The Frownin’ Wanker

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The last time I was in my hometown in California, we made the obligatory visit to my hometown bar. It’s a British pub located downtown, and although it’s changed a lot over the years, I always make sure I stop in every time I’m home. It’s a solid little hometown pub where everyone knows you, no matter how long it’s been since you were last in. My sister even worked there for a few years when she was in college.

So we stopped in for a beer after a three-hour drive from San Francisco, over the mountains in the rain, et cetera, et cetera. We were jittery and in desperate need of a pint. It was a Sunday, so although there were a few post-game fans in there, the bar was very manageable.

We stood at the bar and waited for the bartender to notice us. Being a bartender myself, I always wait patiently with my order ready and my money organized. So we waited. And waited. And waited. And at about minute ten, my companion leans over to me and whispers, “This guy’s taking forever. Is he drunk?”

He wasn’t drunk. He was shit-faced.

When he finally did make it around our side of the bar at minute fifteen, he glared at us and yelled, “Jesus Chrissss…. whaddya want? Fuuuuhhk…”

“A pint of Stella Artois and a pint of Bass, please.”


He came back with our beers and snarled, “Ten dollars”

I laid a twenty on the bar. “Keep the change.” And we walked off to enjoy our beers as far from our barkeep as possible. Once we were done, we left for another British pub up the street, where the bartenders were professional – and sober.

Now, I’ve been a little inebriated behind the bar once. Once. I didn’t enjoy it. I was tired and would have rather been anywhere but behind the bar. Not to mention the fact that it’s illegal for bartenders to consume any alcohol behind the bar in Oregon. But this kid looked like he’d been doing it for a while, possibly thanks to California’s relaxed server laws.

Folks, I don’t care either way if you’re going to drink behind the bar. But, for the love of all that is holy, if you can’t handle your alcohol, stay sober behind the bar. Not only did this drunken asshole miss out on some good customers and some great cash, he’s going to miss out every time I’m in town.

Come across any drunken bartenders in your town? Leave your stories in the comments below.

3 Replies to “The Frownin’ Wanker”

  • P.S.BarChick says:

    I work at a neighborhood bar, where the regular patrons often enjoy buying the staff a drink. I do indulge from time to time, but always carefully! Not only to maintain sobriety, but also because you never know who might be watching! Off-duty cops are among our regulars, and you never know when the ABC or health dept is on the prowl! They often go plain-clothed, at night or on weekends to places looking for violations. Didn’t know CA had relaxed server laws!
    I’m sure that guy will get himself fired soon!

  • canary says:

    Not a drunken bartender, but i well recall at one place in town, a new guy was so far gone on speed or crank it was ridiculous. I think there were 5 customers at the small restaurant bar, and while he introduced himself to us about 20 times in 5 minutes, it took close to a half hour for him to serve any drinks. Not that he was standing idle. Oh no, he was shaking and mixing and sloshing and spilling and rambling nonstop. He was jumping, rapping, you name it. If nothing else it was entertaining it’s in own fashion.

    What i see more frequently are owners or bartenders who are off the clock drinking it up at their bar. It’s great – not a problem at all – until they decide to “help out” the person tending bar and end up causing more apparent chaos than help. Or when they serve themselves, sliding to the other side of the bar over & over. As a customer, it appears unprofessional and sloppy.

  • your little sister says:

    I’ve TOTALLY seen you drunk behind the bar at mom and dad’s house…

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