Have you heard someone refer to Cowtown as “Fortlandia”? It’s a joke that seems specific to the Fairmount neighborhood, and it’s not entirely off-base, but who cares. If you think this reference to Portlandia is totally apt, it’s probably because you’re of a vintage in which wearing something artsy or silly and probably crafted by someone barely old enough to drink just doesn’t seem correct anymore. In any case, fashion-forward Fairmount ladies Leah Thom and Madison Piper are launching their blog Fairmount Wears (and an Instagram feed, because this is 2014, and that is a thing that people have to do now) with a pop shop featuring boutique and locally made clothes. It’s at Shipping & Receiving on Saturday, when Sarah Jaffe, Son of Stan, and Ice Eater will perform. Even if you think you’re too square or frumpy or fortysomething to be enthusiastic about a thing called a “pop shop,” it’s worth your while to see an awesome show in one of my favorite new bars and maybe buy some cool new duds while you’re there. –– Steve Steward
Bartenders: Whiny Bitches, Right?
For most of the time I’ve made drinks for a living, I’ve always wished that the social codes and cues between barkeeps and patrons were much more widely understood. Like how we’re all expected to be able to put the correct name with the face on a dollar bill. And, recently, it appears that I am getting my wish, seeing as how my Facebook feed is often full of sponsored links to lists from Thrillist, Cracked, BroBible, and others that delineate all the things customers do to make bartenders grit their teeth. There’s even a hilarious series on YouTube called Your Bartender Hates You. What’s weird is that now that I see a ton of similar content prescribing proper etiquette for buying alcohol at a bar or restaurant, I kind of feel bad.
A few weeks ago, I had this conversation with a non-service industry friend. On her side of the bar, she said, it’s apparently a crap shoot as to how to properly approach a bartender, because virtually anything can be offensive or annoying. And she is totally right. Even with click-baiting lists that tell you not to snap or wave money or ask for your drink to be made stronger or order a Sidecar made with unicorn tears-infused simple syrup at a place that is solely illuminated by neon beer signs, there are still probably a billion unknowable ways to make the person pouring your cocktail narrow his eyes like Lee Van Cleef. I can think of at least a million right now, and most of them are pretty unreasonable.
The problem, unfortunately, is that when something completely innocuous and not at all a huge deal inconveniences a bartender one time (like, for example, being asked to plug in someone’s phone or make a Bloody Mary in the middle of Friday night go-time), the bartender internalizes it as a hyperextension of The Golden Rule. In other words, because that one thing somebody did that one time put you out just a little, you might therefore decide you’d never ask a bartender to stop work to get a book of matches or give you an extra olive, so anyone else asking the same is a huge hassle.
Yet, like your dad probably said, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” The corollary to that axiom generally boils down to “The customer is always right,” or, more specifically, “It’s your job to give me another olive, so please, may I have another goddamn olive!?” And in the wake of reading all of those angry lists, as well as the convo with my friend, I’m doing my best to grin and bear it when you ask for something that I think is superfluous. You’re out to have a good time, and I’m out to facilitate it. Sorry for the perma-glare — my face is sort of stuck that way. If you want another lime, here, have two. Just, y’know, don’t dig in the tray yourself — I once read on a Buzzfeed list that that makes bartenders crazy. –– Steve Steward
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