.  Then we’ll promote those who spread their legs and do you ‘favors’ (male and female).  Grow up, right?

Of course not; so, we’d start letting one of the managers, (we’ll call her Pera K. just for namesake) splurge and collect salary pay and hourly pay w/ tips of course by sticking those they don’t like on shitty day shifts, every day and taking all of the regular good shifts Wednesdays – Sundays.  And, in celebration of that, she’ll get stinking drunk and call the colored workers stuck up niggers while she passes out and has to be carried out of the bar on the backs of two employees.  It’s her day off but pshhhh, WHAT THE HELL!  There’s no need to show a little reserve within ones place of business even if we’re in charge…

Next, we have a gent who’s kinda nice but, not a strong night bar man, we’ll call him  Six-Four.  He receives a ticket at his other place of bar business for serving an underager beer/liquor and gets a pink slip.  He comes in and gets wasted with Pera K. and most of the other off duty supers.  The next week, he has a strong arm shift after hob-nobbing.  Hmmm…  Six Four must live up to his name in another dept huh?…

Moving onto a supervisor who seems friendly; he speaks but tells horrible jokes.  You chuckle anyway as to be light-hearted; his name is Noni Burma.  A supervisor he is; doesn’t get invited to half of the managers meetings, takes racist comments from one of the owners and tells the staff what he doesn’t like (constantly) about the owners, other supers and certain staff.  Yet, he doesn’t speak up.  I guess its okay to be a pussy and not speak up for yourself in an economy such as this; I mean hey, who needs self respect when you’ve got a family at home and a boss who doesn’t realize he’s going to be bankrupt in under 5 years because his club bartenders are taking at least 5 shots an hour from 9pm til past closing…  Ahh well.

Then there’s Ricardo Amante.  Ricardo runs security and manages the bar.  You can’t miss him; he’s the stocky Latino who tends to be followed by what I call the Blond Brigade.  Never a shortage of them around; as long as there’s  Latino and Black men along with free liquor, you can be sure to find these tricks sniffing around someones nut sack.

Moving on, let’s name some more of the things that are serious no-no’s that are always going to take place:

  • You come in to your shift 20 mins. late and immediately get on your cell phone for the next 10 mins. to “help drum up some business by calling my friends”
  • You pull a NCNS* (twice) togo to a basketball games and wonder why others are giving you that “funky” look.
  • You’re constantly 15 mins. late because you are not getting along with your spouse/significant other and feel the need to have a ‘talk’ right before work.
  • You can’t take out trash or get ice because that’s not “your  job”
  • You don’t rotate product when restocking because that would require kneeling down on an ‘icky’ floor
  • You leave empty liquor bottles on the shelf so when the next shift’s BT grabs it they have to find the backup
  • You are OBLIVIOUS  to the 6 people that have been sitting in the stools next to your 2 girl/guy friends because you think that your friends will tip you better on the $10 tab you’ve given them than whatever the 6 ppl  can possibly muster up
  • You run your fingers through your hair, play with your teeth and then make a drink grabbing the drinking edge and squeezing a lime into rum and coke because you think “you’re clean”
  • You make a White Russian in this order: kahlua, layer it with half and half, then layer that with vodka, because ‘that’s the recipe’
  • You think that ‘a little bit of brown on the edges of your lime wedges is fine- after all, they’re still mostly green’
  • You refill your speed pourers daily with new on top of old and only wash them when they ‘look dirty’
  • You rinse EVERYTHING in cold water because your fingers are too sensitive and it’s the same as hot anyway
  • You don’t understand why a dull knife is actually more dangerous than a sharp one
  • You get stinking drunk after your shift and laugh as you fall off your bar stool all the while proclaiming loudly, I CAN’T AFFORD TO DRINK HERE AFTER WORK, WHOO HOO!!!!
  • You constantly butt in on your coworker’s regulars.
  • You’re the bars General Manager and you do so much coke in the other bathroom you have NO idea what’s going on until two-week later.
  • You regularly serve drinks in glasses with lipstick marks on them because you don’t do a thorough job washing glasses, and don’t check the glass before making drinks

These are all possibly true and can happen in any bar; anywhere.

The No.1 sign of a bad bartender out of all of them would be if you see any of your fellow bartenders committing any of the above you do nothing.

The No.1 sign of a good bartender out of all of them?  Seeing any of the following and saying something about it and getting written up for bringing things to that persons attention…

*No Call, No Show

Sticky Floors as gooey as a movie theatre and a teenage boys magazine stash

You’re drinking; okay.  You’re flirting; fine by me.  You’re dancing and enjoying the music; fuckin’ fan-tab-u-lous.  You’re past tipsy but not quite wasted; I’ll call you a cab if need be.  But why oh WHY do females feel the need to take their shoes off in a bar.  A BAR.  Do you know what’s on the floor in here?  I know what’s lurking back here before we clean up @ night but my goodness…

Chicken wings, fry wedges, GLASS, spills, VOMIT, cigarettes and other QUESTIONABLE LIQUIDS.  That’s just nasty.  If your feet hurt, cop a squat or bring flats in those big ASS purses y’all bring to the place (which I also wonder why THAT is, but I digress…)

It’s nasty; don’t you have any home training?

Hell-o-ween Dress Unrest

Halloween.  Time to dress up.  Or down.  Or in most cases for the women, undress.

It was a slow night and conversation sparse, but one in particular took place that sounded way to familiar.  Dialogue that takes place every year about this time.  Freak Fest, Ahoy!

To make a long story not so long, a group of Valley Girls were talkin ’bout who they were going as this year.

Why do chicks always make such a big deal about the little dental floss costume they’re going to wear this year.  We need to rename Halloween, “Closet Whore Admiration Day.”  Oh c’mon, that’s all it is people; and you know it.  A lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom.  It’s 2008 and by peoples behavior in the bar, they, well, let’s just say nothing’s forbidden anymore it seems.

I wish bitches quit being insecure about shit.  If you like dick (or clits if the case may be) just be you; don’t have a ‘holiday’ be your excuse to dress down.  If you feel comfortable dressing a certain way then let you be you.

It’s like people who always have sex in the bedroom and no other room in the house.  Once a month.  In the same position.  In under 20 minutes.

…or less.

Chickies, stop making excuses for wearing th fishnets and micro mini skirt or the ass-less chaps.  If you aren’t comfortable with YOU, you may as well toss in the towel right now.

Whether you go home alone and wash your face of make-up or home with a partner and your “clothes” end up on the floor like a prom dress and you’re face down ass up – dress the way YOU want to dress and do it smartly.

Please.

…and Thank You.

P.S.  On the same note, please ladies be FRIGGIN’ SMART when you’re out.


  • DO NOT Drink beyond comprehension.

Watch you ass because not all your ‘friends’ are good friends.

Cocktail Condoms & Common Sense

Please forgive me people; it’s been a long 4 days and my eyes need toothpicks like Fred Flintstone…

I remember seeing this post from Jess last summer and thought I should breathe life into it here in the Midwest.  Enjoy and check out her position on your side of the bar. (She’s retired from bartending.)

…cocktail waitress Karri Cormican and bartendress Hannah Bridgeman-Oxley … thwarted a potential rapist who tried to drug his date’s beer. Twice. The waitress spotted the first incident when her female customer was in the restroom. Rather than pretend it was none of her business, she fed the couple a line about the beer being bad and promptly replaced it with a clean one (saving the adulterated beer for the cops). As the waitress was privately informing the woman outside about what had happened, the bartender caught him doing it again. This time they called the cops. The guy’s been sentenced to a year in jail.

The woman, of course, was lucky that her hostesses were 1) paying attention and 2) felt an obligation to act. As this instance demonstrates, not every date rape case is the result of drunken stupidity a lá Girls Gone Wild (note: if you’re ever in a bar that has actual signs posted on “How to Avoid Having Your Drink Drugged,” that’s probably not a bar you want to spend time in. And yes, I actually saw this sign in a bar once).

Which is all just to say:

Bartenders, pay attention! Your job doesn’t end at mixing drinks and handing out change. You have an obligation to try your best to maintain a safe environment for your guests.
And drinkers, pay attention! Don’t rely on others to save your ass; drink smart and make sure you’re not opening yourself up to opportunists.

If we each took a little responsibility, we could probably prevent a lot of unsavory crap from going down, and you’d never need to utter the words “I’ll take a pack of cocktail condoms” again.

Jess Sand: http://barstories.blogspot.com/

Village of the Damned – UPDATE: Village Mtg 9/23/08 @ 7PM

The Trustee Sharon Payne (her info):
4505 Field Avenue
608-838-0411

sharon.payne@mcfarland.wi.us

is the one that called the meeting for this evening.

::: UPDATE :::

The meeting will not be held at the Municipal Bldg in the Village of Mc Farland since it is not a scheduled meeting.  Instead it will be held at The Green Lantern this evening at 7PM.

Per the letter, participants will be asked to sign in and sign up to speak in turn.

Copy of Press Release and Update
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