Archive for March, 2011

05
Mar
11

The Perfect Bar

In the t.v. show Cheers, Cheers was described as the perfect bar. In the theme song there was a line that said “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” And that pretty much sums it up. The perfect bar is one where you feel comfortable, where when you go there the staff makes you feel welcome, and you enjoy your time. But man, this is getting harder and harder to find these days.

I never really went to a bar until I was about twenty-four. When I turned twenty one I did go out for my birthday and had a few drinks, but for the most part I never went to a bar, or drank heavily. I found the idea kind of repugnant honestly. Then when I was twenty four I started working a 7 to 3 shift at a gas station in Fort Worth, and when I got off of work I was always looking for something to do. I didn’t want to go home and I was usually hungry so I started going to the local Applebee’s and ordering an appetizer with a beer, usually a Corona. The bartender there was a real friendly guy, a very outgoing person who made great drinks. Over time I got to the point where I really looked forward to going over there after work. And the more I enjoyed myself the longer I would stay and the more I would drink. All questions of morality and safe drinking aside, this is the way a good bar should be. You shouldn’t want to leave, and you should always look forward to coming back.

In Europe people drink heavily, but there isn’t the stigma attached to it the way there is in America. People go to the local pub after work and drink and they are generally more sociable and intelligent than over here. In America people go to the bar either to get fucked up, or to meet someone to “hook up” with. It is a very different atmosphere. If you go to a bar in America just to drink and hang out you are sometimes looked at funny, like ‘what’s that guy doing here?” It is sad really, because all the bars are geared towards the wrong kind of people. So with that in mind I will describe my perfect bar.

1) No loud music, except on the weekends.

I have no idea why all the bars and clubs nowdays play music at ridiculous, ear-shattering levels, but they do. On Friday and Saturday night I am okay with this, because I know people go out with their date and want to dance, but some places, even on a Wednesday afternoon have the music blasting loud enough for a heavy metal concert. If you just want to relax and have a drink it is hardly the atmosphere for it. Even places where there is no dance floor have their music super loud nowdays. It’s like the music is there to symbolize how cool their club is. It is hard to have a good time or a good conversation when the music takes center stage.

2) Friendly staff

I go to the same bar frequently. Most of the staff there knows me by name, and knows what I like to drink. Sometimes when I walk in the door they immediately get my drink ready. This is the way it should be. But some bartenders and waiters couldn’t be bothered. Every time they see you they don’t remember you or what you like. I usually order the same damn thing every time, but I know of at least one bartender who never remembers this. If you want a surefire way not to make a tip, behave this way. It is also great to make small talk and get to know your clientele. Not only does this increase the friendly atmosphere of the club, but it allows you to know what type of person you are dealing with, do they get drunk easily?, are they violent?, rude, etc. The better you know your customers, the better control you have over your bar.

3) Throw out drunks, assholes

Every bar has a few drunks/assholes. Sometimes they are one and the same, actually they are usually one and the same. I was at a bar recently where an individual was cussing at the staff, throwing things at another customer, and trying to start a fight with someone he didn’t like that was sitting at the bar. He was obviously plastered out of his mind, but not only did the staff not kick him out, but they treated him like a friend because he knew the bartender. If you want people to leave your bar and never come back please keep people like this happy. You should cut off anyone that gets too drunk, but if you don’t catch it in time, and someone gets drunk and causes a scene, you should call them a cab, or call them the police. The sooner, the better. This one seems pretty obvious, but some bars don’t get it.

4) Have regular drink specials

I don’t know why bars have all these bizarre drink specials. “$2, you-call-it-Tuesdays” , “$3-Corona-Wednesday’s”, etc. Not only on different days, but at different hours. Like sometimes they have a special, but it’s only from five to seven, or nine to eleven. You almost need a damn flow-chart to order a drink. I understand why bars have specials, it is the same reasons restaurants have specials, it is to get people in at slow times. But in addition to the specials, all bars should have one or two drinks that are always on special. At least one draft beer, and one well drink. There is nothing more frustrating than going to a bar on one day and getting one price, and going the next day and getting a different price. Pick a special and stick with it. Eventually you will get known for it and business will pick up.

5) Have an event

The best bars I have gone to always have something going on. Bars should have something going on every night they are open. It doesn’t matter if its a pool tournament, a poker tournament, karaoke, whatever. One bar I went to used to have a bikini car wash on Sunday’s, and they would give out free crawlfish, and ten dollar buckets. That bar had the busiest Sunday of any in the area. People like to feel like they are a part of something special, like they picked the right night to go. After all, if a bar isn’t a cool place to be, why not stay home and drink? Have a daily event and a daily special and advertise it on a big sign when you come in. Don’t be surprised if business picks up.

Well, that is all for now. Hopefully someone will read this and create the perfect bar. If so, you can count on my business.

Sincerely,

Jack B.