Over the weekend I have been working as a bar-back for the Brass House which is a jazz bar in downtown Austin. In case you aren’t familiar with the duties of a bar-back, I pretty much do all the behind the scenes work to make the bar run more smoothly: wash glasses, empty trash, restock alcohol, refill ice, and pretty much any other random duties the bartenders need me to do. My first day was Friday and I got thrown to the wolves. The bar was packed. Luckily I was told to come in a little early so I was able to get trained before the flow of customers became too overwhelming. By the time 9 o’clock came around, and the show started, we were in full force. I could hardly keep the glasses on the shelves there were so many customers. I kept thinking throughout the night I better be making a lot of money in tips for this. I was running around like crazy trying to keep everything stocked but it just kept feeling like there would be no end. I was afraid to look at the clock in fear that hardly any time has passed. I kept thinking surely this had to end soon, there’s no way these people can be drinking for this long…and then I remembered college and realize that no one ever stops drinking. Ever.
It was weird being on the other side of the bar and hearing peoples speech going from sophisticated to slurred. There was a small group of girls sitting front and center of the bar who I thought were pretty cute when they walked in. But their attractive level drastically dropped once they started drinking. Their voices turned into high pitched loud obnoxious barbie dolls, almost like they were plastics from the movie Mean Girls. “Oh my god, my boobs are like so like totally smaller than yours.” One of them said. Which led into about a half hour conversation of how they will never find love because they have small boobs. I thought this conversation was funny for about the first five minutes but being that they were drunk it was like listening to a three minute conversation on loop for what felt like forever. After awhile my patience grew thin and I wanted to turn to them and be like:
Eventually they left and new people took their place and so continued the constant rotation of drunker and drunker people occupying the bar. My shift finally ended around 1 a.m. and one of the bartenders was kind enough to give me a ride home. As soon as I got home I crashed. My feet felt like they just ran a marathon and I began to contemplate if I could handle doing this every weekend. However, I could already tell I am going to LOVE all of my coworkers. Everyone is so easy going and willingness to help out it makes for a very pleasant work environment.
Today was BEAUTIFUL!!! The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and it was yet another wonderful day to live in Austin. After going to bed so late I slept in til around noon with a slow relaxing start to my morning. It was so gorgeous out I just couldn’t stand the thought of spending it inside so I strapped on my barefoot shoes and went for a run. I wanted to discover some new land so I took random turns to see where I would end up. I found a neat park and walked and stretched while I called home. My dad informed me that it was about 14 degrees in Erie which made me even more thankful that I decided to move. It was about 65 in Austin and I was running in just shorts and a t-shirt. By the time I got back my Nike plus app informed me that I had gone about 7 miles but I wouldn’t really count all of it since I did some walking throughout my run.
Shortly after running I had to go to work again.
I was warned several times yesterday that today would be much more chaotic. The band that we were bringing in was very well known in Austin and we already had over 150 people reserved for seating and more wanting to come. The line was going to be out the door to see this band. (My apologies but for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the band.) I came in around 7 p.m. again and was ready to rock. Joey, one of bartenders, had me pouring shots and wines throughout the night to lighten his load because not only was he in charge of his half of the bar but he was also in charge of making drinks for all the cocktail waitress’ tables. I was excited about this because already I was gaining experience to become a bartender and it was only my second day.
My second day was much easier, I had a better feel for where everything is and when things started heating up it almost became like improvised dancing behind the bar. Myself and the two bartenders were gliding around one another making drinks and grabbing glasses it’s amazing that no one ever bumps into each other or break anything (*knock on wood*). When the band began to play I was hoping the bar would start to settle but of course I was wrong. With a full house there was always someone who wanted a drink and eventually it got to the point that we actually ran out of glasses. But, luckily Brass house owns the attached building where they are putting in their full restaurant and bar. I scurried through the back patio, through the kitchen of the restaurant, and rummaged though boxes until I found more martini glasses because for some reason it seemed like every person wanted a martini that night, which sucks. Not to say anything bad about martinis but even after working there for not even two days I already HATE martini glasses. The tops are so bit that they take up a lot of room in the dishwasher and the glass is very thin on them and hard to see that you have to be extra cautious. I know this because my day of orientation the manager picked up one to show everyone and announced, “be extra careful with these, they are fragile and expensive as fuck.”
When the night began to slow down an lady at the bar, Beverly, who I later learned was a regular at Brass House told me how much she appreciated my work. She said they never had a bar back there before and there was a time that she had to wait an extra 30 minutes for a drink because they were out of glasses. She continued to explain that she had been watching me all night and admired how hard of a worker that I was. It felt so good to hear that a customer noticed how hard I was busting my ass all night.
Tonight I stayed later to learn how to/help close down the bar. Which consisted of wiping everything down, sweeping and mopping the floor, marking the opened wines with current dates, and restocking beer and wine. All of this took much longer than I expected and I didn’t get out of there til about 4 a.m.
This being such a laid back environment the manager never really exactly gave me a schedule. At the end of last night he pretty much told me to come in tomorrow at the same time. So before I left I went over to the restaurant side to ask Hunter, the manager, when I should work next. He was working at her computer when I stepped in.
“Hey man.” I said to get his attention.
“Fuck man, you’re still here!?” Hunter said with surprise.
“Yeah, I just helped close down. When do you want me working next?”
“Uh…fuck.” He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands trying to wake up enough to process his thoughts. “Can you come in tomorrow night?”
“Yeah, definitely. What time?”
“Come in around 9, that’ll be good. The show doesn’t start til 11.”
“Show?” I was confused as to why they were having a show on a Sunday night. “But tomorrow’s Sunday, who’s partying on a Sunday?”
“Ron White and his wife.”
“Who’s that?” I felt dumb for not knowing who this person was who was obviously pretty famous.
“He’s a famous comedian doing a show down the road with Willie Nelson and he is having his after party here.”
“Shit! So does that mean Willie Nelson is gonna be here?!” I could care less about this Ron White, I really wanted to meet Willie.
“Yes, there is a possibility.”
“Awesome, see ya tomorrow!”
After this conversation I knew I was happy about the place I was working. It seemed to be classy enough to be a hot spot for celebrities. Joey gave me a ride home again and once again I came home and crashed.
Today I woke up around noon again with ambition to make out bunny, Edgar, a home outside. For the past few weeks, since Jet got him as a gift, he has been living in our closet which left all of our clothes throughout our room. So, obviously, I wanted our closet space back.
Jet had a couple pieces of plywood that he used for an art project awhile ago that were just laying in our backyard. They would be perfect for Edgar’s new home.
We drew up some plans and constructed our bunny a simple decorative home. Then, we went to Walmart to buy fencing so he couldn’t hop away. We finally finished everything around 7 p.m., just in time for me to head off to work for another eventful night.
I was so excited to go to work today, mainly because of the chance that Willie Nelson might be there.
As soon as I got in one of the bartenders asked me to get another bottle of Captian Morgan. I rushed to the closet behind the soundboard to see if we had any there but we didn’t which meant I needed to go next door to get one from the liquor cabnet over there. But on my way out of the narrow passage way out of the closet I turned my head to quickly and nicked my ear on the metal shelving in the closet. It hurt like hell but I figured I would be okay. On my way to the other side I ran into another employee who was just starting her first day. She stopped me to introduce herself and seemed very nice. The only issue was that at this point I could slowly feel my ear filling up with blood. I cut our conversation short and rushed next door to the bathroom in the restaurant. Despite it being a small cut the inside of my ear was pretty much covered in blood. I wet some paper towels and wiped off the blood then grabbed more paper towels to apply pressure to the cut. IT WOULD NOT STOP BLEEDING!!! Since the skin on the ear is so thin blood just kept pouring out. I eventually got it to slow down but that didn’t fix the problem. I didn’t think it would look very professional if the barback was walking around with blood spilling out of his ear. I then remembered that I had a band aid in my wallet. I tried to bandage it but that would of left me looking silly with a giant bandage on my ear. I then had the great idea of ripping off one of the sticky sides of the bandage and taping it shut. Luckily this worked.
After 45 minutes of dealing with my ear situation I FINALLY returned to the bar. The bartenders, of course, were wondering where I went so I had to explain the embarrassing story of how I cut my ear.
The night was much slower than they anticipated. They decided to have three bartenders on staff as well as myself which left behind the bar very crowded. I asked one of bartenders if Willie Nelson was in attendance. She said to walk down to the end and come back and I would see him sitting in a booth.
I was ecstatic trying to prepare myself for the starstruckness that I was about to encounter. On my way back I saw an older gentlemen with a ponytail sitting in a booth with some other people marked ‘Reserved.’ He looked kind of like Willie Nelson but still wasn’t convinced it was him. I later asked the manager if he was here and he informed me that he wasn’t coming.
“Then who was that old dude sitting in the reserved booth?” I asked.
“That was Paul Mitchell,” he replied.
Okay so maybe I didn’t see Willie that night but it was still cool to see another famous person even if I had no interest in meeting him. For your comparison here are the two: Paul Mitchell is on the left and Willie Nelson is on the right.
Photos courtesy of exposay.com and wallrain.com.
I guess I could kind of see the comparison but I feel like it is an insult to both of them to mix up the two.
The rest of the night was pretty slow and I ended up getting off at 1 a.m. and since I was the only one leaving then I couldn’t get a ride from anyone which meant I had to take the bus home. However, since it was Sunday I came to the disappointing realization that buses don’t run late on Sundays so I had to take a cab home.