Monday, April 10, 2006

confessions of a strip club barman


Shift: Friday night

Tips: $56


“Every barman has been told the horror story of a glass shard ending up in an ice bucket and because it’s almost invisible once it makes it’s way into a drink, it ends up being ingested, and you can imagine how bad swallowing a shard of glass would feel.”


Not much happened on the shift on Friday night. Sure it was busy and there was the occasional looser or 10, but nothing to write about so I got to thinking about the bar itself.

Now, you’ll never catch me drinking from a glass when I’m at a bar. i drink beer straight from the bottle. Not because I’m a man or it’s a macho thing. More due to the fact that as a barman, I’ve seen how some bars “clean” their glasses and all the horrible things that are involved in drinking out of glasses.

The truth of the matter is that a bar only has a finite amount of glasses that are continually recycled throughout the night. You drink out of it, they ‘wash’ it and then the guy next to you drinks out of it. You’re essentially sharing glasses with everyone in the club.

But the glasses are cleaned, right? Short answer yes, long answer no. I’ve worked in bars for the past eight years and only two bars in that time have used the proper (if any) cleaning chemicals in their glass washing machine. That means the rest use hot water that is just sprayed up into the glass.

Another reason is that barman are dirty people. I’m not talking blow jobs in the back toilets, or the cussing, spitting types, I’m talking more about actual dirt.

In any shift, a barman will handle ashtrays, wipe bar tops with filthy cloths and perhaps the worst of all, touch money - filthy, filthy money. And if he drops something on the ground? eeeewww! Best case scenario, suggests that a barman will wash his hands with some type of anti-bacterial antiseptic wash every now and then or before they handle glasses – but how many barman have you seen do that?

Have you ever finished your drink and crunched on the ice? You may as well be drinking toilet water. A high school student recently found that the ice at a McDonald’s restaurant contained more bacteria than the water in their toilets and bar is going to be a lot dirtier than a McDonalds. Trust me on this. And a McDonalds would at least change the water filter on their ice machine – I’ve seen some shockers in my time.

One bar I worked at used bag ice. Nothing unusual about this, but you have to break up the ice in the bag before you use it. I was told to either throw the bag on the ground behind the bar repeatedly or stomp on the bag to break up the cubes. The barman demonstrated this and once the cubes were separated inside the bag, he simply picked up the bag, put it in the ice bin, cut it open and emptied the contents into the (same) ice bin. The same bin that had touched the outside of the bag. The same bag that had, just seconds ago, been under his foot and on the filthy, wet, bar floor that was coated in cigarette ash, drinks dregs and just general filth. But the scary thing is, that as a customer, you’d never know that.

Not only is the floor of a bar wet, but nearly everything in a bar is constantly wet. The bench tops, the bottles, the barman’s hands, and the glasses themselves are wet.

Now just say you’ve got some bozo coughing his lungs up or that trash mole at the end of the bar sneezes, what about that guy smoking over there and everyone’s re-circulated breath? All of this dirty air is circulating through the club and it’s all going to stick to any wet surface, and especially a wet glass that you then put in your mouth.

I’m not even going to go deep into the dangers of things falling into an ice bucket, but every barman has been told the horror story of a glass shard ending up in an ice bucket and because it’s almost invisible once it makes it’s way into a drink, it ends up being ingested, and you can imagine how bad swallowing a shard of glass would feel.

A friend once told me that they were at a restaurant once when they saw a Pizza Hut guy deliver pizza’s to the staff that were on their break. It didn’t give them much confidence in the restaurant food if their employees wouldn’t even eat it.

I’m not trying to scare you off drinking out of glasses, just trying to help you to make more informed decisions. A very general rule of thumb is the worse the bar, the worse the hygiene.

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2 comments:

Jack Yan said...

Welcome back! And a good warning. Jeez, never thought of how gross things could be out there, but you are totally right.

markoos said...

thanks,

yeah it can get extremely gross behind bars. you won't ever catch me drinking out of a glass no matter how good the bar is.

ps - word verification is getting a little long and crazy: "vkiazzmg"!!!