Tag Archives: bar

Ordering “Beer” at a Bar

I bartend at a tourist trap in San Francisco. That means I deal with a lot of people that don’t know how to order drinks. At least twice a shift I will ask a customer what they want to drink, and they will respond with “Beer.” I just shake my head and explain to them that this isn’t Hollywood. This isn’t a movie. You don’t just say “Beer” and get a beer. Do you want bottle or draft? Do you want something imported, domestic, or a local craft brew? Do you want a lager, an ale, a stout, a porter, a wheat beer or an IPA? You have to be more specific. If you want a Budweiser, then order a fucking Budweiser. I don’t have time to hold your hand and walk you through the menu. I’m too busy helping people who actually know what they want to drink. The next motherfucker who asks me for a beer is getting a glass of O’Doul’s and the middle finger. You wanted a beer, you got one. Now fuck off. 

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bartender Hands

I’ve been bartending a couple of days a week and it’s starting to catch up with me. Right now I’m suffering from a case of bartender hands. That’s when your hands are slightly dried out with small nicks and cuts. The cuts aren’t generally visible but you sure as hell feel them when you get lime juice or a bit of salt in them, both common hazards of the trade. Bartending isn’t just making cocktails, pouring beer, and making small talk with customers. There’s a lot of grunt work involved. You get bartender hands from washing glassware, prepping fruit, broken pieces of glass, and any combination of the above. It takes its toll after a while. It’s worth it at the end of the shift though. Count your money, not your problems. 

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bar Ordering Showdown

You’re hanging out with some friends at the bar and it’s time to order another drink. You leave your table in the corner and approach the bartender at the same time as someone else. The two of you are now competing for the bartender’s attention and only one person can win the bar ordering showdown. Who will be served first? This is when it pays to be a regular, but not everybody has that luxury. The best way to win the showdown is to have a twenty in your hand and a look of determination. Make eye contact but don’t stare. And always know what you want. If you’re in a new bar or one that you don’t frequent often, it helps to pay as you go and tip out well on each drink. Overtip on the first round and the bartender will definitely remember you. You can’t win every showdown so don’t take it personally when you lose. The bartender won’t ignore you forever. Eventually you’ll get a drink and that’s all that matters.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Getting Carded

I’m twenty-nine years old and still get carded. That might seem inconvenient to some, but it’s a great compliment and one that I will take any day. It might be my baby face. It might be my demeanor. I don’t care. People think that I’m a lot younger than I am. I can get away with paying student price on the bus. I can get half-priced move tickets. I have to have my ID ready at every bar or liquor store checkout. My last name is Young. I act young. I look young. I am Young. I plan to enjoy this as long as I can. One day I will wake up old or dead and nobody will bother to card me. And I will look back on the glory days of my youth with a twinkle in my eye and a scowl on my face.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Buying Someone a Drink

Buying someone a drink is a simple act of kindness that goes a long way. Buying a girl a drink could lead to a relationship.. Buying a stranger a drink makes you a new friend. Buying a friend a drink ensures he will pass on the favor someday. Buying a coworker a drink shows your appreciation for their helpThe other night my friend had a stressful shift, I caught up with him at the bar, noticed what he was drinking, and bought him another one when I got my drink. Did it pacify him? Slightly. Did he appreciate it? You betcha. And he reciprocated by buying another friend a drink, he instantly paid it forward. Good karma, good friends, and good times.
Critically Rated at 15/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Counting Drinks

My friend went out drinking a few nights ago and he went hard. He came to work the next day with a splitting headache and a raging hangover. I asked him what he had to drink. He started listing everything off. He had six draft beers, two bottle beers, four Jack & Cokes, and five shots. I would have been impressed if he hadn’t been counting drinks. That’s kind of amateur. That’s what college kids do when they are trying to one-up each other. I think you should drink until you get a buzz, and then you just need a drink every now and then to keep it going. Keeping track of each individual drink is pointless. You’re trying to get drunk, you don’t need to keep an inventory. That’s the bartender’s job.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Buying Cans of Beer at the Bar

I was at the bar the other day and couldn’t help but notice when a bunch of bros walked in and ordered six cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I’m not a big fan of PBR but I don’t shit on it, but I still couldn’t figure out why you would go to a bar and essentially order a six pack of a cheap domestic that you can get at the store for a quarter of the cost. In fact I don’t know why anybody would buy cans of beer at a bar. Get something on tap or at least get a bottle of something decent. Live a little. Canned domestics have no place in a decent bar. I can’t respect you if you order a can of Budweiser from a bartender. The bartender won’t respect you either.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Drink Token

I go to a dive bar a few times a week where the bartenders will occasionally give out drink tokens to thirsty patrons. A drink token is a token for a free drink. They might give them away during Happy Hour, for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, or if you gave them a particularly good tip. Drink tokens are a precious commodity, especially in a city where a beer costs five to six bucks for a pint. You could redeem it right away, but it’s better to save it for a rainy day. Sometimes you really need a drink but you don’t want to pay for one. That’s when you bust out the drink token and quench your thirst. But remember that you still have to tip even though the drink is free. A dollar or two will suffice. Just because the drink is free doesn’t mean you can be cheap.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Discovering a New Bar

People like to drink, especially in social settings. That’s why there are multiple bars in almost every single city and town around the world. There are classy bars, dive bars, sports bars, bars that you frequent, and bars that you avoid. Most people have a default bar or two, a place where you know the bartenders and they know you. The problem with being a regular is that you don’t bother going to other bars that you aren’t familiar with. Sometimes you have to take a chance and go to a different bar, you have to see what else is out there. I went to a going-away party for my friend’s last night in the city, and we went to a bar of his choice. It was a bar that I’ve never been to or even heard of. They had about fifty beers on tap, all microbrews. They even had Pliny the Elder. You know it’s a good bar if they have Pliny the Elder. It blew my mind that I had never been there before. Discovering a new bar that you like is a wakeup call, a reminder that you’re missing out on things by sticking to a routine. Discovering a new bar means forgetting an old one.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Table vs Bar Top

It’s beer thirty and it’s time to start drinking. You walk into the bar and are instantly faced with a decision. You can sit at the bar top or you can grab a table. I prefer getting a table. You can actually make eye contact with other people and have a normal conversation with your friends. It’s more casual and relaxed. The biggest problem with sitting at a table is that ordering another drink becomes a hassle. Everybody gets lazy and settled in, and if you finally cave and stand up to get another drink, everybody else is waving cash at you and asking that you also order them a beer while you’re up.

Sitting at the bar top is convenient, but it’s also kind of depressing. You are instantly limited in who you can talk to; it’s either the person the right or left of you and the bartender. The bartender might make small talk with you, but he or she doesn’t give a shit about you. They might crack a joke or share an anecdote, but they are just trying to get a tip out of you. You’re basically paying them to pretend to be your friend. Sitting at the bar top shows that you mean business. You are there to drink. Sitting at a table shows that you are there to socialize. You are there to have a drink with your friends. It doesn’t matter which one you prefer, as long as you have a drink in your hand.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Beer Theft

I had a shitty shift the other night so I went out for drinks with two coworkers. This bar is like our Cheers, we own that spot. The bartenders know us by name and they know what we drink. We bought a round, sat at our usual table, raised our glasses, and started drinking. We finished the first round and ordered another. After a few sips, someone suggested a smoke break and it seemed like a great idea. My friend and I were drinking draft IPA, my other buddy had a bottle of cider, and we each put a coaster on the top of our drinks. That’s the international sign for I’m Coming Back so Don’t Touch my Drink. We went outside and did our thing, and when we came back inside the beer glasses were empty with the coasters strewn aside. The cider remained untouched so I know it wasn’t a freak act of nature or an alcoholic ghost. No man, we got beer jacked. Our beers were practically full, but it was obvious that we had sipped from them. Somebody stole our used beer. I didn’t even know that people could stoop that low. That’s like somebody siphoning your gas in your own driveway. You feel used, violated, and scared to trust anyone ever again. Beer theft happens. Be aware.

Critically Rated at 1/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Buying a Round

Work sucked today, but at last your shift is over and you can finally retreat to the closest dive bar with some coworkers. You know that it’s going to take a few drinks to start recuperating, and you’ll show your commitment to the group by buying a round. Buying a round is like an informal contract for the group. If somebody buys a round, it’s only right to return the favor. Then somebody else has to buy the next round, and somebody else gets the round after that, and the cycle continues until closing time or when people start passing out. Drinking is a social lubricant and buying a round is like K-Y Jelly.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Happy Hour

Happy Hour is that magical time of the day when bars give away drinks at a discounted price. I really don’t know why it’s called Happy Hour. It’s usually two-three hours long, alcohol is a depressant, and depression isn’t a happy thing. Happy Hour is just an excuse to get drunk in public. You can always waste money at a bar but it’s somehow justified if it’s a dollar off well drinks and the sun is still shining. It’s better, cheaper, and more logical to grab a twelve pack and drink yourself into a stupor at home. At least then you can control the TV or radio station.

Critically Rated at 8/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Coasters

If you have a cold glass and a wood table you need a coaster. Coasters protect the wood from the condensation on the glass. Nobody wants to be the jerk who leaves a water stain, so use a coaster whenever possible. Some coasters are made of sandstone, some are ceramic, some are made of cork, and the cheaper ones you find at bars and restaurants are typically cardboard advertisements for beer companies. The cardboard ones make great ninja stars. If you’ve ever been to a Chili’s or Chevys on a slow night, chances are that the servers are throwing them at each other behind the scenes. That’s why it’s taking so long for your refill. Coasters are classy. They are like saucers for your booze.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watching the Game at the Bar

All across America and around the world people pack themselves into bars and pubs to watch their teams compete. Watching the game at the bar is more social, but it’s also more expensive than watching at home. It’s cool that you get to cheer and celebrate with other fans and you can discuss strategy and how bad the officials are. But you have to buy beer and food and you have to tip and that adds up. You have to deal with shit talkers and fair-weather fans who don’t know when to cheer. And there’s always a line for the bathroom. Watching the game at the bar is a ritual for some people and they like it. Some people don’t have any other place to watch it other than the bar so they have to suck it up and deal with it. No matter which camp you’re in, at least everyone in the bar can agree that watching sports and alcohol go hand in hand.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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California Closing Time

California is legit. We have mountains, movie stars, the Pacific Ocean, really good weed, beaches, lakes, rivers, snow, and sunshine. We also have bars that close at 2:00 a.m. That part’s not so cool. They actually close earlier than 2:00. Most bars set their clocks ahead 15 minutes so they can close earlier. So they pretend to close at 2:00 but it’s really still 1:45. That’s fifteen minutes of drinking that they steal from you.

Most cool kids don’t even get to the bar until after 10 or 11:00 p.m. So you have less than three hours to drink and socialize before they kick you out. That’s not much time for fun on a Saturday night. When the bar closes it is time for the afterparty or to go home. California is awesome. California closing time is not.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Coming Home Drunk With Prizes

Last night was my friend’s birthday party. She celebrated at a bar and we all got shitfaced. I made it home with my phone, keys, and wallet… everything that I left with, I came back with. I also came back with someone’s container of weed. It’s not mine, I didn’t buy it, I didn’t steal it. Someone who was drunker than me gave it to my drunk ass and I can’t remember who. But now it’s mine.  It sucks when you lose something while drinking, but gaining something makes you feel like it was a productive night. Coming home drunk with prizes from the bar is better than coming home sober with prizes from the county fair.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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