Tag Archives: drinks

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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The Menu

I have a great idea for a trendy new restaurant. It would be called The Menu and it would have an interesting shtick (because every trendy new restaurant should have an interesting shtick). It’s called The Menu because you can only order off the menu. No modifiers, no substitutions, no upsells. The menu is the menu. You can either order something or get the fuck out, it’s as simple as that. I might let you specify the burger or steak temperature, but only if I like you. Don’t even ask about gluten-free options. It’s all gluten. There would be a list of drinks, appetizers, entrées, sides, and desserts. If you don’t see it, you can’t get it. Of course the menu would change from time to time. It’s important to shake things up every once in a while and variety is the spice of life. So come to The Menu, where the menu is the menu.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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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Mini Fridge

A mini fridge is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a miniature refrigerator. They are perfect for dorms, apartments, and offices. No man cave is complete without one (unless you have a kegerator, that trumps all). They are essentially glorified and electrified coolers. They aren’t too spacious but you can keep a couple of six packs in them with enough room left over for some sandwich materials and things to eat. I have a mini fridge. My mom is a teacher and she gave me the one from her classroom when I went to college. It’s followed me to the dorms and everywhere I’ve lived since. At one point I stopped using it as a fridge and started using it as storage space. I know that it still works because I accidently plugged it in one time. I woke up a few hours later and discovered a bunch of really cold computer cables and hard drives in my makeshift cabinet. They still worked okay after I thawed them out a little. I didn’t blame the mini fridge for my stupidity and that’s why I still have it to this day. This thing will become an heirloom.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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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Beer Goggles

I met a hot bartender the other night. At least I thought that I did. Beer goggles can really fuck with a person’s judgment. Beer goggles are a very real phenomenon. The more you drink, the more symmetrical a person’s face appears, and they become more attractive. It’s science, it’s a fact, and the results can be devastating. So anyway, about that supposedly hot bartender… she was blonde, she had a nice body, she was laughing at my lame jokes and giving me enough attention that I felt compelled to tip her twenty bucks and give her my number. I waited a few days and went back to see if she was working. She was, but she definitely didn’t look like I remembered. I wouldn’t say that she was ugly, but she wasn’t the stunner I thought she was when I was a few drinks in. It was disappointing to say the least. I had to drink a couple until she got hot again. It’s a vicious cycle.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Day That Never Ends

Yesterday was an epic day. It was one of those days that stretches on and on and you do so many random things that it doesn’t seem like you did them all in the same day. It was like a real life version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I hung out with some amazing friends, we did a lot of amazing things, and we somehow managed to cram it all into a twenty-four hour period. We started the day by meeting at McDonald’s and grabbing a quick bite to eat before going to Golden Gate Park to participate in the AIDS Walk. We walked for a few miles and helped make the world a better place. Then we decided to get some bottles of champagne and have mimosas on the beach. We deserved it. We went to the grocery store and bought some booze and juice, plus a few other essentials like sandwiches, chips and dip, and some bubbles. You gotta have bubbles. We marched out to the beach and staked out a good log to sit on while we munched our munchies and drank our drinks. We talked and we laughed and we people watched. We saw a group of guys flying kites in formation, doing all kinds of synchronized tricks like they were the Blue Angels of the kite world.

We finished our four bottles of champagne in record time and decided to keep the party going. We went back to the grocery store to reload on booze and chips, but then we decided to find a cool spot in the park rather than go back to the beach. We took a few overlooked paths before finding a cool spot with rocks to lay on and trees to climb. I cracked a brew, shimmied up a tree, and posted up there for a few hours. There was a restaurant nearby that had outdoor seating and it was out of sight but still close enough that we could hear their music blasting. Luckily their music was an actual band that played classic rock songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s. We were essentially listening in on a live concert. We could have stayed there forever, but the music eventually ended, the sun went down, and it started to get cold.

At that point we said fuck it, went to the store and got more booze, and then went to our friend’s house to hang out. We had more drinks, more laughs, and we listened to gangster rap and released our inner thugs. At one point I left to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant, but I came back to the house right after. We partied some more, drank some more, and laughed some more. Did I mention the drinking and the laughing? Because that was the theme of the day. Midnight came and went, and things were going great until someone mentioned that it was 1:30 a.m. and we still had time to go to the bar to make last call. You can’t survive the whole day and suddenly become a party pooper, so I reluctantly went for one last drink. I didn’t even order my own, I just sipped from my friend’s beer.

I wish I could say that I was responsible and went home after the bar closed, but we went back to my friend’s house for a little bit longer. It was somewhere around 2:30 or 3:00 that I finally threw in the towel and went home. I got home and fell into my bed and slept like a rock until I got up, checked Facebook and saw all the pictures and comments from the day before, and decided my day was awesome enough to Critically Rate it. So that’s what I did, and now I’m done. The best days in life are the spontaneous ones, the ones that never end. I knew that yesterday was special early on. I knew that I would remember it forever. I made sure to live in the moment and I’m a little sad that the moment’s already passed. And now I can’t wait for my next epic day.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ordering a Cocktail But Not Knowing What’s In It

The vast majority of people in a bar order basic cocktails like margaritas, martinis, Long Islands, etc. But there is always some asshole that orders a drink that nobody has ever heard of before. Ordering a cocktail but not knowing what’s in it is a great way to piss off your bartender. There are hundreds if not thousands of cocktail names and recipes, so you should be prepared to help out your bartender if you order something obscure like a Skittle shot or a Vampire Juice or something. You should know more about the drink than just its name. You should know what liquors are in it, you should know what mixers to use, and you should know if it’s a shot or something you sip on. A lot of people will order a stupid drink because it sounds cool, but they don’t have the slightest idea what is in it. And that’s fucking retarded. You shouldn’t order something if you don’t know what’s in it. That’s just plain common sense.

Critically Rated at /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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Afterparty

You’re partying and socializing at the bar when you hear those dreaded words: “LAST CALL FOR ALCOHOL!” The bar is closing, but you’re not ready to stop having fun yet. That’s when you need to find out where the afterparty is. Someone is always down to open their doors and invite everyone to come over to keep on drinking. Everyone piles into a few taxicabs and makes the trek to the new hangout spot, stopping only for more booze and supplies at a nearby liquor store. Everyone shuffles inside and they either make a beeline for the living room and grab a seat, or they head straight to the kitchen to start pouring drinks. Someone will pretend to be a DJ and play music, but they will never let a song play the whole way through. The craziest parts of the night almost always take place at the afterparty. That’s when people are the most drunk and that’s when people get rowdy. That’s when people throw up, when people pass out, when people hook up, when people fight, and when people accidently break stuff.  The afterparty is an essential part of the night, as important as pregaming or the main party. It’s the best and most satisfying way to end the night. It only sucks when you have to clean everything up the next day.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Packing Your Bag For A Festival

Last week I went to the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco. It was my fifth time in six years, so I knew what to expect and I came prepared. Packing your bag for a festival is an extremely vital step for an enjoyable weekend. The more supplied you are, the better the festival will be. Start by getting a decent sized backpack with a few different compartments. The biggest compartment is reserved for a beach towel or blanket to mark your spot, and it’s a good idea to throw in an extra jacket or hoodie in case it gets cold. The middle compartment is for food and drinks. And the smallest compartment is for small accessories like hand sanitizer and deodorant. Hand sanitizer goes a long way, especially at outdoor festivals that have a bunch of portapotties but no place to wash your hands. And deodorant is always nice to have, especially after hours of dancing and walking and baking underneath the hot sun. Sometimes I even include a small first aid kit, because you never know when your drunk ass will need a Band-Aid.

The food and drink compartment is the most important. You want to avoid buying food and drinks inside. The lines are too long and the prices are too high. I usually buy a bunch of mini liquor bottles (the kind they serve on planes) and I wrap them up in black socks and drop them in the bottom of the bag. Then I get beef jerky, trail mix, a few granola bars, maybe a sandwich, and some candy and throw those on top of the socked-up liquor bottles. They won’t be able to find your booze if you do it right. If they open your bag, they will just see a bunch of random snacks. Even if they take out the snacks, they won’t spot the liquor because it’s hard to see small black bundles on the bottom of a black bag. I’ll also buy a bottle of vodka and Gatorade and make some Faderade to take in. It looks just like Gatorade, so they probably wont confiscate it. If you make it the night before and stick it in the freezer, you’ll have an ice cold Faderade that will also turn the middle compartment into a cooler. I’ll usually bring in a few bottles of Coke for a caffeine boost and as a chaser for the mini liquor bottles.

If you want to smoke, I suggest that you roll a couple of joints or blunts and put them in a small container to keep them from getting squished or broken. They are easier to light, and it’s more convenient than packing a bowl. And when they start playing your favorite song, you just have to whip it out and spark it and you don’t have to fumble around. Properly packing your bag for a festival will make your weekend better. I spent three days at Outside Lands and didn’t spend a dime on booze or food at any of the vendors. Everything that I needed was in my bag. I was never uncomfortable, I was never hungry, and I was never sober. And I consider that a victory.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Slow Bartender

It was a shitty day at work the other day, so I went to Happy Hour with a few coworkers. We were in desperate need for a drink, but unfortunately we go stuck with the slowest bartender in the history of the world. We ordered a few cocktails and a couple of beers, and then we started playing the waiting game. We waited as he sauntered around getting the liquors and mixers ready. We waited some more as he gathered up the glassware and started to make the first few drinks. Then we waited as he came back and asked what else we ordered. Then we waited as he made the next few drinks. Then we had to remind him that we also ordered beer, and we had to wait while he poured them from the tap. Then he asked us what we ordered again so that he could ring it in. We didn’t have a complicated order. There wasn’t anything that had to be blended or muddled, just a few simple cocktails and some beers. We had three drinks that were the same, we had two other drinks that were the same, and we had two IPAs. We could tell that he felt bad about taking so long, and he even offered us another round on the house. We had to pass. It would have taken too long, and it wouldn’t have been worth it. Time is the one thing that you can’t get back. If you’re a slow bartender, you are in the wrong profession.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bar Hopping

You want a drink but can’t decide where to go. Bar hopping is the perfect solution. Instead of choosing one bar to hang out and get drunk in, you’ll choose a neighborhood with a few chill bars and grab a drink at each of them. You’ll begin at someplace familiar, than start meandering down the street toward the next place. You’ll go into a bar that you’ve seen but never experienced, grab a drink, glance around at the regulars, and then head off for the next one. It’s a good way to pass the time. You feel like an active and motivated drunk. It’s kind of cool to go from a dive bar to a trendy spot. You get a change of scenery and atmosphere. You see a difference in the customers and the cost of the drinks. Every bar has a hook or something unique about it, something that makes it special. You’ll never see what the world has to offer if you only stay in one place. The biggest downside is that it’s almost impossible for other friends to meet up with you, because you don’t know where you’ll be in thirty-five minutes.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Drink After Work

There’s nothing quite like grabbing a drink after work with some coworkers. You deal with so much bullshit all day long and a visit to the local bar is the best way to end a particularly stressful day. You can sip a beer and vent about all the lousy customers and lazy coworkers that you had to deal with during the shift. And your tension eases with every swallow. You work hard and you deserve to take a break before you go home. A drink after work is a godsend, a blessing. Never take it for granted, and never turn down a free round. You spend more time with your coworkers than your own family; you have to be able to get along with them. And booze brings people closer together. So celebrate each successful shift with a shot and a brew with a few fellow employees, bitch about shit, and repeat the process the next day.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Waiting for the Bathroom at the Bar

You drink at a bar. That’s what you do. And drinking makes you have to pee. Eventually you’ll end up waiting for the bathroom at the bar. You have to wait in a single file line with other drunk patrons, alternating between random drunken conversations with strangers and checking your phone for texts and Facebook notifications. You’ll bitch and sigh and shuffle your feet while the line slowly creeps along. Finally you get your chance to drain your bladder and check your reflection, then you wash your hands and grab another drink. Fifteen minutes later you’ll be in line for the bathroom again. It seems like half your time at the bar is spent trying to order another drink or waiting in line to pee. As long as you’re drunk, who cares?

Critically Rated at 10/17

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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