Food & Drink

Christmas rush: Confessions of a bartender as festive frolics hit high peak

“86 Moretti” I shout to my colleague who puts his hand to his ear as the many conversations from the droves of people waiting to be served fill the air.

For those not au fait with bar terminology 86 translates as no-more and at Christmas time this saying couldn’t be more apt.

Ah Christmas time, mistletoe and wine – lots and lots of wine if you’re a bartender serving the never-ending supply of customers!

While most industry workers are well versed in the art of dealing with those inebriated on a weekly basis– ‘Christmas drunk’ is another sport altogether.

These customers are like “a box of chocolates” – you never know what you’re going to get! They like the element of surprise! While Gremlins should not be fed after midnight – some customers shouldn’t be allowed alcohol.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas takes on a new meaning from a bartender’s eyeline.

You’ve got the woman fighting to compose herself and pretend she is not five sheets to the wind so early on at her work’s Christmas party, the guy your mother warned you about telling the same chat-up line to anyone who will listen to the aggressive chap at the bar demanding a fresh drink because you ‘stole’ his last one as he forgets he drank it and then there’s the “I didn’t order this” – yes you did mate – I’m the one that’s sober!

Adopting the customer is always right stance is particularly hard at Christmas especially armed with some of the questions they ask you such as “do I look alright”? Always go with yes to this one – even if you want to say computer says no!

Then you have the customers who can see you juggling a tray full of drinks but will still ask can they have a drink?

“Yes Susan – let me just see if my third hand is free.”

The conversations bandied about are enough to make even the least offended turn crimson.

Sugar aka the Bible becomes a bar tender’s best friend and staple diet which gets them through four or five 12 hour shifts in a row.

So next time you’re impatiently waiting your turn at the bar ready to complain – spare a thought for the bartender who has probably already had 15 drunken obscenities fired his/her way whilst surviving on a half-eaten sandwich and five hours’ sleep from the previous twelve-hour shift.

Happy Christmas!

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