“Got any light beer?” the man in a trucker’s snap back hat asked.
“Light in color or light in calories?”
“You know, light,” he said, offering no new information.
Often people think they are being clear when in fact they are not. Sometimes there are 100 different answers depending on the question. So, I offered a choice.
“When are you going to get a real job?” my relative asked recently.
It could have been any Wednesday night, but it wasn’t. Because it’s not every Wednesday night that a bachelor party rolls through. Maybe every third Wednesday, but that really doesn’t make my point now does it? Whatever the case, this night was going to be special, and as I soon learned, not just for them.
“We’ll have five shots of Scotch,” said the ringleader of the band of bachelors.
Shots of Scotch? Evidently discerning judgment was no longer a factor.
It was another of those lazy Sunday afternoons, the kind that make working the night shift that much harder. A day of leisure followed by a night of naught can be a difficult adjustment, but in this business adjustment is what it is all about.
Two cups of coffee later — one for the mind and one for the body — I was standing behind the early evening bar, my serene summer afternoon now drifting slowly into memory.
She sat at the bar carefully; often women feel uncomfortable sitting by themselves at a bar. One can only speculate why, but when most of your evidence is anecdotal, you go with what you know.
“May I help you?” I asked doing my best to make her comfortable.
Our relationship didn’t start exactly auspiciously. If memory serves, it went a little like this:
“May I get some bread?” I asked the young kid standing behind the counter.
“I’m sorry. But we don’t serve bread,” he said.
“I’ll be happy to pay for it,” I said knowing that in some restaurants the policies toward giving out free stuff differ. It you haven’t actually paid for something than it is not a right, it’s a courtesy.
“We don’t serve bread at all,” he said, getting an odd look in his eyes.
HE ENTERED THE coffee shop through the wrong door, embodying “against the grain.”
Most people would have realized that everyone else was going the other direction. He was, however, not most people.
THE PARTY HAD been in full swing for a full 20 minutes before I realized that it was an actual party and not just another Thursday night.
Shots had been ordered, bottles of wine procured and due diligence on the taxicab and Uber situation had been offered. Bartenders are not the fun police — we have a job to do and a legal obligation to be met, but we are there to facilitate the fun, not stop it.
‘WHAT DO YOU think of the (insert mass-produced wine name here)?” a man asked as he took a seat at the bar.
The wine in question was the cheapest wine by the glass that we had. In fact, it was the absolute least-expensive option in the entire restaurant. It was so inexpensive that it actually cost less than most of our draft beers. Throw in the fact that it was also chardonnay — a varietal for which exceptional versions can run easily 10 to 20 times more — and the odds that it was going to be great were not high.
“It’s not bad for an inexpensive chardonnay,” I said, voicing what should have been fairly obvious.
“I can’t believe you said that!”
Posted by Jeff Burkhart on May 7, 2014
“Read-off” of humor-filled true tales of Marin at its cocktailing and dining best… by Marin IJ’s “Barfly” and Chalet Basque Waitress Extraordinaire!
5/20 Tuesday 7pm – 8:30pm:Marin History Museum ● 1125 B Street ● San Rafael, CA 94901 ● 415-454-8538
Posted by Jeff Burkhart on April 25, 2014
The Barfly is Watching!
Popular Marin IJ Columnist and celebrity mixologist Jeff Burkhart will be mixing and shaking martinis all for a good cause at Great Chef’s and Wineries benefiting Lifehouse.
Copies of his book:
Twenty Years Behind Bars: the spirited adventures of a real bartender
will also be available.
Stop by and say hi, or get a martini, or both!
Fireman’s Fund, Novato
Saturday 26, 5:30 PM