Monday, April 21, 2008

Leo's Short Guide to Good Bar Behavior

If you drive, don't drink alcohol. The bartender doesn't care what you order, have a soft drink.

When ordering, know what you want. Once your drink is made, don't change your mind. The bartender is not a magician.

Since most bars carry about twenty different beers, don't ask the bartender or waitperson what beers they carry. Rather name the beer you want and a second choice. Chances are they carry it and if they do not can then suggest something similiar right away.

Although you may be waiting for a table at a restaurant, unless you intend to buy a drink at the bar don't plop yourself onto a barstool just taking up space.

Always put your money on the bar when ordering drinks, especially when you drink to forget.

When leaving your seat, put a napkin or coaster on your drink, indicating that you will return.

Don't order fancy Mickey Mouse drinks in a neighborhood bar. Wait until you are in a tourist place, you'll know it when they put little plastic umbrellas in the drinks.

It is considered bad form to ask the bartender to fix you a strong drink. Ask for a double, and pay for it.

If the bar gets busy, don't put your things on a barstool next to you, someone may want to sit down.

Don't tempt the bartender to invoke the dreaded "86". When you feel you've had enough, cut yourself off before you get stupid.

Show good bar manners. Don't be loud and boisterous. Foul language and obnoxious macho behavior will not impress anyone; you will merely convince people that you are an idiot.

Old Chinese Proverb: He who make much bing-bang with dice cup have plenty short ding-dong.

The customer is always right; however, the bartender determines who is still a customer.

If you want to meet someone, don't come on like gangbusters. Be cool, be subtle, and try to be original.

Be kind to your bartender. Treat him/her like family. Bartenders will guide you to the best chow in town, listen to your jokes, even laugh when they are not funny, and listen to your woes.

It is customary to leave at least a buck. More will be gratefully accepted. To our European visitors, you may want to follow the American custom: when a group of people go barhopping they alternate paying the tab. Also, TIPPING is not a city in China. Your guidebooks inform you that gratuity is not included on your bill. So show some class and leave something for the help. But don't reward bad service. Sometimes you will come across a bartender or waitperson who is too busy chit-chatting with other employess or just not aware that someone needs service. If you feel the service is bad, get even by not tipping, or show your displeasure by just leaving a nickel or a dime.

Don't blame the messenger! The bar doesn't make the laws, but it must enforce them. The bar can get fined or lose its license for serving minors or having people on the premises after 2 a.m. So don't get your knickers in a twist when asked for an ID or when the bar closes and you are asked to leave.

Some people make an ass of themselves when they drink alcohol. They should only drink on New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day. Those are amateur nights. They will have lots of company.

If you use perfume or cologne, use it in moderation. Some people splash themselves with cheap stuff and smell like ten dollar hookers.

Everyone is not blessed with a pleasant sounding voice. Those with shrill voices, or who sound like screeching seagulls, always seem to talk louder than others. They would do everyone a favor by keeping it down.

Don't snap your fingers, hiss or whistle to get the bartender's attention. This may be O.K. in some countries. It's not done here. Simply calling "bartender" should suffice.

Some people like to push their weight around by telling the help that they know the boss or informing everyone how important they are to the embarrassment of their friends and the annoyance of everyone else. At the old time bars in North Beach such pompous, tacky behavior is frowned upon, and is not going to get preferential treatment.

Young people who have just reached the legal drinking age should watch the more experienced bar patrons and take mental notes. You will be spending many pleasant hours in bars, watch and learn. After a while you too will no longer be an amateur.

A few words about the No Smoking Law in California bars:

The law was created to protect the employees. At Vesuvio we observe the law. It is only fair to our employees and customers who are non-smokers. Most bars comply and customers are very understanding and go ouside and have a smoke (it's a new way of meeting people as you commiserate about the unfairness of the law).

Some of our former customers now frequent bars that do not comply with the law. These few bars are thriving at the expense of the ones that comply. This is an unfair business practice. The city doesn't seem to enforce the law.

It is only a matter of time before the shit hits the fan when non-smoking employees (a pregnant waitress or someone suffering from asthma or bronchitis) start suing bar owners and the City.

Copyright © 2003 Vesuvio Café


A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her.
--W.C. Fields

The problem with some people is that when they aren't drunk, they're sober.
-William Butler Yeats

Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk.
--Tom Waits

The human intellect owes its superiority over that of the lower animals in great measure to the stimulus which alcohol has given to imagination--imagination being little else than another name for illusion.
--Samuel Butler, English novelist (1835-1902)

An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.
--For Whom the Bell Tolls,
Ernest Hemingway

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
--Ernest Hemingway

Good men drink good beer.
--Hunter S. Thompson

Gin and orange juice are the best cure for alcoholism, the real cause of which is ugliness and the complete baffling sterility of existence as sold to you.
--Malcolm Lowry, English writer (1909-1957)

Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, that it’s compounding a felony.
--Robert Benchley

One more drink and I’d have been under the host.
--Dorothy Parker

Malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
--A. E. Houseman

Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
--Herman Melville

Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
--Oscar Wilde

The secret of drunkenness is, that it insulates us in thought, whilst it unites us in feeling.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
--Omar Khayyam

Alcohol is a very necessary article . . . It enables Parliament to do things at eleven at night that no sane person would do at eleven in the morning.
--George Bernard Shaw

The gods who are most interested in the human race preside over the tavern. The tavern will compare favorably with the church. The church is the place where prayers and sermons are delivered, but the tavern is where they are to take effect, and if the former are good, the latter cannot be bad . . .
--Henry David Thoreau

Abstainer, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.
--Ambrose Bierce

An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do.
--Dylan Thomas

I have written much less than people who write, but I have drunk much more than most people who drink.
--Guy Debord, French social revolutionary (1931-1994)

The heart which grief hath cankered
Hath one unfailing remedy--the Tankard.
--C. S. Calverley, English Poet (1831-1884)

For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

Think of the wonders uncorked by wine! It opens secrets, gives heart to our hopes, pushes the cowardly into battle, lifts the load from anxious minds, and evokes talents. Thanks to the bottle’s prompting no one is lost for words, no one who’s cramped by poverty fails to find release.

Anybody can be a non-drunk. It takes a special talent to be a drunk. It takes endurance. Endurance is more important than truth.
--Charles Bukowski

What’s drinking? A mere pause from thinking!
--Lord Byron

From wine what sudden friendship springs!
--John Gay, English poet and playwright (1685-1732)

Often people display a curious respect for a man drunk, rather like the respect of simple races for the insane . . . There is something awe-inspiring in one who has lost all inhibitions.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald

Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually.
--Charles Baudelaire

A glass of good wine is a gracious creature,
And reconciles poor mortality to itself,
And that is what few things can do.
--Sir Walter Scott

The drinking man is never less himself than during his sober intervals.
--Charles Lamb

In a world where there is a law against people ever showing their emotions, or ever releasing themselves from the greyness of their days, a drink is not a social tool. It is a thing you need in order to live.
--Jimmy Breslin

Drink heightens feeling. When I drink, it heightens my emotions and I put it in a story.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald

I was very proud, and John Barleycorn was very proud with me. I could carry my drink. I was a man. I had drunk two men, drink for drink, into unconsciousness.
--Jack London

How solemn and beautiful is the thought that the earliest pioneer of civilization, the van-leader of civilization, is never the steamboat, never the Sabbath-school, never the missionary--but always whiskey.
--Mark Twain

If, as some say, God spanked the town
For being over frisky,
Why did He burn the churches down,
And spare Hotaling’s whisky?
--Doggerel written following the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern.
--John Keats

And fill them high with generous juice,
As generous as your mind,
And pledge me in the Generous toast
The whole of human kind!
--Robert Burns

And last but definitely not least. . .

You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
--Dean Martin

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.
--Frank Sinatra

Copyright © 2003 Vesuvio Café