Category Archives: Bunny Walker's Corner

Bunny Walker–I’ll Tell You Where You Can Put That Lemon

Bunny Walker’s Corner

Last Call:  I’ll Tell You Where You Can Put That Lemon

(Bunny Walker is an incognito, verbally vicious, veteran drink slinger.  Her rants appear regularly on this blog.  Currently Bunny is doing what rabbits do best:  She is having a baby!  Next week she moves to Alaska to prepare for the birth of the arctic baby bunny.  If you are in Key West and you’d like to tell her goodbye, good luck or good riddance, her going away party is all day Saturday April 17th on the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor.)

Yesterday was my last day bartending, hopefully EVER.  I’m leaving the service industry for what seems like the least likely career path as of yet:  Motherhood!

I’m sure I’ll miss some aspects of the job, like being a high school dropout and making more money annually than a high school teacher for example.  But for right now all I truly feel is gratitude; gratitude for my life partner, Erick, for his strength and grace, and gratitude for saving me from bitter hatred towards other human beings.  After too many years of waiting on them, I was dangerously close.

Top 10 Things I Won’t Miss About U.T.I. SuckAlots*

(Name of establishment altered, t shirt not available on Amazon.)

1.          The uniform.  Although I understand that other U.T.I. SucksAlots locations are not all on tropical islands, I don’t understand why an exception couldn’t be made for their chains in steamier locales.  Black poly-blend slacks in eighty five degree weather?  Monkey-butt?  Swamp ass?  You betcha!!!!

2.          Mayonnaise on the backs of my knuckles.  (Gag!)

3.          Being irritated with foreigners instead of intrigued.  Europeans have gotten better about tipping, but it’s still a crapshoot, and outside of Europe who knows how their servers survive.  I sometimes imagine waitresses in Japan wandering the streets emaciated and causing traffic disturbances much like the cows in Calcutta.

4.          Juice drinkers that expect free refills.  Where the fuck is this magical Shangri La that’s just handing out buckets of bottomless juice?

5.          Screaming children and their exhausted parents.  Though I myself will soon enough be part of this demographic, I talked the talk, I am going to walk the walk.  My little shrieking terror will be confined to meals at home or venues that feature twisty slides and ball tanks until, oh…

6.          The birthday song.  Whose brilliant idea was this?  If you aren’t old enough to be mortified by a hoard of clapping, irate servers bellowing at you in front of a restaurant full of strangers then you are probably young enough to be so scared you shit your Osh Kosh Bigosh jumper.

7.          Mandatory staff meetings on my day off…EVERY TIME!  I’d like to see the statistics for corporate burnout related homicide, please

8.          Lemons.  Lemon for your water, lemon in your diet cola, lemon for your goddamnit-are-you-serious HOT TEA!!!!  You lemon people don’t have lemons in your drinks at home!  One more week at this restaurant and Nancy Grace on CNN would’ve been covering my trial for violence with a citrus fruit.

9.          Is your salmon fresh?  Really?  In Florida?  Fuck you.  You wouldn’t know fresh fish from liverwurst.  But that’s okay, we’re gonna cover it in so much salt and cook it so hard you won’t even remember what you ordered anyway.  So spare both of us the awkward moment where I explain to you that our salmon comes from Norway and our restaurant isn’t owned by Bruce Wayne.

10.      Bargain shoppers.  Eat.  At.  Home.  There was a lady and her son that would sit back to back at separate tables so they could both use coupons.  Restaurants are meant to be a treat.  Sons of bitches like you make it laborious for everyone.  Sincerely, I’d like to punch you in the *!%@*!.

Wow.  It feels good to leave it all behind.  I am going to absolutely smile and shine while wiping my son’s ass.  It will be a pleasure to wash spaghetti off of every conceivable surface in the house.  As long as he doesn’t ask for a lemon in his bottle.

“When to Say When” by Bunny Walker

Bunny Walker’s Corner

(Bunny Walker is an in-cognito, verbally vicious, veteran drink slinger.  Her rants appear regularly here on The Drinkslinger.  Bunny is currently doing what rabbits are best known for:  Making babies!)

March 1, 2010

When to Say When

By Bunny Walker

I came into bartending the same way many people do:  I was a stripper at a dive bar in New Jersey and the girl slinging drinks got so wasted she passed out in the dressing room.  After a brief discussion with Trixie and Raven, it was decided that I was the least high, most sober, and best candidate to replace our fallen comrade.  Changing into my street clothes so the locals wouldn’t be confused, we carried on, the girls on stage and me pouring draft beers and shots of Jack.

Bartending in a titty bar in Nowhere, New Jersey was a snap.  Bikers and construction workers don’t order martinis, margaritas or much of anything that involves a shaker.  It was probably two years before I ever  actually learned how to chill a shot.

One thing I did learn the hard way, you must always know when enough is enough.  You aren’t doing anyone a favor by over-serving them.  I learned this at the Golden Moon just as quickly as I learned my first pole trick.  The Golden Moon had low prices and low security, so we were a haven for many outlaw biker types who oftentimes would find themselves a dancer to be their “old lady”.

Tawny, so named because she once resembled Tawny Kittain, was dating a dude named Coffin.  Now I’m sure his really name was probably something like William Kowalski (and his mama called him Willy) but he was a bad little dude in a biker gang and you don’t get a nickname like Coffin for nothing.  He came in shortly after I started my shift and sat down to wait out Tawny’s entire Friday night shift which was approximately 7 hours long.  Coffin wasn’t a big man, but neither are a lot of other badass scary men:  Napoleon, Kublai Khan and Alexander the Great were all under 5’6”.  Like these legendary shorties, Coffin had a nasty demeanor to begin with and he drank Wild Turkey with Budweiser draft at a rate of about three rounds an hour.

Because I was scared of him, I kept bringing him round after round.  After he had been drinking for five hours, I decided that maybe Tawny could leave early so that I could get him out of there without having to cut him off.  I gave him his tab and he gave me a fifty and two twenties.  Lighting in scary titty bars isn’t the greatest and I thought Coffin had handed me three twenties.  I put the money in the register, went back and asked him for nine more dollars.  He told me I better get him his “fucking change” or “shit was gonna get ugly.”  As I continued to plead my case, all hell broke loose.  The first barstool missed my head by a matter of inches, catching Tawny in the shoulder.  The second barstool broke every bottle of liquor behind me before causing a barroom brawl that ended up costing me my job.

Although I don’t think I could’ve safely cut him off, I didn’t have to be right there at his beck and call every time his glass was near empty.  That would have been a wise time to risk being a “bad” bartender.

Since then, I’ve bartended in lots of places much better than The Moon.  I chill things regularly and I almost learned flair.  I’ve worked with all kinds of management, lots of mom and pop type bars and restaurants and even one family business that’s now become an empire.  An important component in bartending, is in fact, the management.  It really, really helps when they’ve got your back, especially when cutting someone off.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

One bar owner in Portland wrote me up for kicking out a “tweaker.”  I never saw a “tweaker” until i moved to Portland so for those of you cool cats that aren’t “hep to my jive”, a “tweaker” is a person who is completely whacked out on crystal meth.  Typically really skinny, dirty, covered in scabs, sweaty, twitchy, and potentially violent, they aren’t necessarily the best customers.  These are the kind of people who eke out their living stealing bottles and cans from your recycling bins in the wee hours of the morning.  You can’t leave anything outdoors you intend to keep and never leave anything in your car.  I’ve heard stories of car windows getting broken for the little cup of change many people put in the cup holder for tolls.  Upon asking one of these creatures to leave the premises after refusing to sell them a $1.50 can of Pabst I’d basically sealed my fate with Mr. Pinchpenny.  I wasn’t fired, but I was given the knowledge that it’d never be okay to cut off anyone in that place again, not even a “tweaker.”

These days I do my thing for a massive corporation.  We’ll call them “L.L. BiscuitEaters” to protect me from their identity.  I don’t really worry about cutting people off so much at this place because due to its bland and unimaginative cuisine and corny atmosphere it mostly attracts the old and the cheap, neither of which are known for gettin’ wild.  I’m sure there are benefits to working for a corporation as many such places offer health benefits and 401K’s to their full time employees, or so I’m told.  I’ve found the experience to be more akin to being a factory chicken as opposed to free-range.

This past December the front of house staff was split into two teams to compete for the highest sales.  The winning team would get to go on a sunset booze cruise while the losers would have to come in for “special cleaning.”  What the short-sighted management team hadn’t taken into consideration was that on the day of the cruise, our manpower would drop to fifty percent or less depending on either illness (Jagermeister related or not) or our incredibly high turnover rate.  So who ran the show and worked for fourteen hours so the winning staff and management could get wasted?  A woman who had had spinal surgery less than three weeks prior to the trip, and me, in my second trimester with my first child.

Somewhere around eleven hours into the shift, I watched “Spiny” fall up the stairs with a full tray of food and almost land headfirst in a trash can.  The manager on duty was more concerned about the lost food than whether or not this young lady was going to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.  I was so powerless to help and full to the brim with rage so I went into the back walk-in refrigerator and used my pocket knife to destroy a few hundred dollars worth of inventory.  As I’m slashing away at beef in bags (like some kind of goddamned cow mortuary) it occurred to me that I was losing my religion.  Rather than committing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty I was committing intentional malice with a heart full of hatred.

It was then that I decided to cut myself off.  Flagged.  Done.  I’ve had enough of this business, and certainly enough of “L.L. BiscuitEaters.”  One of the most important aspects of this job is knowing  when someone has had enough, including yourself.

“You Are What You Drink” by Bunny Walker

“You Are What You Drink”

By Bunny Walker

(Bunny Walker is an in-cognito, verbally vicious, veteran drink slinger.  Her rants appear regularly here on The Drinkslinger.  Bunny is currently doing what rabbits are best known for:  Making babies!)

Once upon a time, it was perfectly normal, almost even required for bartenders to drink while working.  My old friend, Neal and I even made a game of it at one bar where this behavior wasn’t forbidden, but rather frowned upon.  We’d see who could get closest to the owner and covertly do a shot of Jagermeister without getting caught.  I won that one, giving the old boss a hug and throwing one down over his shoulder.

This same bar also had the oldest Micros system I’ve ever seen.  Customers were represented by check numbers, and you couldn’t tag a name to them on the system, so we’d keep a notebook of tabs next to our POS.  Check 1762—Paul, for example.  During extreme high volume situations, we’d use descriptive terms.  Neal’s might read, 1224—Bodacious Ta-tas, or Jack Ass Patriots fan.  If we had a really good one we’d run over to share it.  A regular customer with a permanently startled expression on her face was named Curious Sue and it never stopped being funny.  I could see her years from now in a far flung location and still remember:  Curious Sue–Miller Lite, peppermint schnapps.

For the sake of accounting and inventory most bars stopped allowing employees to drink a long time ago and we all just have to wait until after work to get the party started.  I never really minded being a sober bartender, but you have to admit, there are some nights where a well timed shot of Rumplemintz could really save your sanity.  Sometimes it feels like you’re in the weeds for hours, or that every bottle you pick up is empty with no back up, and sometimes, it’s the customers driving you nuts.  Sure, sometimes they get really drunk and annoying, but my least favorites aren’t necessarily the drunken ones.   Here are some of the most aggravating types of customers, named after classic cocktails.

Woo-woos (vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice)

Typically found at sports bars or traveling in packs as a bachelorette party or a group of freshly 21 year-olds, the woo woos are more heard than seen.  They are perpetually in a state of screaming “WOOOOOOOO!!!” at the tops of their lungs, regardless of which team scored and regardless of the kind of bar they’re in.   I’ve even encountered woo-woos in a wine bar and in close quarters it’s all you can do to stop yourself from taking out the Chief Woo-woo (there’s always a leader) with the business end of a broken beer bottle.  Now if you find yourself having to accommodate a tribe of woo-woos, one strategy I’ve employed in the past that seems to work well is to fight fire with fire.  Eventually they will want to procure refreshment so every time they try to order, yell, “WOOOOOOO!!!!” into their face.  They may join you at first, but typically they will eventually see how exasperating this is and either stop or go somewhere more woo-woo friendly.

Duck Fart (Kahlua, Baileys, Canadian Club)

A tasty shot, but a loathsome creature, the duck fart.  I have a friend who enjoys a good smoke and I love him but brother, your cigar smells like the inside of Chewbacca’s ass.  More and more states make smoking in bars illegal as the years go by and as a former smoker, it IS inconvenient and annoying.  Now that being said, I also see how inconvenient and annoying it is for the nonsmoker.  Many a girl takes the time to shampoo her hair and don Downy fresh clothing topped off with a spritz or two of her signature scent.  Some women even coordinate their fabric softener, shampoo, lotion, and perfume to layer their scent.  Enter:  The Dragon, puffing away on what looks like a dog turd and smells just as delightful.  All that work for nothing!  They make cigar bars now, fellas, please go.    And don’t make a stink about it, either!

Pink Lady (gin, grenadine, light cream, egg white)

The counterpart to the Duck Fart:  “Girl, you gots too much perfume on!”  The Pink Lady smells like she just drank a pint of Febreze!  I don’t know if there is such a thing as too-much-perfume-bars, but at least make your way to a tiki bar or an outdoor bistro.

Pain In The Ass (rumrunner + pina colada)

Nine times out of ten, this creature is a young drinker, maybe only 21 for a few months, that tenth one—underage for sure.  The Pain In The Ass will actually order a pain in the ass and expect you to layer it.  Or there will be a six pack of them, each wanting a different flavored frozen drink, typically ordering them in a bar equipped with only one blender.  If you are foolish enough to actually accommodate these baby boozers your trouble will be rewarded the same regardless of the amount of trouble you took.  One frozen rumrunner, your tip is $1….1 rumrunner, 1 banana daiquiri, 1 margarita, your tip is $1.

NJ Turnpike (pour your beer mat into a shot glass)

No two ways about it, this character is scummy.  Rather than drink what they like, they only want what’s on special.  They want it strong, and they want it fast, and they will probably try to use an additional coupon once they get their tab, a coupon clipped from the side of a pizza box from 1984.  Be careful, NJ Turnpikes will also complain to your manager about your attitude and end up getting everything for free….and they’ll be back tomorrow for half price happy hour.

Whoever may be giving you grief, always remember that it’s only a few more hours till freedom and that it’s only a job.  Enjoy your days off to the fullest, knowing that you are something delicious too.  I myself am a Liquid Pants Remover.

Introducing Bunny Walker’s Corner

The vivacious and verbally vicious Bunny Walker has a new page on this blog.  Check out “Bunny Walker’s Corner” under Pages.