Monthly Archives: December 2013

Where’s Your Man At Tonight?

Chick comes up to me, orders a drink, I say, sure. Where’s your man at tonight? I’m buddy’s with her boyfriend. She says, I dunno, and smiles. Oh shit, here we go. The dreaded, ask a person where’s the other person they don’t know cause they just broke up….thing.

I have to admit, I like the awkwardness of the dance you have to play when they tell you subtly/not-so subtly that they’re no longer seeing the person you’ve just asked about.

I just play it dumb, as if I’m just like, ho hum huh guess they just don’t know what the person’s doing right now.  Instead of being like, ohhhh, I’m sorry. Is everything ok?

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

Free Candy

I’m behind the bar, just finished up my dinner of Jimmy John’s BLT sub, pretty delicious, but now I’ve got a hankering for some chocolate. Perfectly, we had a wedding party a couple weeks ago, and they left me three huge bags of M & M’s. By last Saturday night, we still had two jumbo bags, so I’m sure we have some left.


What is it with free candy?  I can be at the grocery store or convenience store, and have no problem with passing it by, but if it’s free?  I just devour that shit. It’s like it’s ok, well, I didn’t pay for it, so

Guilt free.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

Billy Bob

Headlining tonight’s show is a band called Guantanamo Baywatch. I love when bands add onto existing words/names to make it their own. Funny and memorable.

Girl comes up, orders a Coors Light. We get to talking, she asks, are you an actor?  I say, actually, yeah, I’ve done a bit. Yeah, she says, you look like Billy Bob Thorton. Are you Billy Bob Thorton?  I say, what?  ‘Cause I can’t really hear her very well, and I thought she just asked me if I was Billy Bob Thorton. She repeats, are you Billy Bob Thorton?  All right. I’ll play along. Why not?

Yeah, actually, I am Billy Bob Thorton, but I don’t like to tell people. It always gets me in these long conversations. Wow, she says. I thought that might be you. What are you doing in Des Moines? Well, I say, I’m actually working on a part. I play a bartender in Iowa.  I know the owner of the bar. We’re buddies from college. I’ve been here a month, getting into character. She says, that’s great!  Do you think…maybe…I could take a picture with you?

Oh shit. Do I keep up the charade?  Sure…

Yeah, why not. She comes over to the end of the bar, gets out her phone, asks the door guy if he could take our picture. He looks at me funny, I shrug my shoulders, we pose, picture taken. Well, I say, maybe you shouldn’t put that up on the Internet. I’m trying to kinda stay on the down low.

She says, I totally understand.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

Executive Decision

It’s 8:15 on a Friday night. Doors opened at 7:30. 45 minutes ago. Zero paid so far. I go chat it up with the door person. How many you think gonna come tonight? She says five, I give an optimistic seven. The shitty thing is, all of the bands are really good tonight. I heard all their soundchecks. So it would be nice if we could get a crowd, for their benefit, and ours.

Flippantly, I tell the door girl, I’m gonna make an executive decision. Let’s change the door price from seven to five bucks. For some reason, people get itchy when you charge that odd number. They’re less prone to walk away when it’s an even five. Oops…five’s an odd number, too. You get what I’m sayin though.

After about another 1/2 hour, at the end of the first band’s set, a few people show up. Yay!  We might make a little money, cover costs. I get to bartending, after awhile I look up, and there’s a good 25 people in the house. Good good. And I doubted. My bad.

Near the end of the night, I’m bartending, I check my phone for the time, huh, I got a text from the booker. And it reads as follows:

You don’t have “executive decision” of changing the price on door. You consult me first. This show is contracted. The bar will pay the difference if we go beyond cost based on your call.

Oh shit. I screwed up. I didn’t even think it would ever go down like that. At first, I was flabbergasted the door person listened to me. Who actually listens to me? I just say things with force, hoping people will buy my act that way. Sometimes it works. Tonight it did, and backfired in my face.

I respond to his text:

Sorry bout that. I was feeling desperate when there was zero people here 45 min after door. Will never happen again. And I’ll pay it out of my pocket for my mistake. Just tell me the number.

I see the booker ten minutes later. And I want to say, I love the guy dearly, and have a deep respect for him as a person and for the job he does. I go up to him, he’s at the door, counting money. I say, hey, man, I was out of line. I should have never said that. How many people came in?  He says, 29. I go grab forty bucks from my tips, and hand it to him. Is that enough?  He says, that’s more than enough.

Later on, when I’m cleaning up the bar, I’m thinking, hey, I learned a lesson tonight and it only cost me forty bucks.

I go home and sleep decent.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

Bringing Up Bottles

A guy comes up to the bar, he’s got an empty bottle in his hand, he sets it down, and orders a Busch Light. I say to him, you know, I really appreciate you bringing up your empty bottle. Most people, they leave their bottles on their table. Hey, it’s their prerogative, but if you’re coming up to the bar, bring your empty bottle.

He says, under his breath, I just don’t like my wife sittin there, countin how many I’ve had.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.


I’m chatting with the door guy, we’re talking about ‘staches. I’m like, you know, Hitler totally ruined a mustache option. Yeah, he says. Totally. You can’t go around wearing that ‘stache. People think you’re a Neo-Nazi. A racist. Sure, I’ve thought about it. Who hasn’t? Just shave your mustache on the sides just so. But no, you couldn’t possibly do that.

Then a guy walks in, mysteriously, as we’re having this conversation. He has one of those full, perfect, almost fake-looking, Burt Reynolds ‘staches.

Nice ‘stache, I say. And mean it.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

-Taking the next two days off for the holidays.  See you on Friday.


Large And In Charge

I’m bartendin, buddy of mine is at the bar, all mopey. Bummed that he hasn’t got any in awhile. I like to cheer these guys up, give em a little bit of a hard time. Keep em on their toes. I say to him. How you doin?  Livin large?  He says, tryin to. I say, I bet all the ladies say that to you when they see you. Oh my God, you’re so large. He says, I don’t know about that. And then I say, that’s when you take charge. You’re large and in charge. He says, all depressed, I try.

Well, I say. That’s all you can do.  Now chin up, and get your face out of your drink.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

That Guy

I approach this guy at the bar, he’s got this bad shiner, I say, I’d start out by asking you how you’re doin, but I can tell not great with that black eye. He goes into it. Super-charged. Yeah, I was in Colorado, a guy comes up to me, asks for a cigarette, I reach for the cigarette, and he cold cocks me, right in the eye. Check this out, he says. He shows me a picture of an X-ray of his face. See right there?  He says, pointing. It broke that part. Yeah, yeah, I say. Looks bad. So what can I get you to drink?  He orders, I make it.

Then he starts becoming that guy. Obnoxious. Butting into everybody’s conversations. Making people feel uncomfortable.

I’m talking with a customer, I’m telling them, I’ve had a rough couple weeks. I got sick for a week, stuffed up nose, sore throat, cough, got better, then got sick again a week later. That guy butts in with a, maybe you have AIDS.

He asks me to call him a cab. I always hate doing that, for the cab guy’s sake, because 9/10 they leave before the cab comes, then I have to be the asshole that tells the cabbie, sorry, guy’s gone.

I get him a cab, good way to get rid of the guy, it comes fifteen minutes later, I say, ok dude, your cab’s here. He leaves, COMES BACK FIVE MINUTES LATER. What the hell, dude?  He says, I wanted to finish my beer.

Just great.

Then he says, ten minutes later, I want to buy the whole bar a pint. Forty beers, please. Trying to be the bar’s best friend. I make an executive decision.


He leaves. Finally. But then ten minutes later, comes back. It’s my birthday, he says. I’ll take a birthday beer.

By the end of the night, I wanna punch the guy in the other eye.

And you can keep the cigarette.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.


Guy comes up to the bar, says, can you run my tab?  I say sure, grab it, run it, and as I’m waiting for the card to go through, I look at his card, and it has a small picture of him. And it looks nothing like him at all. The guy in the picture looks 250 easy, and the guy in front of me looks 160 tops.

I give him the card and his receipt, and say, man, is that you on the card?  He shakes his head yes. Then I say, did you lose a bunch of weight?  He says, yes, I did.

I give him a high-five and say, good job, man.

I always feel a glow of admiration for someone who does that.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.

Prairie Fire

A guy actually orders two Prairie Fires tonight. I’m so stoked. I love making Prairie Fires. ‘Cause they’re so disgusting. Tequila and four splashes of Tabasco sauce. It burns. And tastes horrible. The perfect shot.

I tell the guy, we don’t have Tabasco sauce, but I’m gonna run down to our other bar, and get a bottle from them. I’ll be back in three minutes. He looks at me, stunned, says, awesome. This is how much I love making Prairie Fires. I’ll go above and beyond just to see they’re faces when they take the shot. And his buddy has never had one before, doesn’t even know what’s in it, so bonus.

I jog down to our other bar, it’s busy, and ask my fellow bartender, do you have an extra bottle of Tabasco?  He checks…nope. Damnit.  I think about going to another bar on the street, begging for one, but I decide I don’t have the time. I get back, break the news to the guy. Sorry, dude. No Tabasco. And shit’s intregal for the shot. He’s bummed, I’m bummed. No Prairie Fire. He says, I’m not mad at you. Just disappointed. I promise you. You come back next time, I’ll have Tabasco sauce.

I write a note to our manager. Need Tabasco sauce.

And then I underline it.

From my heart to yours,

Clint Curtis. Bartender.