Monthly Archives: May 2016


I’m bartending a private party backstage at Noce, kid comes up, says to me, with a 10 year-old’s version of a British accent, aye CHUMP, I’d like a Pepsi.

What did this kid just say to me?  Chump?

I say, you don’t say that to someone.  It’s not a complimentary term.

I say it like you’d imagine John Malkovich would say it, right before he kills you.

He looks down, starts stammering, uh…um…sorry, I…

I go get him a can of Pepsi, crack it open, and when I do, it sprays all over his face.

I set it down, and say,

There you go.  Chump.

(ok.  it didn’t spay him, and I didn’t say that, but it would’ve been awesome if I did).


We Do Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs

Tonight at Noce we have SALSA!  Kind of random I know for a jazz club, but it always turns out pretty cool, and successful.  They’ve been playing once a month recently.  It’s not for everyone, but if you like that type of music, and getting your groove on, you should check it out.  We clear the front tables, give some room for the dancing.  I’ll be behind the bar shaking up the Mojitos.  Come if you dare.

Tomorrow night, band cancelled last minute, so Max Wellman is going to fill in with his band.  I’ll be in the backstage area, bartending a Bar Mitzvah.  Yes!!!  I’ve ALWAYS wanted to say that.  That’s like a thing I say.  Yes, we do weddings, Bar Mitzvahs.  It’s just a fun thing to say, don’t you think?  I’ve always wanted to go to a Bar Mitzvah, and here I will be bartending one.  A small dream come true.

I had lunch today with my old boss Amedeo Rossi of the Vaudeville Mews/Lift/80/35.  He’s such a great guy.  If you ever have a chance to have lunch with Amedeo Rossi, you should jump at the chance.  Totally made my day.

Hey do you know why headrests are detachable?  I just found this out.  I mean, who ever positions those things?  And do you really need them in the back?  Well, next time you’ve found yourself in a lake, water surrounding you, can’t open the doors or windows, grab your headrest, pull it out, and then, with the two spikes, break your window with it.

Hey, maybe with this post, I might someday save a life.



Two Todd Long’s

When someone starts a tab at the club, they give us a card, and we keep it in a Rolodex type case behind the bar.  We organize them under last names.  Your last name is Jones, we put it in the J section.  It seems to be working out ok thus far.  You ready for your tab?  We find your card in the Rolodex, run it through the Square system, give you your card, and receipt back to you.  Pretty simple.  I was at a bar recently where I gave them my card to start a tab, they ran it into their POS system, and gave it back to me, before I settled up.  I thought that was pretty cool.  We’re not there yet at Noce.  Those systems cost like 50 grand.  Baby steps.

In the past, I’ve made mistakes with people’s cards.  It happens.  You run the wrong card, get in a hurry.  It’s a pretty easy fix.  I go into the system, void the charge, no big deal.  Every once in a while I give the wrong card to the wrong person.  That always sucks.  Especially if they take off with it.  Oh yeah, you know your card you gave me, Mr. Jeff Bridges?  I gave your card to Joe Bridges.  My bad.  Let me go kill myself now, I’ll be right back.

Last night, my cocktail server approaches me, says, I ran the wrong card.  She’s got the card in her hand, so not a big catastrophe.  I say, ok.  Let’s void it out.  She says, ok.  I had two tabs with the same name.  What?  Yeah, two Todd Long’s.  Woah.  What are the odds of that happening?

Think about that for a second.  Not just the same last name.  That happens.  Smith.  Anderson.  BUT THE SAME ENTIRE NAME.

I let her off the hook on that one.  That’s unprecedented.

The Birthday Cake

If you’ve ever read one of my stories, you’ll know that there are a few things I don’t talk about.  One of them is tipping.  I think it’s uncouth and unprofessional to talk about it.  It’s something to be appreciated when it comes to you, and when it doesn’t, you should keep your feelings about it to yourself, or your fellow bartender.  With that said,

I’m going to tell a story about tipping.

There’s a guy who comes into the bar that doesn’t tip.  He doesn’t tip, he’s NEVER tipped.  Not once.  I have probably served him over the past five months 30 times.  And he has never tipped me a cent.  Ok, what’s the big deal?  Guess what?  There are people in the world who tip (which I prefer), and there are people that don’t tip (which I do not).  Guess what what?  At the end of the day, it all usually evens out.  You’ve got your tippers, thanks for that.  You’ve got your BIG tippers, thanks again.  And then sometimes, you have people that still don’t understand the concept of tipping.  I get it, I really do.  Maybe you grew up really poor, and you just can’t comprehend the concept of giving extra money to some shmuck behind the bar.  I mean, what’s he doing that the guy at McDonald’s is not doing?  I don’t have to tip him for some fries, do I?  This guy just cracked open a beer, big whoop!  And you expect me to give him A WHOLE DOLLAR?!?  No WAY!  So yeah, it depends on where you’re from, how you were raised, your experience.  I GUARANTEE, if you’ve worked for tips in the service industry at any time in your life, you’ll have a different take on tipping, in comparison to someone that has not.  It’s experience.  And I’m fine WITH ALL THAT because I see the big picture on things.  This guy doesn’t tip, but this woman over here just tipped 50%.  All good.

But here’s the problem, with this one guy in particular.

He’s a musician, and gets half-off his drinks.

Let’s clear the air here once and for all.  If you ever get a discount on your drinks for whatever reason, it’s good advice to tip.  Now if you want to get specific, you should tip at least 20% on how much your tab should’ve been if it hadn’t been discounted.  But, you know what?  Do your best.  You don’t need to get ridiculous here.  Let your conscience be your guide.

And I’m going to tell you this.  Most musicians get it.  They really do.  I’ve been bartending for musicians for 13 years now, and I’d say, 89% of them get it.  And they’re usually extremely generous.  This guy I’m talking about is an exception.  An OUTLIER.  But I just gotta tell the story.

And I’ve tried EVERYTHING with the guy.  I mean, I pour it on thick.  Oh man, loved your solo tonight.  Wow, you look good in that suit, etcetera etcetera.  It’s almost like a huge challenge for me.  My goal:  TO GET A DOLLAR FROM THIS GUY.  One.  And let me reiterate.  I’ve served him 30 times, he’s playing the club I work in, he gets half-off for playing, and…

No tip.

It’s April 6th, my birthday.  Whoop-dee-doo.  My wife is awesome, I’m working, she brings in a birthday cake, she invites a few of my friends to come in.  Great night.  I’m passing around cake to my friends, my kids, and a few of my favorite customers.  I hope you see where this is going.

The no tipper guy comes up to the bar.  Here’s my chance, I’m going to go for broke, if there was ever a chance to get a measly dollar off of this guy, tonight’s the night.  It’s my BIRTHDAY.

Hey man, sounding great tonight.  Oh, thanks, really appreciate it.  What can I get you?  Hmmm….  I think I’ll have Moscow Mule.

I say, absolutely.  And you know what?  Tonight’s my birthday (I say, mock-sheepishly).  My wife brought me in some cake.  I would really LOVE IT if you would have a piece of my cake.

He says, Really?  Oh, that’s awesome.  Thank you.  I will!  I say, great, man.  I’ll get that Moscow Mule for you.

Oh this dollar is mine, baby.  There is NO WAY this guy is not going to tip me.  It’s inconceivable!  The BARTENDER is GIVING YOU a SLICE of his BIRTHDAY CAKE.  That’s HUGE!!!!!  You just got to throw the bartender a tip for that.

I make the Moscow Mule.  And I really put a lot of love in it, too, making it just right.  Get the copper cup out, the Tito’s vodka, crack open a brand new bottle of Ginger Beer, just the right amount of Rose’s Lime, and a freshly cut lime slice on the side.

Here you go, my friend.  He says, thanks!  And Happy Birthday.

And then gives me




I watch him walk over gingerly to my birthday cake, cut a big fat slice for himself, and with a big smile, take a pleasurable bite out of it.

And all I can think of is.  If there is justice in this world, there is a special place in the 9th Gates of Hell for this guy who would not tip a dollar to the bartender on his birthday,

And eat his birthday cake.


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Can I Pour It For You?

I’m behind the bar, it’s busy.  The thing about Noce is, everyone comes in at once.  Boom.  We go from two people in the house, to 90 people in the house, in a span of four minutes.  They all sit down, then they want a drink NOW.  I’ve got cocktail servers out there rocking it, and I’ve got customers at the bar in front of me.  I’m taking the customer’s orders, and I’m taking the cocktail server’s orders.  It gets hectic.

I approach a woman at the bar, what can I get you?  She says, with what I want to say is a German accent, I vahnt a Budveiser.  Excellent.  I can do that RIGHT NOW.  I run, get the Bud, pop it open, put it in front of her.  I’ve got the bar lined up with customers, I’ve got orders coming in.  She says, I VAHNT a glass.  Ok, let’s get her a glass.  Usually, I offer the glass when someone asks for a bottle of beer.  We’re classy like that.  But a Bud can go either way.  It’s not the classiest of all the beers.  But, sure, absolutely, let’s get this woman a glass for her beer.

I get her the pint glass, go back to her, her back is to me.  USUALLY I then will ask, would you like me to pour it for you?  Again, with the class.  But I’m in a bit of a hurry here.  I’m going to ASSUME, hey, she asks for a glass, she wants the beer in it.  Her back is turned, why don’t I save the 3.5 seconds it takes to ask the question, and just go for it?  So I grab her beer, and pour it oh so professionally in her glass.

I set it down, go help another customer.

A minute later German lady waves me over as I’m working an order for a cocktail server.  Huh.  What now?  I go to her.  Yes, what can I help you with?  The music has begun, so she leans in, and says, sharply,

Do you always pour in zee beer when they ask for a glass?

Ok.  Here we go.

I say, I’m sorry…I’m pretty busy right now.  Usually I do ask, but I assumed you asked for a glass, you wanted me to pour the beer in it for you.

She says, no.

I DID NOT want you to pour the beer in my glass.  I want to pour zee beer in my glass myself.

I take a second to breathe.  In.  Out.

I’m sorry, I just assumed…

She is staring me down with what seems close to anger.


I look around.  Still, yeah, crazy busy.  The tickets are multiplying.  The customers at the bar are growing impatient.


I grab the full glass of beer, put it down by the sink.  I go grab a new Budweiser, a glass, set them down.

I say, with as much magnanimity as I can muster,

I do apologize for that.  I should’ve asked.

She nods.  Yes.  I should have.

I watch her during the course of the night.  She pours two fingers of the beer in the pint glass, then lets it sit.  Then she drinks it.  She waits, then pours another two fingers of beer, lets it sit, drinks, and so on, and so forth.

And I learned a very important lesson from this woman.  NEVER pour zee beer before you ask if they want zee beer poured.

A Bunch Of Whiskeys

It’s Friday night at Noce.  A chill night, not too crowded, we’ve got a sax player from Chicago on stage tearing it up.  At around 7:30pm, we decide to cut one of the cocktail servers.  Usually it’s me behind the bar, and two cocktail servers working the tables.  Tonight, there’s just not enough people to warrant two cocktail servers, and one of my servers doesn’t mind being cut.

The server I cut is an awesome girl.  I’ve known her for years, I met her over 10 years ago, she dated a friend of mine.  Her name is Kiki.  She’s had her journey in life, and is now settling down a bit with a growing family.  She actually just had a kid, and seems to be a great mom.  She’ll be with her kids all week, come into work, and then show me pictures of said kids.  Look at this one, Clint.  Oh, look at this one.  She’s a proud mama.

Kiki, in her past life, loved to party.  She’s always been a lot of fun, kinda crazy, but now she seems devoted to raising her kids right.  Since she’s worked, she’s never had anything to drink.  Of course, you’re pregnant, you stop drinking, but I’d love to see her cut loose a bit now that’s she’s had the kid.  At the end of shifts, I ask her, you want a drink?  She’s declined.

But tonight, after she’s cut, she says, I think I’ll have a drink.  I’m like, awesome!  What can I make you?  She says, um…  I think I’ll have a Templeton Kicker.  She goes to sit at the bar, I pour her a nice, strong drink.  Emphasis on strong.  She deserves it!  She’s been an amazing worker at Noce so far, and I’m happy to see her be able to relax with a drink.

She’s told me in the past that her boyfriend wants to be the first person she goes out with for a drink post-baby.  His name is Jake.  I haven’t met him yet, but seems to be a cool dude from what I’ve heard.  She’s sitting at the bar, enjoying her drink, but I can tell she’s feeling guilty that she’s not drinking with him.  C’mon, girl.  You can go out with him anytime.  Enjoy your drink!

She finishes her drink after about 40 minutes, I go up, and say, how ‘bout one more drink?  She says, Jake’s going to kill me!  She’s cute, worrying about him.  Maybe I’m a terrible influence.  I say, nah.  You can have one more.  She semi-reluctantly says, ok.  I’ll have one more.  I say, great!  I make her another one, this time not semi-strong, this one straight up strong.  Oh I’m a terrible person.  Hey, my friend just had a kid, she’s been good for a year.  She can have another one.

The night goes on, really great music.  Talent on stage!  This place Noce is cool.

About half-hour later, there’s Kiki, her glass is empty.  I go to her.  How about another one?  She says, NO!!!  I’m DRUNK!!!  Oh that’s awesome.  She says, what am I going to tell Jake?  I say, just tell him the truth!  You got off work early, you had a couple drinks, no big deal.  She says, NO, I CAN’T!!!  Then she says, maybe I’ll just tell him I tripped,

And fell on a bunch of whiskeys.




I heard a phrase tonight at the bar that just slayed me.  It’s, just don’t make a habit of it.  So hilarious.  Oh, I shouldn’t make a habit of it?  It’s like, oh you’re being so cool right now, you’re going to let me off the hook THIS TIME, you’re not going to hold it against me, as long as I DON’T MAKE A HABIT OF IT.  Oh, you’re so cool, thank you so much for letting me get by this time, because you know, now that you said it, and it’s come to my attention, what I just did, I won’t do it again.  Because if I do it again, and again and again, it might, oh wait, BECOME A HABIT.  Then it will definitely BE BAD.  I know, I know, it’s ok just now, it’s NO BIG DEAL, you’re being really cool about it, I mean, you’re showing me how cool you’re being by telling me that I can get away with it this time, as long as I don’t make a habit of it.

It’s one of those dumb things adults say, isn’t it?  I think whenever I’ve said it it’s been tongue and cheek.  I think I’ve used it on the wife.  Ok, it’s fine you left the visor down in the car, no big deal, just please,


Who Covered The Graffiti?

Couple months ago, I get into Noce, and someone has graffitied all over the outside wall.  Red paint.  I’m like, what’s up, man?  Why you gotta go doin’ that?  I get in, talk to Max the GM about it.  The bosses have seen it.  They’re not happy.  It really stands out too.  The wall color is black.  Well…  maybe not black, but a really dark grey.  So imagine someone comes up with a red spray paint can, makes a cute design.  Right in the middle of the wall.  And it wasn’t Banksy, unfortunately.

Weeks go by, nobody does anything about it.  As I drive by on my way to my parking space, I think, I’m just gonna get a can of paint, a paintbrush, and just do it.  Take 10 minutes.  But I’m busy, like everybody else is, and so it just sits there looking dumb.  I kinda just forget about it.  Maybe hoping someone else in the crew will deal with it.  But nope.  Not high on the priority list.

Two days ago, I get to work, there’s a guy outside, with a spray paint can, covering the graffiti.  Finally!  Someone dealing with it.  I would’ve gotten around to it at some point.  But it was nice to see someone taking the bull by the horns, and covering up the tag.

But you know it’s weird, I’ve never seen this guy before.  Who is this?  Maybe some guy the bosses or Max hired?  He looks in his forties.  He’s really taking his time on it too.  But something doesn’t seem right.  Why is he just using a spray paint can?  I think some paint would probably be better.  Whatever.  One last thing I have to worry about, so check that off the list.

Today, before the show, I’m sitting with Max, and one of the owners, we’re talking about this and that.  Max says, did you see someone painted over the graffiti?  I say, yeah.  I saw the guy that did it.  That wasn’t some guy you hired?

They both look at me, shake their heads, and start laughing.