Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Time I Tried Bartending

By Nicole Johnson, Wife to Elliot Johnson

I was a bartender for a while when I was working at the Olive Garden in college, but it didn't prepare me for the bartending job I took on in Durham.  We had just arrived in town about a week before and we went to dinner a couple times at this restaurant in town with some other couples from the team.  I was fresh out of college, and ready to get a "real" job, but I needed something to make money in the mean time.

I knew how to bartend at a restaurant, and besides a few harry Sundays when a manager decided it was a good idea for one bartender (me) to take a bar full of people, a cafe of 6 tables full of people, and make all the drinks for the servers in the restaurant, I handled it pretty well.  So, when we were out to dinner one night, we got to talking with the manager who was bartending.  I asked him if he needed a bartender (why else would he be bartending if he was the manager?)  He said he did, and I was all set up to start a couple days later.

The first night was a Wednesday, and it was normal, making drinks for the tables in the restaurant, pouring wine, the normal stuff.  I left after the dinner rush was over and planned on coming back the next night. Thursday night, I arrived and took care of a couple and their friend at the bar.  They decided to dine there, and once they left, I went out back to make a phone call.  A few minutes later, the manager came back asking me what I did with the man's (who was with the couple) sunglasses.  I hadn't seen them.

This man continued to call the restaurant claiming that I stole his sunglasses.  What the heck would I want with a pair of men's sunglasses?  The man was rude, and in turn my new manager was trying to figure out what was going on.  I looked like a thief because this idiot forgot his sunglasses at the restaurant.  Come to find out his friends picked up his sunglasses for him when they saw he had left them.  Go figure, jerk, maybe you should not accuse people in the future and you won't have to call the restaurant back to let them know you found the sunglasses you said the bartender stole.

So, that was the great start to my night.  Then, the manager informs me that there will be a private party there tonight with some people from Duke.  No big deal, I'm thinking, it can't go past midnight, right?  Dinner dwindled down, and a DJ comes in and starts setting up for the party.  Some of the group came in for dinner, and it seemed like things were getting started up for their party.

The party was not the kind of party I expected.  What a drunken mess.  I think it was a fraternity/sorority mixer.  I have no idea.  What I do know is that these were some ridiculous people.

The highlights of my night include the following:
1.  Watching the manager pour well liquor in every drink, even if they ordered a premium liquor, as long as they couldn't see.
2.  Watching a guy who just happened to sneak in on the party get wasted on Long Beaches and later start making out with one of the sorority girls.
3.  Giving some girl that had the most annoying voice and kept asking for B-52s a different shot every time.
4.  Some jerk (who I'm pretty sure didn't even look of age, but had a wristband) shoving his credit card in my face telling me to give him the $100 bottle of champange now.
5.  A guy wanting another beer so bad that he kept slamming his beer bottle on the bar until it shattered into a million pieces, some of which flew and cut my leg.
6.  The manager (who was married with children) getting the phone numbers of several drunken girls.
7.  Once everyone left, the manager took all the credit cards that were left open, and automatically put a 20% tip into the computer (this is common in a lot of bars, and is often posted somewhere in the bar).  But, what I've never seen is a manager adding in 20% tips for every person that either left $0 or nothing on the tip line of their receipts, can bars do that?

So, after telling Elliot all about my night at about 4 am, he helped me make the decision that this wasn't what I wanted for a job, and I didn't return to work there.  One of the other managers tried to talk me into waiting tables there, but I declined as I could see the way the establishment was being run.  I stuck to going to games and looking for a full time job after that. 



  1. bartending can be hard sometimes

  2. I did the same job..sounds like at a VERY similiar establishment! Baseball life is such an adventure. Love the blog!