Back to bartending 35 years later

Let’s see. Along with Coffee's On (my coffee business), my vegetable garden, editing the newsletter for the Cobourg Yacht Club, scheduling shifts for volunteers at the Cobourg Police trailer (I’ll explain that in a future Blog), Draught beercontinuing my membership with the Rotary, Chamber, and Cobourg Environmental Advisory Committee, I have taken on another role.

I started bartending at the Cobourg Legion. It’s just a fill-in capacity, but I’m having a great time.

After three shifts of training with one of the other bartenders, I had my first solo shift on a Saturday night. Normally, a Saturday night would be intimidating. It’s probably the busiest night of the week for bars, but legions are a little bit different. The Cobourg Legion hosts a meat draw (dollar raffle tickets for a chance to win steaks, hamburger, you know…meat) from 3 to 5 p.m. The place gets very busy. But after 5 p.m., there are a few regulars at the bar and me.

Well, that was the expectation.

Normally, the Saturday night bartender can close the front doors at 10 or 11 p.m. Even though we can legally stay open later, what’s the point if nobody’s in the place?

During my first night going solo, I was warned that a dart league banquet was taking place upstairs and some people might come down afterwards for a drink.

They did. They all did.

The group was a lot of fun, playing darts, dancing, laughing…and ordering drinks, lots of drinks. Oh and on top of that my wife, daughter and sister-in-law came by to toast my solo run. Thank you family. You’re great tippers.

Drinks at the legion consist of shots and beer. And even though I have a lot of experience as a bartender (a thousand years ago), pouring draught beer was not my specialty and for some reason Alexander Keith’s is a bitch to pour. Of course, everyone ordered it. I could feel sweat on my brow as the line-up of customers grew exponentially as the draught spout poured out another glass of foam. I was losing the battle, but not the war.

All bars have their own routine and the Cobourg Legion is no different. Everyone comes up to the bar to order drinks, everyone brings up their dirty glasses, and everyone puts their empty bottles in the empty cases set up around the bar.

Everyone, if you’re a member. The dart league people didn’t know the rules. So along with searching around the bar for certain liquor or a certain cider, I was also running around the tables, picking up glasses so I didn’t run out at the bar.

Interac is another new fangled contraption I never had to deal with in my younger days and I wasn’t sure how to do a “Void” on the cash register, so making a mistake was not an option. Every time I punched in a drink, I quietly repeated the mantra “Don’t push the wrong key. Oh my god, don’t push the wrong key”.

Counting the float and making sure it all added up is another new experience, especially with those damn Nevada tickets.

But I’m getting back into the swing, trying to remember customer names – actually it’s easier to remember their drink and call them “hey you”.


One thought on “Back to bartending 35 years later

  1. Linda

    Whoever thinks retirement is just sitting around doing nothing is so wrong! I'm finding not enough time in my day to get everything done!

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