I Bartended Twice



I figured that if I got a job as a bartender that it would hopefully bring in some cash in a semi fun environment during which time I would write something a lot more significant than this. Bartending School was pretty fun. There was a girl there whose name was swear to god Kelly Taylor and she dressed like a top rock star groupie every single day. Kelly gave me my final test where I had to make like 13 drinks in five minutes. Kelly let me know that as long as no one got hurt that I was going to pass.


Here is a story of someone who did get hurt. The school used to use rubbing alcohol for their blended drinks to give the impression of the fizz. The guy’s first day on the job someone asked him for a Daiquiri and he asked his boss where the rubbing alcohol was. The school soon stopped using rubbing alcohol in their demonstrations.


The only really cool thing that I learned there was about this weird very stately house on 3rd in LA. It has all these white ancient Greek looking statuettes surrounding it. Turns out that it is an illegal after hours club owned by some one hit wonder of the Milli Vanilli genre. Wow, if I was invited I’d be there in a second.


When the guy who sold me the class gave me his spiel he promised that they would be teaching us glass twirling tricks like in that Tom Cruise classic Cocktail. I didn’t see anyone do any twirling but then again I figure that any attempts on my part would have yielded expensive breakage so I let it go. Essentially you go to school in order to be shown the school’s job leads. These leads never seemed very productive to me. Everyone was looking for bilingual females which I just knew I couldn’t pull off. The only place that looked like it was willing to try new people was this giant hip hop dance club. The people at the bartending school warned me that the woman there would give me a chance but that she was a little nuts and most people clashed with her.


Her name was Sharon I think. She was a hardcore Asian businesswoman. It took me forever to get a hold of her. Once she even denied to be who she really was. I figured out this clever ruse when the same person finally called me back one day. It was Friday and she told me to show up that night and work.


Sharon trained me and another first day hire named Alice in like 15 minutes flat. It soon became apparent that this woman just hired new people every month or so and treated them like garbage. She was constantly complaining about how tough it was for the bar to make money. She spent like thirty seconds telling us how to detect a counterfeit bill from a real one. Basically, all I got out of this discussion was that if it was fake it was our fault and it would come out of our tips. She essentially told us that if she caught us over pouring that she’d have our testicles. I was understandably more worried about this than Alice.


The first night I was on the main floor. Wow, was that a tough job. I thought that I was used to hordes of thronging people from my days as a trader but I never had to make all those people drinks. Sadly for me. One out of every three people that walked in demanded an adios motherfucker. This wouldn’t have been that big of a deal if I could have remembered what an adios motherfucker was. Who wants to say no to a guy who is asking for an adios motherfucker? Eventually, I remembered that it was exactly the same thing as an electric ice tea, but in the meantime I was sweating like Albert Brooks in Broadcast News. Everyone seemed pretty amused by my obvious first day status. “Yo esse you are sweating like a pig!”


After about an hour Sharon takes me into the back and tells me that I have taken a counterfeit twenty. She is very angry and she talks very fast. I don’t understand much more than “This one good. This one bad. This not good.”

So anyway she is holding two twenties. The real twenty is new style with the big print and the phony is old style with small print. “ Moron can’t you see the difference?”


Me: Uh no. They are different style bills how can I possibly compare them?


At the end of the night, I was just exhausted. She didn’t charge me for the fake twenty and told me to come back the next day. I was so tired that I couldn’t sleep that night. I got maybe four hours of sleep and figured that maybe working every Friday and Saturday night wasn’t the coolest idea after all. There was a big hip hop concert the next day. Sharon told me in exquisite detail how she wanted things set up for me at the upstairs bar. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand a word that she was saying to me and after asking her to repeat it about three times I decided to just guess. I wasn’t even close and she was furious.


I worked that night with yet another first timer, but he had more of an attitude than me. This guy walks in and starts pouring himself drinks. I’m guessing that Sharon wouldn’t be pleased. Then I met the three cocktail waitresses. They were all Asian girls and they all looked very similar. About seven times that night I had no idea which one of them had given me an order. “Oh it wasn’t you that wanted the 14 Rolling Rocks sorry.” I loved when people ordered beer. It was so easy to just hand them a bottle. One of the wait girls kept asking for double shots of this really expensive hard liquor and I had no idea if I was supposed to be giving it to her or not. Hell, I was afraid to pour myself a Pepsi from the soda gun.


I was just exhausted but things went smoothly. I thought that I was going to get to leave at like the previous night, but then I found out that the club was staying open until . They couldn’t sell drinks so Sharon made me sell bottles of water to these exhausted sweating dancers for four dollars a shot. I felt shitty enough charging these people that much for a one dollar bottle of water, but as you can probably imagine no one really feels the need to tip you after they’ve been kited three extra bucks on a bottle of water. It was like hell. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The music was loud and thumping, my head was pounding and I was making no tips. I was also in charge of the coat check. I never even had a chance to complain about it to Sharon and I couldn’t leave or else god knows how much water would have been stolen. Eventually, I ran out of water to sell. I had a sink there but I wasn’t allowed to give the kids any. One girl came up and said “We’ve danced our MotherFucking Asses off tonight more than anyone here. We deserve some water!” What do you say to that?


If I wasn’t so tired I probably could have traded a cup of ice and some Now and Laters for sex. In general I was just pretty peeved. At the end of the night Sharon took the twenty from the previous night out of my tips. I wanted to ask her for the counterfeit, but I didn’t have the guts. Hell, I wasn’t above trying to pass it at the 7-11. I bet she wasn’t either. I wavered for a few days, but I decided to pull the plug before it was pulled on me. That woman was nuts and I could only pick out like one out of every third word that she was saying. She was sure to have fired me eventually for something. I probably should have hung in there a little longer but I called in not working there any more the next Tuesday.

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