Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bartending For Billy Pantele

I got to work tonight and found out that I would be bartending for a mayorial fundraiser on our upstairs patio bar. The candidate holding the fundraiser? The guy I arbitrarily endorsed last week, Bill Pantele!

I got a chance to see the guy up close and personal, hear a speech to his supporters, and most importantly (to me), witness his drinking habits.

My take: He's not a great public speaker, infact he did remind me a lot of George Costanza. A bit fidgety, balding, wears glasses, the whole nine. His speech sort of rambled and he tended to fumble with his words, but his backers (all 50 of them who attended) seemed to love it and kept applauding. He even poked fun at Mayor Wilder's entourage and PR staff. I admit though, I didn't listen to his every word because the other bartender and I were talking and joking around. From what I heard though, he sounded like a man with real ideas and a real solution for Richmond, someone who is ready to stand up for the little guy..... okay okay, I made that last part up. Other than a few potshots at Mayor Wilder, I really didn't catch much of what he said. From what I did hear and see though, Pantele doesn't seem to mince words. I could see him being a tough guy-type leader for Richmond.

What really impressed me about Pantele though, is that the man likes a stiff drink, actually, he likes multiple stiff drinks. Before he even arrived, one of his campaign workers ordered a double bourbon on the rocks for him, then Pantele came up 20 minutes later and got another. 20 minutes after that someone came up and got him a double Makers Mark on the rocks, and then for good measure I think he had one more, although I'm not completely sure about that 4th one. Even when I was done cleaning the entire bar and closing up the shop, he was still drinking with some of his people out on the patio. Needless to say, I was impressed. Pantele is a busy man, but he clearly isn't afraid to down a few cocktails with his friends, on a Tuesday. Bravo Billy, bravo.

My score so far:

Bob Grey- Drinks Diet Coke, dresses like a UVA frat boy, has a mustache that would make Craig Stadler jealous, sort of wimpy. Drinks like a pretentious pantywaist.

Bill Pantele- Drinks Makers Mark (with plenty of ice), looks like Dilbert, would most likely be the guy who instigates a bar fight then lets his friends do the dirty work. Drinks like an old money Virginia blue blood.

Bartender Insider: Starting A New Gig

For whatever reason I've been getting a lot of bartending offers this past month and after accepting one, quitting an old one, almost quitting another one, de-accepting one and finally taking another offer, I've managed to nail down my two ideal bars to work at and get a schedule that I think will suit me just fine. For those Richmonders who like to stalk me, I'll be at the Cuban "cocktail capital of the world" 3 shifts a week and then I'll be at a hip hotspot in Shockoe Slip which may or may not have the word Cantina in the title, every Thursday and Saturday.

The new gig will be similar to my old one at the college bar but the crowd at this new place is a bit more upscale, and the money will be much better, although the hours may be just as severe. I start this Thursday.

Starting a new bar gig, especially at an established bar during two coveted shifts can be a stressful situation. First of all, I was hired on word of mouth and connections. The owner, GM and bar manager have never actually seen me bartend, so it's important that I come in and immediately show them and the rest of the staff that I'm a good bartender. Also when entering new gigs such as this, there always tend to be other people in the restaurant or that frequent the restaurant, that feel that an outsider (such as me) doesn't deserve to step in and get a bartender gig without first paying their dues. So I'll probably have that to deal with in some respects.

In addition to showing them I can bartend my face off, I have to be personable and outgoing and flirtatious and a showman. I'm fairly sure I wasn't hired because of how I make a margarita and right off the bat it will be important to smile and have some personality, while at the same time being able to bartend for a high volume of people. The last thing management or other bartenders want to see is a bartender who gets grumpy or frantic when they're in the weeds.

This is the 5th bar I've stepped into and had to prove myself, so I'm not really that nervous. The key, as in any other pursuits, is to simply show up early and be yourself....Oh and shutting your yapper and doing whatever anyone tells you is also a good policy (for the first few months at least). Follow these guidelines and the rest will work itself out.
I'd also recommend not hooking up with the staff or the patrons at the new gig as it generally will always end badly, of course I'm also a complete hypocrite for making that recommendation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Best Burger In Richmond

"I want to take this burger out to dinner and a movie, then maybe I'll take it back to my place, turn on a little Terence Trent D'Arby...and then...then? we'll just mess around a little bit, you know, take it slow. This burger is so good I don't want to rush things." -Barney on "How I Met Your Mother", describing his feelings towards the best hamburger in New York City.

Much like Barney I'd like to meet a girl (or a hamburger) and for once I'd like to just take it slow and have a normal progression of a first date, a first kiss, a second date and some fooling around, meeting her friends, slightly tipsy awkward sex eventually becoming good sober sex, taking a weekend trip somewhere together, getting into fights in bars over trivial matters, and then an amicable (or non-amicable) break up 6 months after first meeting each other. Isn't that what most normal people do?

Lately, my normal progression is a first date that only includes booze, then drunken awkward sex, then drunken okay sex, then maybe catching a movie together and possibly some Taco Bell, then drunken good sex, followed by sober sex, and then a break up. And this is all in a span of two weeks.

I told a fellow bartender about this the other night and just as we were talking about it, a girl came in the bar and sat down. She was cute and it just so happened that she was new to Richmond (a grad student... go figure). I ended up talking to this girl for a long time and exchanging numbers with her, and although I'm fairly sure she'll end up in my long string of tasty, yet ultimately unfulfilling hamburgers, It gave me hope. It gave me hope that there's a juicy, delicious, 6 month girl out there right now that could walk into my bar at any moment.

Until then, I guess I'll just keep on experimenting with area burgers until I find one I really like. :)

I bet I fooled at least 20 "foodies" into clicking on this post because of the title. Oh and by the way, 5Guys takes the prize when it comes to the RVA and actual hamburgers (as opposed to my girls as hamburgers metaphor).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

JGF Endorses A Mayorial Candidate

At lunch today I read an article in Style Weekly, "Mayorial Candidate Lands Support Of Key Hipster". Basically this 27 year old who is the co-owner of RVA Magazine and whose father is the former CEO of The Performance Food Group, a Richmond based Fortune 500 company, has thrown his support and 5,000 dollars behind mayorial candidate Robert Grey. 5 large in a mayorial campaign is akin to giving someone your kidney. That's a lot of money for local politics. I'm sure he has his reasons (something about non-profits) and I'm sure maybe some of the artists and skateboarders who read RVA Mag may throw their support to Gray because of this guys endorsement, but I don't really care about all that. The only reason I mention it is because Bob Grey was in the bar tonight for some "city power-brokers" gathering.

I wanted to corner him and ask him if he read the article in Style and if he even knew what the term hipster meant, unfortunately the bar was slammed and I was the only bartender at the time. So I was only able to watch him as he glad-handed "the power elite". Although I really hope that wasn't Richmond's power elite, because if so, we're fucked.

My take on Grey? He looks like the black guy on the Just For Men box and that's pretty much all he has going for him. I got bored just looking at him. He ordered a coke and just kept walking in circles around the bar, saying, "Hi, I'm Robert Grey". I guess that's what you do when you run for office. You smile and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. But the coke??? C'mon Bob, even Hilary Clinton took a shot of whiskey when she was campaigning in Kentucky (or was it West Virginia?).

I like my mayorial candidates to be hard livin and loud talkin and I'm afraid the soft-spoken Mr.Grey doesn't fit the bill. I'm liking Bill Pantele more and more. A fellow blogger attended the debates Tuesday and compared Pantele to George Costanza.

"Showed a lot of disrespect to the other candidates by loudly drumming his fingers on the podium and sighing loudly when someone said something he didn't like. His microphone really should have been turned off when it wasn't his turn. Made some really big promises that would happen starting January 2nd." -Read Drink and Be Merry

Fucking hilarious.

Lets be honest here, are any of the five candidates going to make that much of a difference if elected mayor? Is it even possible to make that big of a difference with all of the checks and balances we have in place, especially after Old Man Wilder made a mockery of the position? I mean really, I'm asking, I have no idea.

I think we go with the candidate who has the highest potential for entertainment value, and whether we're laughing with him or at him, Billy Pantele may be the best man in that department.

So if that 27 year old hipster I mentioned has the skateboard, bohemian artist crowd falling in line for Grey, then it's my goal to have the mid-twenties, refuse to get a real job, hard drinking, man-whore crowd to vote for Pantele.

A Bright Spot In This Summer Movie Wasteland

A few years back I, like many other young men, started really getting into writer Chuck Palahniuk. I got interested in him a few years after his book Fight Club was made into a movie in 99' and eventually became a huge pop culture hit. Other than reading Fight Club, then watching the movie countless times and then trying to emulate the Tyler Durden character in my everyday life; I started checking out Palahniuk's other works. He has really put out some solid writing, including Invisible Monsters, Lullaby, and Survivor. But my absolute favorite Palahniuk, even over Fight Club, has to be the novel Choke. Here's a short description of the book/movie:

In Choke, Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) is a sex addict who works as a reenactor of Colonial Times at a theme park. To support his hospitalized mother (Anjelica Huston), Victor cons others by intentionally choking at restaurants to get money from his rescuers. - Wiki

The book gets a lot more in depth than that, but the basic premise is that this sex addict lives at his mom's house, goes to SA (sex addicts anonymous) meetings to score women, works as a colonial reenactor, goes around choking at restaurants, then is able to worm his way into his rescuers hearts and take their free handouts. Palahniuk as always, is very graphic and very frank in his discussions on sex and life. He doesn't gloss anything over.

Wow, a poor sex addict does anything for money. It's not hard to see why I would like this book so much.

So the movie comes out this Friday and I'm pretty psyched. I doubt it will ever hit a 10th of the popularity that Fight Club did, probably due to a shoestring budget and a less than star-studded cast, but who cares? From what I can tell from the trailer, Sam Rockwell is a great pick for the lead and Anjelika Huston will be very good as Rockwell's mother. Go pick up the book (it's like 8 bucks at Barnes and Noble) and give it a chance. If you do, I promise you will be in the theatres by next week to check out Choke.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My College Degree Has Become Obsolete

There has been a lot of talk recently about whether a getting a 4 year college degree is all that it's cracked up to be. Most of the talk has centered around a book that was recently released by a reknowned political scientist, Charles Murray. He argues that for about 80 percent of the population, a B.A. is a joke, simply because 80 percent doesn't have the IQ necessary to actually understand most of their college work anyways, and that the piece of paper they get upon graduation infers nothing to future employers about how well that person will fare, or something along those lines. I posted some quotes from a NY Times interview with this Murray guy because clearly my IQ isn't capable of explaining his theory.

"Let’s stop this business of the B.A., this meaningless credential. And let’s talk about having something kids can take to an employer that says what they know, not where they learned it. " -Murray

To the belief that anyone can do anything they choose if they really put their mind to it: "You're out of touch with reality in that regard. You have not hung around with kids who are well in the lower half of the ability distribution. " -Murray

To his theory that only 20 percent of college students are smart enough to be there: "Eighty percent are not able to deal with college-level material, traditionally understood. Someone can sit down with Paul Samuelson’s textbook and stare at the pages and know what most of the words mean. That does not mean that they walk away from it understanding economics as it is taught in the textbook." -Murray

He basically argues that a 2 year vocational school is the way to go for many kids, or that simply getting a shit-job out of high school and busting your ass for a few years is much more educational for the dummies (80 percent) than attending a 4 year university.

I'm not sure if I agree with Murray because in my personal experience I fall on both sides of the fence. Yes my 4 year B.A. in Political Science is absolutely worthless when it comes to applying what I actually learned in college to a job, any job, not just bartending. Even in my 9 to 5 jobs I didn't use an iota of what I learned (in the classroom).

On the other hand, the experience of going to college helped make me the outgoing, quick-witted, man-whore that I am today. I learned more from the experience of being there than I did from any text book. By dealing with college, professors and my peers I was more prepared to go into sales and then of course bartending, than I would have been if I had become, say, an electrician straight out of high school.

I agree that a majority of the population is stupid and that a piece of paper that says you went to school for four years should be considered worthless, unfortunately without that piece of paper most decent companies will never hire someone. What I find funny now though, is that I'm almost certain that any future (distant future) job I end up getting will have nothing to do with my degree, or the fact that I have one. Infact that next job will come solely from knowing people and street skills, not from being able to explain campaign finance reform or by being able to name the last 17 Republican vice presidential candidates. Kids, a Poli Sci degree is a joke. Don't let anyone tell you different.

I very seriously doubt I'll ever have to verify that I'm a college graduate ever again, which sort of sucks because I'm still paying that place 200 bucks a month for letting me get drunk all the time and banging an unspeakable amount of sorority girls.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sex or The Cowboys?

*Tony Romo: Quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, Female celebrity bed-hopper, Dreamboat.

I told her I was coming over at 7:30 PM. Then I remembered that my Cowboys play at 8:30 and that she doesn't own a television. Going to a bar to watch the game was not an option because I'm on a sober kick currently (til at least Friday...really, I swear). If I go to her house I miss the game and probably don't get a very good nights rest, on the other hand... I get sex, good sex, enough sex to clog the toilet full of condoms. :)

I got about three miles from her house and I was still weighing my options. I have a training shift for my new bar tomorrow night and then 5 consecutive shifts (Tue-Sat) at "The Cocktail Capital of The World" this week, so a good nights sleep would really help, also I want to see the Cowboys go into Green Bay and sodomize Aaron Rodgers and this surprising Packers team. Of course, I would be sacrificing sex, which due to my busy bar schedule could be difficult to obtain in the coming week. Decisions decisions....

So I turned around and came back home. I made the right decision for my body and my head, although I made the wrong decision for my penis. But lets be real here, do I ever make a good decision when it involves my penis? History would suggest that no, I do not. Still, I turned down sex to watch football... Whomever the next person is I see who reads this blog, please be kind and slap the fuck out of me.

Jack's Man Card: REVOKED.

Ed Note: At the time of this posting the Cowboys are up 13-6 on the Packers at the half. Not exactly an awe-inspiring game or half (unlike last weeks shootout versus the Eagles), but I'm not really that worried. Something tells me that the Romo Juggernaut will get moving in the second half.

Drinks Cost Money

Both of these instances happened this evening, Saturday, September 20th.

Black Guy: He orders a Long Island Iced Tea. I make his drink and take his credit card to start a tab. He orders two more Long Island Iced Teas over the next hour. He then asks for his tab. I run his card and it comes to 36 dollars. As I expected, he immediately balks (which happens everytime people order an LIT). I have to explain to him that our rail liquors are all premium (Tangueray, Smirnoff, Sauza, etc) and that we pour at least three shots of booze into our LIT's. If you've been to this restaurant before then you would know, we aren't cheap and we don't run specials. Predictably the guy starts bitching and even more predictably the guy tips nothing.

White Guy: Is in the bar with a huge wedding party. He orders four beers and starts a tab. His girlfriend then comes up and wants to buy a round of shots for the wedding party and the guy agrees to pay for the round. They order 11 Absolut Citron lemon drops and 2 shots of Jager. He then asks to see his tab, and much to his shock (!) it's now over 100 dollars. He begins telling me about how we were dead before the wedding party came in and that this is bullshit and blah blah blah. I shrug and run his card for the full amount. After this guy has me sugar rim 11 shot glasses and 11 lemon slices, pop 4 beers, and pour 2 additional shots, he tips dick, and continues to run his mouth about how he got ripped off.

Does it matter what color a persons skin is in either of these situations? No, they could've been American Indian for all I care. The fact is, just because Joe Blow at your neighborhood sports bar gives you 2 dollar Bud Lights and every other drink for free, does not mean you can walk into another establishment and expect not to pay full price and/or not tip.

I've been hard on the tipping habits of minorities in the past and that's not fair. There are people from all walks of life that don't understand the concept of restaurants and service. I apologize and will henceforth refrain from mentioning a persons skin tone when I discuss tipping, regardless of how often certain stereotypes are fulfilled or broken.

The funny thing is, other than these two incidents, almost every single tab I closed tonight tipped at least 20% and we ended up having a pretty profitable night. I guess I just like to focus on the negative shit sometimes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't Date Bartenders

I'm not exactly your regular neighborhood bartender so I may not be the right guy to insert into the adage, "don't date bartenders." My loose morals and reluctance (okay, I meant refusal) to get into anything serious, sort of disqualifies me from the Richmond relationship pool.

But even with normal human beings who happen to bartend, male or female, the life of a bartender makes it very difficult to have a normal relationship. The hours, the temptation, the booze, the camaraderie you build with your co-workers which sometimes leads to extra-curricular activites..... That's why you see so many service industry people dating each other.

Most bartenders are regular people, hoping to meet Miss or Mister Right. Of course there are the scoundrels like me out there too.

Just be careful.

On the other hand, bartenders are great for flings though. Free booze and no strings attached sex!!!! Hooray!

Do You Take IOUs At This Bar?

As I've mentioned, I'm a poor man. I make money and then I turn it over to debts and bills and a lameass attempt at savings. So when I go out, I try to conserve money and be frugal with my drinking habits. I'll drink 2 dollar Miller High Lifes or PBR's at most local bars. I'll hit SIN nights at Lucky Buddha for two dollar rail liquor drinks. I'll even go out of my way to hit certain happy hours for their competitive drink specials, regardless of how cool the bar is.

The trouble is, I tip like I'm Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber, like I have a suit case full of found money. A 2 dollar drink? Lets just give the bartender 7 bucks and call it a day. A round of shots, discounted to 11 bucks because I know the bartender? Here's 25, keep the change.

I always try to appease the tip gods and as a fellow bartender I know how to tip, but it's starting to get out of control. The shrapnel in my back pocket is getting too light. But what am I supposed to do???? Stop drinking??? Psh.

It's the classic service industry conundrum. We make our money and then we immediately put it back into circulation at another bar.
I've made more money bartending full-time than anything else I've ever done, unfortunately I've also spent more money. When you have a stack of twenties on the kitchen counter, it sort of turns into play money. You just figure that whatever you spend today, you'll end up making back tonight or the next night. Paychecks make it so much easier to control one's money and spending habits. But God knows, a 9 to 5 doesn't really suit my propensities for sleeping late and not being held accountable for my actions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'll Get To Dostoevsky Next Week

I've been working on a few of Jack Kerouac's other writings recently after I found an anthology of his travel writings, which are the novels he started or completed from 1957 to 1960 (yes, "On The Road" was included). I carry this anthology to the bar with me because I frequently go downtown early before work and read at my favorite coffee place, Cafe Gutenberg. I usually leave the book in plain view on the back of the bar by the liquor bottles while I work.

Aside from a few customers wanting to know what their bartender reads, I mostly get made fun of by our barback or by a waitress. They see Kerouac and they see "On The Road", and they say, "dude, I read that in like 8th grade."

My response is, one, I'm reading his other works from the period like The Subterraneans, Tristessa and The Dharma Bums, and two, On The Road still rocks my fucking world. Sure I read it like 10 years ago, but it's just one of those books that can be reread and not get old and not get repetitive.

Everytime I read certain passages from On The Road, I get the urge to hit the streets and talk to people and have a drink and I begin to explode with ideas. My wanderlust comes back and I start to get excited and think that anything is possible. The original reason I quit my job and started blogging begins to resurface; a reason and a feeling that have been rare these past few months.

I don't care if Kerouac isn't noted as a great writer and I don't care that On The Road doesn't get the scholarly respect it deserves. The book makes me happy and I think for the most part, that's what books should do.

Sidenote: I wrote about Kerouac a month ago, so did this guy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Have A Rash And Shitty Health Insurance


Noooooo, it's not what you think. And really, would I advertise an STD over the blog? Would that help my chances with lonely U of R girls???

No, I have this condition called Tinea Versicolor,which is basically a skin condition that causes hives. I've had it since I was about ten and it comes and it goes. This summer it got worse due to the irrepressible heat so I went to the docs today and he prescribed an oral medication, the same one that cleared up the condition about 6 years ago. I guess it never really goes away, but this medication should clear it up for a few years. The point of this post, other than to let you ladies know that it's not contagious and that I'm a completely healthy, disease-free young man?

To bitch about health insurance.

I ponied up the loot 5 months ago and got health insurance because, believe it or not, bartenders aren't offered benefits. I know, it's BS. I'm in a profession where I constantly deal with drunken assholes, throw my body over a bar to break up fights, handle broken glass and have random, unprotected sex with waitresses, yet these bars still don't feel that I need protection from the high cost of emergency room visits and prescription drugs.

Anyways, I picked the cheapest monthly plan from Anthem and that was that. I figured the only time that I would need it, if ever, was in the case of a beer bottle to the face (which has happened once), or if there's another flash flood in Shockoe Bottom and I'm forced to use the gangrenous remains of my bar manager to float to higher ground. All unlikely scenarios.

So I go into Walgreens to get my pills and come to find out that I have a huge deductible for prescription drugs and I end up having to pay 200 dollars for 14 pills. I felt like one of those old people who can't afford their meds. You know, the ones they always profile in Michael Moore movies and pieces on Dateline.

I guess I should've done a bit more research before I submitted myself to a health insurance provider. Damn the man!

But again, and I stress, I do not have any sexually transmitted diseases...Regardless of what the lady at the front desk of my doctors office thought, or the beautiful pharmacy chick at Walgreens thought, or that new hot stylist who cut my hair thought when I told her I had just gone to the doctors for a skin condition.

Why is it that I have to run into a bunch of pretty girls on a Monday, a day I feel like shit, a day I'm unshaven and wearing a holey t-shirt and a day that I have a bag of pills in my hand for a "skin condition"??? Clearly God is punishing me for having so many good-looking women sit in front of me on a nightly basis at the bar.

Sweating Profusely During Sex???

I knew something was wrong when I was drinking that Diet Pepsi on the way over to her place. My energy was low, I wasn't bobbing my head to the music. I just wasn't happy about it being Sunday. Physically I felt fine, my head was a bit foggy though. I was unreasonably morose.

I got there and she noticed too. I was in a sour mood, barely speaking to her. My throat was really dry and I kept reaching for the water bottle. She asked me what was wrong and I didn't have an answer. It certainly wasn't her. She looked better than I had ever seen her look, although I didn't tell her that.

We began to have sex and I began to sweat profusely. This was a sign that something was amiss with my body. I was dripping sweat, which never really happens unless I'm in the gym. She noticed this too, but it didn't stop us from finishing.

Afterwards I was still sweating. Laying in her bed, in front of the window AC unit and I can't cool down. My desire to have sex again was non-existent. I needed my bed and I needed zero conversation. She didn't understand why I was so grumpy and didn't want to talk. So I left and in the process I probably pissed her off. I guess it's rude to come over to a girls place, immediately initiate sex, and then leave shortly thereafter.

I got home and dozed off during Seinfeld at 10:40. I never fall asleep with the TV on, much less my favorite show of all time. It was the earliest I've been to bed in three months.

I woke up feeling like I drank a bottle of Jack Daniels last night, yet I've been sober for the past two nights.

I'm either going through alcohol withdrawl or I have some sort of flu. This isn't how I planned on my Fall starting.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

JGF Wants Change

After witnessing how Shockoe Bottom turns into the Los Angeles riots every Saturday night and then being afraid that my car got destroyed from the cops tear-gassing two blocks of Main Street(twice) in an effort to subdue the mayhem, I'm starting to get more interested in the Richmond Mayorial race.

I work downtown and then drive home to the southside of Richmond. The new toll hike is already kicking my ass (I'm using an extra quarter (75 cents a toll for a 70 cent toll) to pay the 20 cent hike because finding two dimes at 3 AM without crashing is difficult) and the added traffic and confusion that it's bringing to the already horrible driving in Richmond is driving me nuts. As much as I don't want to admit it, I'm being affected by some of the issues.

This has forced me to start paying closer attention to the race, which I can probably do by reading local blog Buttermilk and Molasses, simply because he posts about the election 17 to 19 times a day. And who knows? Maybe a bartending blogger can even make a difference, because lets be honest,voter turn out for the next Richmond Mayor will probably be about equal to the number of people I serve drinks to every night. It sucks, but it also means that every vote will count that much more.

Intellectual Girl Seeks Poor, Well-read Bartender

Sometimes you build up a night or an event and then it never lives up to the advance billing. This last Friday night was not one of those nights.

I'm sitting here and trying to blog about Friday night but it's difficult to make a funny blogpost while not completely cockblocking myself and/or incriminating the other parties involved. For this Friday's sake and for my reputation, which is on precarious footing as it is, I'll note a useful observation from the evening and then never speak of my actions again.

- Untapped resource which is now tapped: Girls that go to University of Richmond Law School. My friends and I were already half in the bag when I got a text that Blackfinn has one dollar rail liquor on Fridays till 11PM. I then remembered that a barback I work with works there also, so off we went. We were lucky enough to stumble into some sort of UR Law happy hour where we ran into a guy we went to school with, who is now enrolled there. He was nice enough to introduce us to every hot law school girl in the joint, and I was nice enough to hit on every single one of them. A tall blonde (possibly the best of the bunch) caught my eye and it just so happened that she was also the highest ranked girl in her class (top ten). The combination of beauty and brains had me hooked.... That's all I'm saying.

Quick Bartender Insider: Smart, rich girls like to go "slumming" with poor bartenders. I think it has something to do with the show Sex And The City and the fact that the smart, career driven Miranda(an attorney) ends up falling for the gritty bartender played by Steve. Don't ask me how I know the show or any of its plotlines. Really, just don't ask.

For those not in the know, status and money mean nothing when it comes to attraction. Guys in Richmond seem to think otherwise though and it ends up making it rediculously easy for me and a few select others to, ahhhh, "date" women.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Local TV Personalities Get Ready

This is the first Friday night I've had off in four months. The last time I was off on a Friday I started drinking Ketel One Martinis at 2 PM and almost got my ass-kicked by Juan Conde-wannabe and local newscastor Ric Young at the Metro Grill.

Something tells me that today has something similar in store, although Ric Young and his brother better be careful because I've been in the gym preparing for a rematch.

This time I'm hoping to run into the smoking-hot CBS-6 Anchor/reporter Lee Mahaffey and then coercing her into making some bad decisions.

You can catch me today and tonight at a number of bars, cashing in on all of the free drinks I give away to my bartending brethren. Lee, if you see this post, hit me on the Gmail sexy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Goodbye College Bar

As sad as it is, I've finally quit working at my college bar (where most of the material for this blog originates), and taken a new bartending gig at one of my favorite bars in the city. I won't say the name but it's in the top 5 on my Richmond Bar Guide so it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. The switch was made mostly for financial and scheduling reasons.

I'll miss my co-workers for the most part and I'll really miss the numerous women and opportunities that presented themselves night after night working in that place. I won't put a number on how many women I met and/or "cavorted" with from the college bar, but lets just say... well lets just say that I enjoyed the lifestyle to its fullest extent.

What I will not miss? The horrendous hours and getting out of work at 4 AM night after night. 20 percent of the customers who walked through the front doors. Jumping the bar to throw out crotch-grabbers and break up fights. Getting a zero percent tip at least 20 times a night. And making 4000 Long Island Iced Teas a night.

For now I begin at a new bar and I'm excited. New co-workers (most of whom I already know), a new crowd, and new bar intricacies for me to learn. It's not a major change, because lets face it, I'm still in downtown Richmond and I still plan on sleeping until noon everyday. Life will stay the same, although with a noticable downtick in teenage girls among my rotation. Hmmm. That really sucks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Have So Many People I Want To Thank...

I was notified tonight, by a variety of people, that I'm up for "Richmond's Hottest Bartender". I don't know who made this decision, who votes on it, who's doing the contest, or whether the contest even exists but people kept coming up and saying that they saw my name on a list and that they were rooting for me. Apparently a bunch of the bars downtown got a list of nominations for a variety of categories (including biggest A-hole, which the owner of my college bar got nominated for).

So on my way home from work I began preparing for what is sure to be an absolute onslaught of incredible, model-quality, amazon-height women throwing themselves at me, by stopping at CVS and purchasing 4 boxes (12 condoms a box) of my favorite brand of Trojans. I then texted a shady doctor I know and asked him for a prescription for the highest grade erectile dysfunction medication on the market (not that I need it, but any man tends to wilt after his 5th girl in one day.)

If you couldn't tell, this post was meant to be sarcastic, although I won't say that I'm not flattered to be up for the honor, even though I have no idea when and where it's taking place (someone let me know so I can stuff the ballot box) or if its just some joke. I don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn here, but after this post, I'm willing to bet that the number of gay guys who email me asking for a picture of myself will triple... to 6.

Whether or not I win the title of Richmond's hottest bartender, I think that the added attention it brings may help me get laid, which bartending alone, up to this point, has failed to do....

....Okay that's a lie . :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

The NASCAR Rednecks Depart, JGF Rejoices!

On Friday night I had to jump the bar three times during the evening to kick out three separate guys. All three decided to reach up and grab a girls "cooter" as the girls danced on the bar. I witnessed all three incidents with a mix of disgust and fascination. Who goes around grabbing girls in the crotch without asking? Who were the offenders you ask?

Out of towners who were here for Nascar. One guy thought it would be funny to smack one of our female bartenders on the ass earlier in the evening. To her credit, she managed not to kill him, but I did find her in the back, near tears a little later in the night. I kept my eye on this jackass, waiting for the slightest slip up after that and of course he reaches up and puts two fingers between a girls legs, all the while turning and laughing with his friends. It was my pleasure to push him out the front door.

I'm not grouping all Nascar fans with these people because I know that there are many fine, quality people who love to watch guys drive in a circle, but there is a definite subset in Nascar fandom that never learned how to act like functioning adults and who probably shouldn't be allowed out of certain areas of the south. I know this may offend my southside readers (although I'm from southside also), but it's the truth, no matter how offending it may be.

Sidenote: Saturday night a guy punched a girl in the face outside of the other bar I work at. My barback witnessed it after they left the restaurant. Guess why they were in town????

Looking For Love In An Atlantic City Poker Room

*This isn't the actual lady that I refer to in the post, but she's basically a dead ringer for her. So for this blogposts sake, imagine this is her.

I'm in Atlantic City on Sunday night at Caesars Palace at the poker tables. A women, early 40's, slightly heavy set and not even remotely attractive, ends up getting sat next to me during a no-limit hold em tourney I'm playing in. She starts talking and talking and talking, even after I put both of my ipod headphones in and a baseball cap really low over my eyes in an effort to look mean. So finally I start talking back because this women will literally not shut the hell up. I tell her I'm in Alantic City alone to play poker and that I don't have a room. After saying this, she whips out a piece of paper and writes her cell number and room number on it, saying, "If you don't feel like driving home tonight, feel free to call. I have an extra bed and I'm here alone also."

At this point in the evening it was already midnight and I still had a solid 2-3 hours of poker left in me, so I considered her offer because lets face it, a free bed sure beats driving back to Richmond while the sun comes up and also her offer seemed pretty genuine and not sexual in any way.... or so I thought.

We keep playing and eventually she busts out of the tourney. She repeats her offer to me as she walked away, which the entire table of poker mutants found hilarious, either because she was much older than me and offering her room up, or the fact that most of the idiots at the table probably had never touched a women and couldn't comprehend staying in the same room as one. (Ed Note: 94% of the men you will find in an Atlantic City poker room are infact virgins.)

During the next break (in tournament poker there are sporadic breaks every couple of hours) I went for a walk on the casino floor. As I'm watching a game of craps, I feel a tap on the shoulder. It's the older women. This is where it gets creepy.

Her: Listen, I didn't want to say this in front of everyone at the table, but we can do more than just sleep in my room. (shes clearly been drinking)

Me: Ahhh, well, thanks... But umm, I actually just got a room over at Ballys. (I lie)

Her: Really? You don't want to come up for a bit. You can do whatever you want with me. WhatEVER... (How she said this with a straight face is beyond me)

Me: (nervous laughter) Well I'm tempted, really I am, but I'm just pretty beat from all the poker and whatnot. But hey I gotta get back to the table (I slowly edge away).

Her: (grabbing my arm) You sure Mr. Bartender??

Me: Ahhh...Yeah I'm sure. But really, you're too nice. I got your number, so you know, I'll give you a shout. (I couldn't bring myself to be rude to this lady)

I was really thinking about taking her up on the free bed, that is , until she tried to make me her little pool boy. So instead I tried driving home at 4 AM from AC. I made it to Wilmington, Delaware where I got a room at Motel 6, whose cleanliness made most prison cells look more appealing. I went to the front desk to complain and somehow got into a huge argument with the old lady who was the night manager, and at one point I threw my room card at her. Don't criticize me though. She wasn't some cute, grandmotherly-type old lady. No, she was a tough bitch, hardened by the hundreds of prostitutes and vagrants I'm assuming she deals with on a nightly basis. I somehow got my money back and kept driving, finally finding reasonable accommadations in Dover, Delaware at the Econolodge.

I did fine with my actual poker in AC, but I grossly underestimated how difficult that drive is. I should've just ripped 9 shots of Crown Royal and bit the bullet with that older lady. Who knows? Maybe she was really rich and willing to take me shopping afterwards. At least I'd still be in AC playing poker, sans my dignity of course... Although I'm pretty used to that feeling at this point.

Friday, September 5, 2008

JGF Says NO To Underage Drinking ...

*Okay so this is the second picture I've put up of little kids drinking booze. I'm not sure why but I just find this picture so funny and besides, it's not like they're naked or anything... Cause, well, that would be sort of strange.

Last night there was another University of Richmond fraternity party, but this time it was across the street from where I was tending at. My bar was a graveyard and I could only wistfully stare at the hundreds of drunken sorority girls walking up and down 18th street.

At one point I had four fraternity guys come in. Since I was the only bartender and we didn't have security or a door guy last night, it was up to me to check ID's. I carded all four guys and they all produced New York licenses which said that they were 21. Now I'm not an idiot, I knew almost immediately that these were fake ID's because honestly, 4 guys all from different cities in NY all hanging out together? What are the odds? Lucky for them I couldn't distinguish if the ID's were fake, and even more lucky for them, I could've cared less if they were, so I served them up some drinks.

Next, 4 incredibly hot sorority girls walk in and start talking to the guys. I notice the remains of smudged, big black X's on each of their hands, signifying that the last bar had marked them underage.

So one of these frat boys comes up to the bar and orders 4 more Vodka + Cranberrys. I knew where they were going but I was sort of in a shit mood, sort of hungover and I kind of felt like being an ass. So I made the drinks and collected his money and his tip. Then I watched as he handed the four girls the drinks I had just made. He makes no attempt at discretion and does this directly in front of me, directly at the bar.

So I calmly walk around the bar and ask the girls for their ID's. They of course can't produce 21+ ID's so I have to take away their full drinks and kick them and the guy who bought the drinks out. I admit it was a little cold-blooded because I could've easily just not sold him the drinks.

I closed up the bar around 1 AM and walked over to the U of R party. I saw the guy I booted out and ended up buying him a drink. Besides, who am I to punish this poor kid when all he was doing was trying to get some underage sorority girls to drink and make bad decisions??? Instead of being a dick, I should have been applauding his entrepreneurial spirit and assisting him in his efforts.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Toxic Bartender

*At the pace I'm going, this is me in 4 years. Well, it's me if I was a small Asian man.

Health professionals recommend having a glass of wine or one alcoholic beverage every day or so. They don't recommend 4 sugar-free Red Bull Vodkas and three shots of Tuaca every night, and I'm starting to see why that is.

I realized that for the past five days I've either been steadily drinking during my shift, or going out afterwards and getting blasted at another bar. My body still feels strong but my head is a little foggy today and I'm sort of sluggish (although I'm only about 7 hours into my usual 11 hours of sleep). I've always been a binge drinker and in between my bouts I take many days off, so this steady "progression drinking" is beginning to take it's toll.

If I'm going to begin my professional poker career in Atlantic City on Sunday, I need to sober up and regain my senses.

Note: I don't actually drink behind the bar while I'm working, because that of course is against ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) regulations, and I would NEVER break an ABC regulation... wink wink

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bartender Insider: What's In That Free Shot?

We have a DJ who likes for people to dance on the bar. Almost everytime she DJ's she will inevitably get on the mic and say something along the lines of, "If you get up on the bar for this next song, then my bartender Jack will make you a free muthafuckin' shot!" So of course every water-buffalo in the joint comes stampeding for the bar and asking me for their shot as they gyrate to whatever Lil Wayne song is hot at the moment .

When this happens my first thought is that I want to curl up in the fetal position in the walk-in cooler and start crying, all the while wondering about what wrong turns I've taken in life to deserve this. My second thought is, fuck, I gotta go make 30 shots now.

So lately I'll just grab an empty beer pitcher, dump a shit ton of triple sec in and then fill the rest with cranberry juice. Then I make one of the other bartenders line up 30 shot cups and fill them with my alcohol-free shots, and pass them out to whomever is on the bar. People see a red shot, they taste the sting of the triple sec and they're satisfied knowing that they just got a little bit drunker, which is not actually the case.

Sure, I'm sort of cheating customers out of a hard-earned, alcohol laced shot. But it's fair because half of the customers slowly cheat me out of my will to live on a nightly basis, so I just call it even.

This post came off as a tad cynical and it's only because tonight was just one of those nights where I wished I hadn't gotten out of bed at 2 PM for work. 98 percent of the time, I love what I do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Strange Starbucks Encounter

A semi-cute, vaguely familiar girl came up to me at Starbucks today. I was slouched in one of their plush chairs, reading a book and blasting my ipod. She sort of stands in front of me for a few seconds and finally I take off my ipod to see what she wants.

Her: Do you bartend at (bar name redacted) ?

Me: Yep.

Her: Oh I thought it was you. I was in there Friday night, you made me shots.

Me: Oh okay. I apologize for not recognizing you, but as you could see, we were slammed that night.

Her: It's okay. My name is blah blah blah.

Me: I'm Jack.

At this point the conversation trails off and I continute listening to music and reading. She starts to walk away but out of the corner of my eye I see her coming back...

Her: I just have one more question. Do you write a blog?

Me: (smiling) Uhhh, yeah, I do.

Her: So your Jack Goes Forth?

Me: (Shaking my head yes)

Her: Are you really a big a whore as you claim to be?

Me: Haha, no, it's just a persona. I'm actually very different from my blog.... Unless of course you're into man-whores, cause if thats the case, then yeah, I'm pretty slutty.

(We smile. Laugh. Etc.)

Her: Well here, take this. (She hands me a folded up piece of paper).

She gave me her number, but that's not why I blogged about it. I wrote about this because this sort of thing happens a lot, usually in one of my bars, where a girl or guy will sit in front of me for hours without saying anything, and finally they'll ask me if I'm Jack Goes Forth. I guess I should be flattered, or creeped out... either way, my blogmentor once prophesized to me that my blog would get me laid. I laughed at first, but now I'm starting to think that the prophecy will be fulfilled. Of course I would never use my blog or my job to get laid... cause, well, I'm totally into relationships and monogamy and all that crap.

A Day Date Goes Wrong

A Labor Day, day date. We begin by leisurely walking down Cary St, talking and enjoying the weather. Stops include Plan 9 music for some used CD's, Bevs for a root beer float and Shirt Fresh to see a friend. After awhile we decide to take all back alleys (strangely enough, the date and I really like exploring alleys) to cross the fan over to Monument Avenue. On Monument we decide that one drink is in order, so we stop at Banditos.

We get a beer and then we notice a poster advertising 5 dollar pitchers on Mondays, so we get one of those too. Next thing I know we're 4 Sauza Tequila shots and 2 Orange Crush shots deep, 4 pitchers in, and I've somehow enlisted a gay couple to explain the merits of anal sex to my date, who, after making new best friends with the gay dudes, was still not convinced that she wanted that orifice penetrated. Meanwhile the gay guys can't keep their hands off of me and I keep meandering over to the servers station to flirt with one of the waitresses who I also work with at another restaurant. So the night turned into a trainwreck, with the date and I possibly having sex and then getting into a fight, and then getting pizza I think...Although I'm not sure if it was all in that order. Somehow the gay guys got my number and kept calling all night too.

I shouldn't mix drinking and dating. I just can't control what's going to come out of my mouth when I've had 8 beers and 5 shots.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Another Excuse Not To Get A Real Job

For the past 5 years or so I've really been into Poker. Online games, Atlantic City live games, drunken house games, adderall'd up playing til 11 in the morning games, etc... Wherever there is a game, pending my current monetary situation, I'll usually join in. I've studied the game, talked the game, read the books, taken decent sized losses, taken decent sized wins... I know poker as well as the next internet geek.

So this past Sunday, after a 6 month hiatus, I delved back into the world of online poker out of sheer boredom. I then managed to take down a pretty big score in a major tourney held on Poker Stars (the biggest online poker site), and it made me realize a few things:

1. I can now afford my next tattoo (Yeah, I earmark poker winnings for things I absolutely don't need... A new tattoo, booze, clothes, random BS). Lets just say that financial planning isn't one of my strong points.

2. I'm still sick as ever at poker.

3. I could possibly build up a bankroll and turn poker into a profitable side gig. Profitable meaning a few hundred dollars every few weeks or so.

Number 3 has me thinking that with my off the wall schedule and complete lack of responsibility, I have time to experiment in that arena.

So I've decided to take a day trip to Atlantic City in two weeks and then document my wins, losses, time spent playing, driving, and everything else. I'll only play poker, and by "play", I mean I'll grind my fucking ass off (any real poker player knows what "grind" means). My car can get to AC and back on one tank of gas, so my overhead will be low and as long as I stay sober and focus on playing how I'm capable of playing, I should be able to come out in the positive for a minimum of one hundred dollars. Not a lot of money, I know, but I'd be doing something I love to do and who knows??? Maybe I could build a bankroll and end up making some real money. I just need to avoid the casino floor and the free drinks. If this trip is even remotely successful then I'll probably plan on taking a trip every one to two weeks on my off days (usually Sun/Mon).

Besides, "full-time bartender, part-time poker pro" sounds better than "full-time bartender, part-time blogger". Bloggers may get laid in DC, but here in Richmond? Well...Girls don't really want to get blogged about after they sleep with a guy. Weird huh?