About 11:00 last Thursday night, I and two of my mates were assertively asked to leave a sleepy local bar called the Happy Village Tavern, by a bartender who must be competing for a title I wasn't aware of: Chicago's Very Worst Barkeeper.
He asked us never to return.
The bartending barbarisms that led us to an inevitable boiling point were so many that listing them is tedious. But the first is potentially instructive to bartenders everywhere.
Paul and I arrived first and got our drinks. Tony arrived soon after, and I told him to have a seat and walked up to the bar to get him a beer.
The bartender was at the end of the bar, texting. I sidled into his peripheral vision, until, after an interval, he said grimly, "I see you there. I'll be with you in a moment."
So I stood there another minute or so, watching this guy compose his text while my pals, seated at the table across the room, were warmly catching up with each other. I was too astonished to say anything.
"Hey David," Tony finally yelled. "Tell him to text me a beer!"
Which led to a series of escalating bartending faux pas, which were met with increasingly robust customer feedback on our part, culminating in our unhappy ouster from the Happy Village Tavern.
A few years ago in Chicago some alderman tried to pass an ordinance forbidding taxi drivers from talking on their cell phones with passengers in the car. I was against the ordinance, because cab-driving is dreary work and it seemed to me that if talking on the phone got the driver through the day, it didn't inconvenience me too much.
But bartending, though it too is a dreary job, requires even for its minimum standard of practice, that the practitioner be immediately and agreeably available to customers—indeed, ought to be constantly scanning the bar looking for thirsty people.
Bartenders, don't make me propose an ordinance forbidding bartexting.
Just knock it off, will you?