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'You didn't hear it here' 

A compendium of stories that bartenders happily told with names unattached

click to enlarge SALLY PIETTE

So I'm bartending at this restaurant in Dallas, and this guy shows up about a half-hour after we opened. He stays there all day drinking and eating I don't think he left until midnight. In Texas, you can continuously serve someone as long as they continue to eat, no matter how drunk they get.

The guy finally gets up and says that he is going to leave. I tell him that he would have to give me his keys, since he had drank so much we were going to call him a cab. The guy decided he would eat a little more while waiting for the taxi, so I sat him at a table in the dining room.

The restaurant had converted empty wine bottles into containers for vinegar and oil. Red wines were vinegar, and white wines were oil. This guy had been there several times before, so he knew how we placed the oil and vinegar on the table.

All of a sudden, he pops the cork for the vinegar and just straight-up chugs out of the bottle. He chugs for a good few seconds before it reaches his brain that he is drinking vinegar. He proceeds to throw the bottle, and glass shatters everywhere.

He gets up from the table and starts yelling at all the staff that we were trying to kill him by poisoning him. All of the staff is trying not to laugh as he continues on his rant.

Finally, he walks out of the restaurant and proceeds to face-plant on the curb.

We were working on a Sunday evening, and a lady comes in in a mechanical wheelchair. She looks like she might already be tipsy, but I'm taking into account that maybe that's just some medication she's on, or some kind of offshoot of the ailment that has her in the chair.

She asks me for a beer and shot of whiskey, and I bring it to her and she knocks it back real quick and goes out in front of the karaoke stage and starts hanging out and dancing a little bit in her wheelchair. [My co-bartender] comes over while she's away and says, "Maybe she didn't need anything she looks like she's doing all right."

I say, "No problem, I think she's fine."

In a little while, she comes back up to the bar. Nobody else would have given her anything, but I decided, hey, one more shot of whiskey, one beer, no big deal ... so I give her a second one. And that was a bit of a mistake.

I look back over 20 minutes later, and the wheelchair is doing left turns only, firing around in circles out there. ... She's got her flannel shirt off from her tank top, and she is waving it around in a circle to all the karaoke singing.

I'm like, "Oh my God." Then we get distracted for a bit, it gets a little busy, and another customer comes up and orders a Beehive from our manager. [The patron] turns away and is talking to a buddy, and she sets it down on the bar.

I'm over at the taps, and the manager's busy again and the customer isn't paying attention. He grabs the manager two minutes later and says, "Hey, where's my Beehive?"

She says, "I put it right there." He's like, "No you didn't."

About that time, I look and that lady has got the chair in high gear, making a beeline for the bathroom and just over her shoulder, I can see a full Beehive. Beeline-in' with a Beehive in the hot-rod wheelchair ...

She locks herself in the bathroom and proceeds to kick back that whole thing and comes back out onto the floor and starts running into tables and chairs and other patrons with her wheelchair. At which point, we have to ask her to leave.

When I first started bar-backing in 1992, it was an-all-you-can-eat seafood place that had a pretty hoppin' bar.

One night, the toilet got clogged with all sorts of nasties. And my manager it was the owner's son in this place in Maryland he was a little unbalanced fella himself. And he was like, "All right, this is how it's done."

He took his bare hand and a garbage can and just fuckin' started going at it. That was foul.

click to enlarge SALLY PIETTE

It's my birthday, right. I was born on Mother's Day. It doesn't always fall on Mother's Day, but this particular year it did.

So we're all in here drinkin' and bending the law somewhat because the sun's coming up. But it's my birthday. I'm goin' strong. It's Sunday. Couple of my buddies are in booths like fallen soldiers, they've petered out on me.

So I'm a little bored but I'm not dead yet, because it's my birthday.

So I go downstairs and I get my 12-guage and my shell jacket and load it up with shells and I traipse up on the roof of my building for a little early-morning skeet shooting. 'Cause I hate the fuckin' pigeons, OK.

So of course, back then, all bar owners were family. It was like, my uncle owned the bar next door. So I'm up the roof towards the end by the chimney, and I'm shootin' fuckin' pigeons when they come by with my 12-guage. It's Sunday morning, 6 in the morning. It's just resounding. It's echo, it's vacant. The last man on Earth out there, you know.

So my uncle he lived above his bar, and his dogs used to run on his roof. Well, he comes up on his roof in his pajamas and I see him and I say, "Hey, get down, get down." And he gets down because he heard the gunshots. He walks over to the edge he's like, "What are you doing?" I go, "Tsk tsk they'll see you, stay down." He goes, "Who? Who?"

Right then, some pigeons go over and I [fire twice]. Well, he's still hunched down, whispering, "What the fuck are you doing?" I go, "Aw man, they saw you." He goes, "I thought somebody was shootin' at my dogs." ...

So I come back down and I had left the door open, so I walk in the front door in my shell jacket. My friends, three or four of them had woken from the dead, only because my mother was here to come see what the hell was going on, because it was my birthday. And Mother's Day.

And she was chewing these guys out, because the place was trashed with glass and broken stuff and paper strewn all about. And she's chewin' these guys out and in midstream looks over at me and says, "Happy birthday, Son." And I go, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom."

There was New Year's Eve a few years ago, so obviously there was a big crowd.

But we had one couple who obviously couldn't wait until after the bar closed to have a little fun. So they went into the women's room, locked the door and started getting it on. But the problem was that they were doing it on top of a toilet, and the top of the toilet just started banging against the wall. Everyone could hear it, and they all realized what was going on. So the rest of their group moved their chairs into a semi-circle outside the bathroom door, listening to all that pounding, and they sat there waiting for the man and woman to finish.

Finally they came out of the bathroom, and everybody got up and gave them a standing ovation.

This one was a while ago, but it really happened. A bunch of guys were sitting at the bar, talking about how big they were, if you know what I mean. There was a woman at the end of the bar, and a woman who was bartending. Finally the one at the end of the bar said, "Let's just settle this right now."

She pulled out a ruler, and one by one, all those men laid it out on top of the bar for her to measure. The bartender looked at them and said, "OK, whichever one of you has the shortest one has to buy a round for everyone. And whichever one is the biggest has to take me home tonight." And you know, that was one of those times when nobody wanted to be the shortest, but they definitely didn't want to be the longest, either.

This was a private party and this girl came up to my bar with two friends. She was pretty loaded. She'd already come up once and kinda flirted a little bit.

She comes up a second time and looks at me and then pulls her boob out, then puts it away, and says, "You'll never see that again," and walks away. I was like, "OK?"

This guy is drinking by himself and just getting completely shitfaced. He's also hitting on every girl at the bar. He even tells one girl that her name must have been Gillette, because she was the best a man can get that was my favorite thing that he said.

Anyway, he is so hammered that I tell him he should probably eat something, or he will probably get sick. The guy tells me that he is all right, but he starts making these moaning noises. It's really strange because he's looking at me the whole time he's moaning. Then he tells me that he thinks he is going to puke.

So I usher him to the bathroom, and as soon as his hand hits the door and he pushes it open, he starts projectile vomiting. It was the most violent motion I had ever seen from a human being his neck went back so fast, I thought he might have gotten whiplash. The vomit hit the ceiling and went down the wall. I think only a teaspoon of it managed to land in the urinal.

He had been drinking straight whiskey all night, but it seemed to be the Zima he had ordered last that sent him over the edge.

One night everybody in the bar decided to see how many people they could cram into the men's room. So everyone went in there, but there was a problem. One guy was sitting in there, just taking a dump. But they didn't care. They just crammed in there, climbing up on top of each other, even on top of him, until they couldn't get anybody else in. And then everybody got out, and he was still sitting there.

Compiled by Ralph Routon and Matthew Schniper.

  • A compendium of stories that bartenders happily told with names unattached

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