Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bartending

A fraternal organization that I belong too holds a stag party this time of the year as a fundraiser. It gives area men the chance to come out, meet other men and spend a few hours talking without the presence of a female. Because this time of year is usually cold and everyone is in the beginning stages of spring fever, we get a good turnout and make quite a bit of money which we in turn give out to needy people and projects.

For the second year, I ran the bar though I never ran a bar until last year at this very event. I think the reason I got the job last year is because the average age in our fraternal organization is about 25 years my senior and many physically can't do those things. I on the other hand am considered a young buck and thus was nominated. I had a lot of fun running the bar last year and so I volunteered this year without even being asked.

I got to the event a couple hours early and spent the time stocking up the bar. With 500-600 people soon to be crowded into the club, I knew it was better to have a full stock to start things off or I would be playing catch up the rest of the day. My initial stock lasted for about an hour and after that I think I probably restocked the cooler under the bar at least six or seven more times at about eight cases of beer a time, numerous specialty beers and bottles of liquor best served chilled.

Beer is the main staple at these events, especially in the beginning but soon when people start getting lubed up, I have to start making mixed drinks. The vast majority of them are pretty easy comprising of the name of a type of liquor with a name of a soda drink. Not a problem. The previous year though there had been a few oddball drinks that I have never made so I studied up on a couple. This year, the only oddball drink asked for was a bloody mary which happened to be one of the ones I studied up on so I was good. Nobody complained so that was good.

Standing behind the bar is a unique perspective for sure. Conversations start off quiet and contained and as the hours pass by it gets louder and less contained. Suddenly everyone thinks they are the comedian or the knows everybody and thus has to shout out at the top of their lungs at the person leaving with some witty comment, or at least something that in their inebriated mind they think is witty. It gets pretty loud and from my perspective pretty entertaining. More than once I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing.

In total, I worked the bar for about five hours before the 'raise money for a cause' crowd was whittled down to just the every evening bar crowd and at which time I gave the reins over to the regular bartender. I made it home but by the time I got there I was starting to feel it in my calves, knees, thighs and lower back. Who knew bartending to hundreds of people was such a physical job. I think before this, I always had the impression it was more like Sam Malone occasionally pulling a tap or wiping down the bar. Instead it was non-stop trying to remember the six types of beer and drinks the guy ordered and the four others the second guy wanted. It took a couple of advil, a hot shower and going to bed at the ungodly early hour of 7:30 to get back to my normal self again the following day. At the end of the day, it was for a lot of good causes and I did have fun even if I wasn't the one three sheets to the wind who thought myself funnier than Jerry Seinfeld.

7 comments:

sage said...

I have always thought that bartending would give one a good perspective on human nature, but serving 500 people a night sounds like a workout. Good for you for helping out with the fundraising.

Ed said...

Sage - I'm not sure how much perspective I got other than men do silly things the more liqueur they imbibe and I think everyone already knows that. Perhaps at the beginning when everyone is sipping their first beer, you can learn what is important to people as the conversation starts. People seem to ignore the bartender listening just a couple feet away!

Leigh said...

Sounds like quite a turnout, and quite a job for you! Excellent way to raise money for good causes.

Ed said...

Leigh - We have a hard time selling stuff with value but pour some alcohol down someone and the money comes rolling out!

woodysrockyridge said...

Bartending is very tough on the body. If you're really pumping out the drinks it can be brutal. I worked as a bartender for almost eight years in Nashville and one of those jobs i was leaning into a speed rail damn near all night long. Rough on the legs and lower back. Unfortunately folk think the job is just a big ol'party.

Ed said...

Woody - Not sure what a speed rail is but if there was one, I was surely leaning on it by the end of the fundraiser.

roaring40 said...

I never did that. I sorta felt keeping track of the orders when I'd have trouble with five drinks and one of them non alcoholic for myself that it was probably best I stayed away from the bar of the community center.