Memoirs of a Barman: Episode 3

The Welsh, are by far the funniest drunks I have ever encountered. They get more and more ‘native’ (louder and prouder) the more that they drink. One of my best mates, we’ll call Huw is a perfect example of this. Sober, he’ll happily speak fluent Welsh, yet after 4 or 5 pints, the Welsh version of Braveheart appears and shouts how that we may take their live, but we’ll never take their sheep. Okay, maybe that’s not true about Huw, but for the young assistant manager that appeared at the Purple Rabbit it certainly was. Whether it was dressing up as a well-endowed sheep for his Halloween costume (he had the tail on back to front) or his constant rebuttal to regulars that he was Welsh and not Polish, he made the Rabbit a much more entertaining place. We’ll call this assistant Mal.  Mal was never the best at keeping secrets. If he knew something, within 20 minutes, the entire pub knew’ customers as well as staff. Always well meaning, but usually found watching a daft video, or trying to get to level 100 on one of his many mobile games, Mal definitely added to the character of the place. Sadly, when Jay left the Purple Rabbit, it looked like all of Mal’s joy and soul left at the same time. But we’re not at that point yet, that’s next week.

As a barman, you get to watch all manners of interactions. It might be birthday parties, catch up drinks between friends, the old boys drinking club, or my favourite, the first date. I have seen every version of a first date by simply watching from my bar. The internet dating set up date, where neither look like their pictures? Seen it. The first date where a family emergency occurs, they leave, then return a couple of hours later with a new date? Seen that too. However, the best first date scenario I have ever seen is the double-blind date. Usually quite easy to spot due to the awkwardness both pairs of friends walk in with, looking sheepishly across the bar to find the friends that already got there, so nervous that they are now half cut on ‘confidence drinks’. What is most entertaining about these kinds of dates is that it is easy to see which couple likes each other and which couple would rather be scraping a brick down their face. What makes it even funnier, is when the double blind date, features two of your staff members. This leads to all sorts of mischief, from the chefs adding love hearts to every dish to hushed, but audible to the table, discussions about whether their respective dates are fit or not.  Either way, the lesson was always learnt; never bring a first date to your workplace, especially not a blind one.

Staff parties and lock ins were always an entertaining highlight for the pub, especially when the Boss was away. Crushes were always exposed, usually because they were found attempting to shag in the disabled toilet or in more extreme cases, the boss’s beds whilst they were away. However, the most entertaining point of the lock in was the day after, when you watched the couple have to talk to each other about the previous night’s drunken antics. Particularly when they try to deny their actions, and the very helpful Mal brings up the CCTV footage of the said couple trying to eat each other before they disappeared to soil Jay’s bed.

The other highlight of a staff party is that all the pent up rage and anger comes out. That sometimes manifests itself in simple name calling, or my favourite, a large scale brawl. Now, at this point in time, I was in charge of pouring the next round of Jager-bombs, so I was busy when it all kicked off. Chefs hit the floor, handbags were thrown, eyes were gouged and balls bitten. Yet, five minutes later, after everyone had vented their frustrations, everyone was friends again. My best-mate Bennett rocked up to the pub to take some of the pissheads home, with another assistant manager we’ll call Metty declaring how proud of himself he was that he had stayed out of the brawl. However, the next day, after discovering several large bruises and reviewing the CCTV that he had infact started the brawl by slamming the most annoying member of staff’s face into a table!

Truth be told, working in a pub is rather incestuous, in the sense that everyone seems to fancy everyone else. Now, as the pub nerd, I was always on the outside of these things, yet, there was one individual at the pub that always seemed to be at the centre of every female’s attention, the 19-year-old chef. A different female member of staff chasing him every week, forgetting what their job was and burning their eye brows on the warmth lighting on plate up surface staring at him, turned the pub into the low budget version of Geordie Shore. Yet, there was never a boring day in the pub. However, the golden days couldn’t last forever….

Jamie Wade

You must be logged in to post a comment Login