My 2nd Favorite Bartender

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No Government Cheese For Me

After applying at a ton of hotels and nearly on the brink of total discouragement, one of them actually called me back and offered me a job. Coincidentally it was the very one that I was most excited about. Goes to show you, if you want something enough, think about something enough and try for something enough, you will get it. Every time.

Providing that a certain background check doesn’t yield any anti-hipster conspiracies or sheep-related incidents, I oughta soon be working at one of the most historied and swankiest hotel bars in all of Portland.

Hot nuts!

Here’s A Tip

Everyday in life whenever we deal with another human being it comes down to the service. Even with our best friends, or our mothers or our dogs and cats, either we are serving or being served. Either we’re helping or we’re being helped, regardless of what the occasion is. We serve whether we realize it or not, whether it’s in the form of favors or gifts, opening doors or closing windows, it doesn’t matter because service is all we either do or receive.

I write this because I was in a country where they’re getting used to the idea of tipping and while many locals (and foreigners) still don’t practice it, I tried to whenever and wherever possible. I do the same here in the states.

The equation of gratuity and tip percentage is determinate on the amount of fun, satisfaction and impression one finds in the midst of an establishment. Period.

Guy who pumps your gas in the freezing cold went the extra mile? Kid who helps bring the groceries out to the car without being asked? When people do something that’s within their job description so well that you notice it, why not throw them a dollar? A dollar. That’s a candy bar, an hour’s worth of downtown parking, less than a city bus ride.

That dollar means a lot more than any of those things if someone kicks it down because you’re kicking ass.

Good Service Is Scarce

A swift and precise doctor or an attentive and patient friend. A partner in crime or a secret lover, a priest and mad scientist, wizard of servitude and agreeable pal all rolled into one. To tend a bar is to assume many an identity.

Let’s get one thing straight: I love Vietnam. From top to bottom I love almost everything about it.

I went to China and visited Hong Kong a couple years ago and it’s a European-influenced metropolis and also has service that is nearly second to none. By service I mean customer service and by customer service I mean the treatment found in restaurants and bars. By Western standards HK had exceptional service just about everywhere.

VN on the other hand…

Saigon and Hanoi are Vietnamese cities that have plenty of upscale hotels and restaurants that have impeccable service but many establishments in these cities that command high prices and have top-notch ambiance are in desperate need of decent service for it’s clientele.

I believe it’s just cultural ignorance unlike when I’m in the US where there is little excuse for their pandemic of poor restaurant service.

I will be starting a consulting firm that will cater to the staff of up and coming bars and restaurants in Vietnam and we’ll have this nipped in the bud.

Last thing Southeast Asia needs is a bunch of overeducated, smarmy, snot-nosed, pretentiously bitter and angry servers and bartenders who only pay attention to their equally obnoxious, self-righteous friends or the closest gorge of cleavage.

There are far too many who don’t respect or bother to understand the noble profession of serving an adult beverage.

I have quite the task ahead of me, to change the mindset of lazy beer pourers and snarky cocktail shakers. Luckily I’ve got the support of whoever is reading this. I thank you in advance.

I Love Bars

Candy bars, mostly. Gold bars are great too, if I ever saw one.

But there’s nothing like a good dark bar with great music and atmosphere where I’m able to slowly drink myself under the table.

I’ve spent my fair share in bars, reveling and carousing but mostly working and as I become more of a crotchety young man I’m enjoying bars less and less.

It’s a strange metamorphosis because I used to love going out inebriating and adventuring, the sheer abuse my kidneys and liver endured, not to mention my wallet and the frequent trips to the clinic, they were all great hazy memories…

Strangely though, I’d rather not go to bars anymore.

Mostly it’s because of the conversations I have when I’m cornered, the incessant small talk and my tolerance for the raging ignoramus who somehow thinks I want to hear his home-cooked gems or some self-involved story that lost me at “I love this town! When did you move here?”

During a bartending shift, being inundated with copious revelations and slobbery confessions is routine, even expected. My extroverted personality just shines when I’m on the clock. But when I’m sitting at a bar stirring my drink keeping to myself, apparently the back of my head is tattooed with “Please share your political views and/or sob story with me.” Coincidentally me drinking alone is the worst time to have to force a smile.

The only time I like being in a bar is when I’m working. Other than that it better be one dimly lit gin joint where my drink and I can be buried in the shadows and lurk like two men on the lam.