I have vomited 5 times from alcohol. I feel OK about this, its pretty low, yet each time is indicative of a different mistake. I have never drank too much out of sheer celebration, yet that could happen at any moment. Furthermore, as a bartender, you’ll be taking through these 5 mistakes, a sixth and a couple sneaky and complicated ways that people manage to get drunk. And that’s exactly what you’ll have to do, manage drunken people, dangerous, sad or otherwise. To start, you, when working, don’t get drunk. Its OK to drink (though its probably illegal) hopefully, I don’t have to explain how to not get drunk at work and if I do, don’t drink at all. This will serve you well and will help you count cash at the end of the night.
Liquor before beer
So people are going to get silly, one way that’ll happen is the first time it happened for me: liquor after beer. To keep it short, I was 19, (been working in bars since 18, getting in wasn’t a problem) out drinking with my high school English teacher, and had a shot of whiskey at the end of the night. I walked home sat down on my sofa, then magically, my apartment begins to spin and I lost it. Cleaning my sofa the next day, whiskey before beer was never clearer. You’ll get people that have drinking beer all night and then want to shoot whiskey, then its just a matter of how much you want to help them vs. what you are willing to clean up. In the mean things I’ve done in life, I served two shoots of wild turkey to a couple guys that were annoying me at the end of the night. They knocked each other over running for the bathroom.
Love labors lost in a bottle
One night when the one that got away finally left town I went on a bender to end all benders. I’ve been a bartender for years, and I wanted to do what I had seen so many others do drown all feelings. I already am capable of drinking more than I or anyone else would need to so I impressed a bottle of rum to the task. It and I lasted an hour; I vomited in an elevator (alone thank god) and slept face down on the hardwood floor of my apartment. Through the whole thing, there was a solid 5 minutes where I didn’t think about her. Just the same I could have been juggling knives or starting a fight with a rugby team, would have distracted as much and been equal pain. Eric once said,” juggling bottles is bullshit, try keeping a man whose wife just left him from killing himself.” Eric is right, that goes both ways, killing himself with a gun or a bottle. If you want to help someone with his or her sorrows listening b eats booze. Don’t get me wrong; if your heart is broken, you deserve a night of mistakes (and a morning of pain) but, use the buddy system. And as a bartender, keep that sad patron safe.
I was working the half shift (the late half), and I bounced around a few happy hours first. You know one of those, martini there, Manhattan here, margarita in a plastic cup to go while riding a bike to grab a beer. I worked a four hour shift, probably took a shot of something during, and at the end of the night I had a shot of tequila. Not, drunk I drove home and threw up completely sober, a mess of comedy vomit, what that I was on SNL. I think of this when I serve shots of random base a swiftly consumed cocktails. I don’t know the science behind it, but if you “bat for the cycle” it’s dangerous to hold together.
Nobody wins beer pong
I worked in college, 3 jobs and I never leaned how to play pool and I never played beer pong. A few years ago I actually studied pool and I play well now, beer pong was more recent. Competitive drinking is fun. I won two games of beer pong in a row and narrowly lost the third. In doing so, I did what beer pong does, make you drink like its for fortune and glory. But it never really is, I can never speak of my victory because it was a: at something so petty and b: I defiled the steps of my friends front stoop. Competition brings out the best and the worst, just like drinking. Think of it as an amplifier for competition, think of the consequence.
I’ll keep this short; I was drinking through a mask and a straw. I had no idea how much I drank. This was the first time this ever happened to me, I was literally drunk before I was aware. I lost it and new I would. This where I’d say this is a problem that normally affects small women, or in my case a 200 lbs dude that spent all day not eating and sewing a Halloween costume. My point is, the liquor board is right on this, anyone can get drunk anytime and outside circumstances greatly affect this. The other way this happens is through “girly drinks.” Girly drinks are not named so because they are feminine, candy like or easy. Girly drinks are named so because like women, they are deceptively strong and shrouded in glamour that clouds the mind. Beware.
After chronicling 5 failures like that, I’m sad to say I’ve never I’ve never gotten blotto out of celebration. But I’ve helped people do it. Here is how that happens, free bar: the mandate to drink. Or, you must prove yourself: wasn’t happy unless I was drunk. The thing about this is you’ll find that it has a spearhead that will make other drink. I’ve found there is only one way to prevent a guy from drawing everyone into his event horizon of shame: get him so drunk, that people see the mistake, or he’ll fall asleep. Sneaky and devious, yet functional and for the greater good.
The evil that men (people) do
Evil that occurs late night, it has several names, meat market, 2am rush or when you make everyone leave the bar: the sidewalk sale. Some people go to bars to get laid and lower inhibitions beforehand, not enjoy fine spirits and the company of others. There are some hurdles to get over here so follow me. I will give them to you in classic logician form.
As a bartender, you must understand that it is easiest and most professional to stay out of peoples’ personal lives.
As a gentleperson, you must care for others, and look out for their safety.
As a feminist you must understand that men will try to take advantage of women.
As a post feminist, you must understand that sometimes women want to lower their inhibitions and just get laid too.
As a bartender in a modern city you need to understand that gender and sexual identity may go beyond gender assignments and roles you are used to. To explain this clearly, lesbian, gays, and transgender do bad and sleazy things just like anybody else.
Therefore, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t
This is Bart Simpson logic. But I offer this: try to stay out of people’s decisions unless you think that their personal safety is at risk. You can’t make drunken decisions for them. When in doubt, try to add extra people to the equation. Less often than an orgy is formed, you’ll find a drunken dude friend will ruin the game of his buddy or a not drunk girlfriend will cock block the situation.
How to take care of a drunk
It doesn’t matter where you work, plastic cup redbull vodkas or $50 entrees you will have to eject drunken people. First off always try to appeal to reason first, and not engage someone as an enemy. 99% of the time, if you don’t attack someone verbally, they won’t attack you physically. If you do attack them verbally or physically, it’s a great big crap shoot at that point. Do they have a weapon? Jujitsu training? Will they hurt someone else to spite the bar? Leave without paying? I have had all of these happen when I’ve watched other bartenders handle the situation poorly. In descending order, this is how I have had success throwing people out.
Friends, add people, close talk, cabs, cops, and force
1. Friends, find their friends to get rid of them, or talk to them like a friend. This works almost every time. A real friend will take care of a drunken buddy for you. There is one problem, if the friend just drops off the drunk outside to cause problems you have to nip that in the bid. It’s much easier to tell a sober person to get out an care for someone and they will respond to threats from the cops. As for treating someone like a friend, make them think you are doing them a favor by cutting them off and kicking them out.
2. Add more people to the equation. In the same way that it shuts down a hook up it will appeal to the last bit of reason a drunk has. If they feel like an ass, they will probably back down.
3. Close talk. Like Alec Baldwin or anyone that has ever killed people for money, get right in heir face and let them know clearly and without emotion what has happened and what is going to happen. This is dangerous and acting experience is a plus, but I’ve never had it fail and I feel like Steve McQueen when I’m done.
4. Cabbies don’t give a fuck. Any cab working the night shift is ten times tougher than any bartender. If you throw a drunk in a cab and they mouth off, the cabbie will regulate. I don’t like this technique because it is somewhat disrespectful to cabbies, and it’s technically illegal and not safe. You aren’t supposed to put a drunk in a cab alone and if they don’t know where to go, you can endanger them. Even worse, the cabbie will return them to you if they don’t know where to go.
5. Call the cops. Many corporate bars have the “cell phone in hand” approach to kicking people out. Call the cops and walk up to them and tell them what is happening. That’s all well and good at the mall, but like any minority will tell you, cops don’t rush to deal with drunks. I have already mentioned the time when I had a patron try to smash in the French doors with a bar stool. I held them shut whilst they exploded, what I didn’t mention was that there was a cop parked across the street watching. Can you blame him? Who is going to get involved with a dude swinging a barstool? When the attacker fell down, I went outside and took the stool and he ran into the street, where the cops then, slowly walked over and arrested him. I’m not talking shit about cops, the work hard but don’t expect them to act like prince valiant when they are just regulating on a drunkard.
6. Using force is dangerous and could land you in jail or with a lawsuit. It can also be a blast. I have never and will likely never start a fight. I am from the south, we coined “don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing.” Tips? Don’t fight anyone; unless you are trained (and sometimes even then) fighting is sloppy and painful. If it comes to force, focus on getting them outside more than punching or otherwise. It’s easier to shut the door behind someone and let him or her be the crazy person outside. That diffuses faster. Drunken people don’t really feel pain so hitting them is on little consequence, focus on restraining and removing. If you are a good bartender, in the true since of the word, you’ll have back up.
That’s how you deal with drunks, being drunk and keeping drunks safe. The last thing I’ll leave you with is the last time this happened to me, it hits every base we just discussed. The owner of the bar was drunk and yelled a another drunk patron to leave at closing time, he was responding to the drunk advances of a cocktail waitress at closing. Being verbally attacked, he stood up (huge) and knocked down the owner, before talking the other bartender went at him and got punched. I got the guy in a head lock and out the door, and threw him on the sidewalk. When he stood up, I saw how big he was (again) and he ran away, embarrassed and intimidated by the 8 band members standing behind me that would do anything for me. The moral of the story? Keep good notes about work to write with later.