Closing Time

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The last half hour of a bartender’s shift is the most anxiety-ridden time of our day.  There is one thing that we all fear: the straggler.  Nothing is worse than having it be ten minutes to closing and having a few people wander in looking around like they just landed in Oz.  If it has been a busy night and you feel a little beat up, all you want to do is finish up with the patrons that are already there, clean up, count your tips, maybe have a beer, and go home.  If it has been a slow night, you ONLY want to go home.  So your clean up and tip counting is done early because when the manager locks that front door, you can punch out and fly out the back door.

But then… your hopes and dreams are crushed.  Because an Uber just let out Malibu Ken and Barbie at the front door and they look like they’re about to write the next chapter of a Nora Roberts novel.  Little do they know you’re about to tell them that the kitchen is closed, no you cannot recommend a “fun” drink, and you respond with one word answers when asked how your night went.  Their Nora Roberts novel just went the way of Thomas Hardy.  A good rule of thumb, regardless of the establishment, either know when the bar closes before going in OR be sensible enough to take the hint that it’s time to get the hell out.

A man (lets name him Bob) that was hosting a private event in the restaurant finished with his party and after saying goodbye to his guests, came to sit at the bar.  I gave Bob a beer, and he informed me that he was just waiting on someone to meet him.  This was a good hour before closing so I wasn’t too worried.  Twenty minutes later, another man (lets name him Bill) joined him.  They clearly hadn’t seen each other in a long time, and I wasn’t convinced that this wasn’t a secret romance reunited.  Nevertheless Bill ordered a beer and the two continued to talk.  About a half hour later, Bob received a phone call and went to a nearby table to take the call.  I continued to clean up and soon it was closing time.  Fifteen minutes after closing time, Bill asked me what time the restaurant closed.  I told him and after an embarrassed look at his watch he apologized for the hour and explained that Bob was on a phone call to China.  I told him I still had work to do so he could hang out while I finished.  A few minutes later Bob got off the phone and returned to the bar.  He said he hadn’t realized what time we closed and asked for one more round.  In a moment of weakness I said okay and gave them another round.  They paid immediately once they received their drinks.  That was the good news.

Bill and Bob stayed and chatted for another two hours.  Two.  Hours.

Bill and Bob are assholes.  Don’t be like Bill and Bob.

 

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