The night at Flower started in earnest around 8. We had quite a rush and it stayed busy for an hour or so. By 9:30 things started to taper off, and I took my break and had some much needed dinner. Next time I plan to pack a snack for the BART ride over.
Amusing moment: The first time a vodka order came in with the waitress comment, “Cosmopolitan,” E. said, “I’m making that. I don’t want you writing that you came to work here and made Cosmos all night.” For the record, there were three or four orders for Cosmos and, even more amusing, one order for a Long Island Ice Tea.
Personally, I think the Cosmo is a bit unfairly maligned. Especially if it is made with a decent citrus vodka, fresh lime, Cointreau, and just a splash of cranberry. I mean, sure, it would be better with tequila or rum instead of vodka. But, it’s not a horrible drink.
The LIIT, on the other hand…
Amusing moment: “Where have you worked before?”
By 8:15 or 8:30, I started to feel pretty good about it. It was busy, I was finding a rhythm, and I didn’t have to ask how much citrus was in every drink. By 9:15 I was fried. Really needed some food to get me through. Took a break around 9:30, and came back to finish out the night. Never really got my groove back, though, and when L. wanted to play around 10:30, and trade off making drinks for each other, I could only come up with one drink before my brain seized up.
Figured it was about time, then, to switch sides of the bar, so changed back into my street clothes, and came down to chat while they finished out the evening.
Ended up hanging around until about midnight. Caught the 12:10-ish BART back to San Francisco and headed home.
So what’s the moral of the story?
I was really happy to be given this chance to work behind the bar with these talented men. It was a tough, but fun evening.
I know I exceeded my expectations for myself. My drinks were good and consistent all night. I never freaked out or panicked. I kept the tickets moving. E. and the other bartenders were impressed with my performance. It was also good to get out of my normal routine, meet some new people and do something different.
When you work in Information Technology, you seldom get praise for things well done. No one says, “Oh thanks for the 300th day of un-interrupted uptime,” or, “Wow, that migration was so seamless, I didn’t notice.” Really, people only notice when things are broken, “Why can’t I access my e-mail today?”
It was really satisfying to do something well and get direct feedback from customers or co-workers.
As I rode home on the BART, I felt excited and energized. The time I’d spent at Flower was one of the most satisfying work experiences I’d had in a few years. Somehow, I almost felt less tired after working 8 hours of my normal job and 5 hours at Flower than after just working a day of my normal job. Achey, sore, and burned, it must be said. But still, somehow more alive.
Having worked in food service, I didn’t have a particularly romantic notion about the nature of working as a bartender. Working behind the bar, and watching the other bartenders interact with the customers and each other, I began to get a much better idea of what could be satisfying in that career.