Tales from an honestly sober bartender

It’s funny what you see while watching drunk people, especially when you’re sober… and the one behind the bar.

When people don’t think anyone’s watching they do fascinating things. When people don’t think they’re being watched and also have the liquid confidence of alcohol to push them along, they do even more fascinating things.

Married woman seeking affair

During a usual Saturday night my co-worker found himself outside on smoke break, he didn’t expect it to be interrupted by a gorgeous woman in her mid-forties. As she approached him, he chirped up tossing away the disgruntled hospitality worker persona.

With her hands all over him, she asked him what his name was. “My name’s Jake, what about you?” He then noticed she was sniffling not from the cold, but as though she’d been crying. He asked her if she was okay, and she explained that she’d been “fighting with her fiancé”. He grabbed her adventurously placed hands and quickly moved them off him, and tried to escape her, but it didn’t work.

“Please will you make me feel better?” she begged.

“I can give you a drink if you come inside?” he sheepishly remarked. He had just realised her fiancé happened to be the 6’4” muscular, tattooed man he’d noticed inside the bar.

“No, I mean… Come home with me, and fuck me,” she said.

He laughed nervously “I’m not going to do that, your partner’s inside and it’s wrong… now come on please stop, I’ve got to go back inside.”

“Please, just come home with me right now.”

“I’m not doing that and stop-,” he swiped her hands off him again, while fearfully watching out for her hulk of a fiancé. “I’m not going home with you, just go back inside and work things out with him.”

A friendships in flames

As soon as the two friends, soon to be ex-best friends, greeted each other they came straight to the bar to order chardonnay and double tequila, requesting several more afterwards. Maybe they were up for a large Wednesday night? I later realised this was to calm their nerves for the oncoming storm.

They sat talking for over five hours standoffish-ly, until eventually I had to ask them to leave, as we were closing the bar. There didn’t seem to be any issues, until I went outside about 15 minutes later and found they hadn’t gotten into their cars to leave, but instead were in a screaming match like nothing I’ve ever heard.

“Why did you hang up on me while you were staying in Canberra?”

“You tried to tell me that my husband hit you!”

“I seriously can’t trust a word you say anymore, not after last time.”

“We’ve been friends for over 25 years… and you fuck it up”

“Oh fuck you!”

I had to walk right through them to get to my car. Experiencing major secondhand awkwardness, I decided to run to my car instead.

The death threat

It was nearing the end of a long night and I was cleaning up around the bar, picking up glasses. I went back to serving as usual, and a man I’d cut off from drinking about 20 minutes earlier comes over, slams his fist on the bar and yells, “Where the fuck is my bottle of wine? Someone’s taken it, and I want another one, right now.”

This missing bottle of wine caused him to be visibly shaking with fury, and that’s when I look over to his table and realise, I was the cause of his anger, I took his wine. “Yeah look I came over to your table and thought you’d headed off, the place was a mess so I didn’t know what was being used.” He’s not impressed.

“… and the bottle had about one glass left in it, at best two. But I’ll get that for you.” He seems satisfied with that response and walks off, and I think it’s been resolved with my masterful diplomacy skills, well I was wrong. He does a quick one 180 and storms back over, “NO, I want my fucking bottle back, I paid $40 for it and it was shit wine at that so you’re gonna get it for me.”

“With the way you’re speaking to me I’m not getting you anything right now,” the audacity of some people when they’re drunk always astounds me. This is when he leans so close over the bar that I could smell the bourbon on his breath, “Look, if you don’t get me my fucking wine, me and my mates are gonna tear this joint to the ground with you in it.”
This is when time froze for me as he jumped the bar in a rage, as if that was going to somehow get his wine back, to follow through with that threat. Luckily security “escorted” him out.

Words by Nicolas Zoumboulis

IG – @niczoumthelabel

Art by Rochello Oh

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