In no way to try and sound grumpy, dear reader (for I am your friendly bartender), I have to let off some steam on this grey wintry morning. Now it won’t be a major exhale of same so I dare say you needn’t worry… it won’t be some screed from hell to sour your tea… just a minor release to keep that teapot from hissing.
When you walk for the first time into a bar (to wit: my bar) and can see that the place is busy as hell and note that the bartender’s toying with the modern land speed record, try and have an idea of what you want to order. But more important (and the point of this post which caused him to sit down and write it), don’t ask your friendly bartender, “What do you recommend?” It makes him crazy.
But before you accuse yours truly most wrongly of not having Job as a role model, let me explain the circumstance about which I speak. See, it’s one thing to come in after dinner and say, “I just had a nice meal and I’d like something sweet… what do you recommend?” We can solve that. Or, “I’ve been drinking (such-and-such) all night long and now I want to switch… what can you recommend that won’t make me sick?” Well, aside from a Twelve Step program perhaps there’s an answer. But to simply walk in without any context and ask your friendly bartender, “What do you recommend?”, without him knowing a thing about you or your evening, is just not a cocktail quest upon which he can embark. Nor has he the time!
Cases in point…
Here’s a conversation I had last night (while solidly two-deep at the bar), on three different occasions just moments apart. Each exchange was almost identical… typical whenever this occurs… almost as if we were reading from a common script. Two were with women and one was a guy and here’s how they all went down much to my chagrin…
Me: Hi, there, what can I get you? (And you thought I wasn’t glib!)
Clueless: (after a long pause) Ahhhh… geez… hmmmmm… what do you recommend?
Me: Well, that’s kinda’ hard for me to answer, really, I don’t know what you like to drink.
Clueless: (giggle) I know that but, you know, what I’m saying is… what would you order if you were me?
Me: I’d order a Jack on the rocks but I doubt that’ll help you.
Clueless: Oh, God no, that’s no help at all… I’m not a bourbon drinker.
Me: See my point?
Clueless: Yeah… hmmm… let me see here… oh, wait a minute…how about a drink menu? Do you have one of those?
Me: (The waiter is calling my name at this point to make some drinks for the tables, while I’m impatiently shifting my weight appearing to the untrained eye like I have to pee!) Sorry, no drink menu, we’re not what you’d call a fancy-schmancy place here… we’re just a bar.
Clueless: (looking around admiringly) Yeah, I can see that, but I really like it though. (Or some same version of a commentary.) This place is really cozy… how long has it been here?”
Me: (with a smile, of course) About as long as it’s taking you to order. (And then, seeing out of the corner of my eye at least six or seven people with a raised arm… either wanting another drink or, in keeping with tomorrow’s Super Bowl, signaling for a fair catch… I politely suspend this walk through time and excuse myself.) Listen, I’ll let you kick it around, okay? Let me go make some drinks and I’ll be back.
Well, after attending swiftly to what I had to attend… six raised arms and a waiter who looked like he had to pee… I managed to solve at least two of those three Bar-land mysteries. To the one gal I said, “What do you normally drink, miss?” And when she giddily said, “I love gin!” I put her in a Tom Collins and she was delighted.
And when I said to the guy who was still on the fence, “Hey, man, it’s Friday night… how ’bout a stiff margarita but the way I make ’em?” another home run was struck by your friendly bartender. Perhaps it was simply the “Friday night” part but I suspect it was more when I said, “the way I make ’em”, but in either case this guy took the bait and partied. And he loved his “Rita”.
But sadly when I got to the third of the three, this gal not rightly a Job fan… this gal who along with her girlfriend would’ve really prettied up the place… all that was there to greet me were two empty spaces. And the cold air of impatience. Which I guess is just as well, come to think of it, given how busy I was… though I could’ve come up with something had only they waited. But so it goes in Bar-land, alas, and so it goes when moments are not meant to be. (Sigh!)
And so it goes when people can’t make up their minds, dammit!!!
Geez, I feel better now… I’ve been waiting to get that out since 0ne this morning. And again, like I said at the very outset, it wasn’t my intention to sour your tea or to pour some acrid tomato juice into your Bloody, I just wanted to blow off that minor steam from the pot. N’est-ce pas? For as I also stated at the outset, above all things I am your friendly bartender!
See ya’ again next week-end, gang, and please know what you want when you walk in the door. 🙂