I Was Once A Bartender–Part 1

I once was a bartender, but then I was fired.

Not a terrible loss. I’ve been doing well at Darth Vader corporation (DV) and I’ve begun freelancing live music reviews for the local weekly.

But like any rejection, great and small, from the nervously proffered marriage proposal to the lazily submitted credit card application, it still stings.

Nonetheless, the bartending thing wasn’t sitting well with me to begin with. I used to think I had an affinity with bartending. In convincing ways, the bartender is the middle child of the service industry–both a facilitator and a mediator between the management and the rest of the service staff. But this is probably a romantic narcissism.

The bar was an Epcot-on-the-cheap version of an Irish pub. Its service was Madison-style (read: terrible). It’s food, though, not bad.

My first day should have been signal enough for things to come. A large-ish man comes in right at the 11 am open, bellies to the bar and orders a shot of 151 proof rum. Now, I’m not even sure this is legal. But I’m needing to deal with a snafu’d to-go order and management is MIA (this would become a familiar absence). I pour and move on.

5 minutes later, he asks for another. I pour it, trying to anchor my alarmed and raised eyebrows. He continues to order and drink 3 more shots. It’s not even noon. I’m being drafted into his own Leaving Las Vegas.

I’m overserving him, but he leaves before this binge affects him.

I’m not sure what one does for the rest of the day after consuming 7.5 ounces of 151 proof alcohol (the equivalent to 11.4 Bud Lights in a half hour)-but it can’t be productive.

This bothered me a lot. My last bartending gig was very high end. I didn’t get much dealing with the dangerous self-polluters, so I was unprepared for the moral quandary that squatted there my first day.

When your serving someone you don’t think you should be serving, you’re dispensing to the vulnerable the means of their destruction. Like knowingly selling a gun to a depressive, or razors to a cutter. But unlike a gunshop, your customers don’t take their self-harm outside, but carry on in front of you.

It makes really hard to self-justify when watching your service directly cause the harm of another.

I served a Jager-bomb and saw the young girl fall over. I served a shot of crème de menthe that unleashed a raving looney. I served a 3 Wise Men shot and was then threatened with a punch.

Noticing a trend? Yes, I’m going on a limb. Shots are stupid.

I guess bartenders aren’t supposed to feel this way. But I guess I wasn’t a bartender for much longer.



  1. Good beginning but I NEED to know the rest.

  2. Eric has a great ass!!!! (I want my dollar)

  3. the rest are coming. it will be in three parts (i think). the next one will be posted tonight. and as we have all learned from Godfather 2 and Empire, number 2 is the trilogy pinnacle.

    though by referencing these 2 trilogies, it also implies i turf out on #3.

    you know i don’t turf out. i turf IN.

  4. Part 2 was brilliant. Pictures are always helpful. I wish there was a pic of the young girl post jager-bomb

  5. thanks, kris. alas, the rubenesque j-bombed lass was better suited for a rendering on canvas.

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