Monday, January 5, 2009

My neighborhood bartender

My BF and I headed over to Bar Pilar on Sunday afternoon for a few beers. With the doom and gloom predictions of 2009 and the end to my two week vacation from work just around the corner, a proper pint at one of my favorite DC haunts was definitely in order.

We walked in to find a handful of patrons...all of whom disappeared within an hour's time, leaving the bar all to ourselves.

Whenever I travel I love meeting and talking to the bartender at whatever local stop I find. However, there's a bit of apprehension on my part, however, when I'm at home. I know, it's totally strange but part of the reason why I love living in a city is for its anonymity. I like my neighborhood jaunts, but I've been somewhat of a social recluse when it comes to befriending the great wait staff and bartenders at some of my favorite places.

But this Sunday may have changed my mind. For nearly an hour, we got the lowdown on what it's really like to work double shifts at a busy place like Bar Pilar, deal with impatient clientele and handle the pressure of a Friday night on U Street. Pilar's bartender had also worked for years at another popular bar on 16th and U Streets....the kind of place where people stand four rows back from the bar and yell drink orders in hopes of being served within at least 30 minutes of standing in line. I found it all quite fascinating.

Dealing with people in any customer service environment is always a challenge, but restaurants aren't like Verizon stores yet their customers seem to deal with both in the same fashion at times (barking orders and demanding this, that or the other). The bartender at Pilar told us that a young woman walked in at peak brunch hour yesterday, marched past the line of 20 or so odd people waiting for a table and proceeded to ask her if she could pull together a table of five for her at that very moment. Wow. Ballsy. Needless to say, Pilar's bartender had several choice words for this woman's behaviour, but she felt better after telling the girl that she'd have to wait at least an hour for a table :) She didn't wait.

So this is all to say that I plan on opening up a bit more to the folks who run my local haunts. I have no idea what interesting stories are in store for me.

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