I worked in the "Bar & Grill" business (mostly "Bar") for about 3 or 4 years. Lots of interesting things come up, and I occasionally run into a few ideas that I've never thought of before. Just got out of an online chat with an old Bar-Biz buddy, and we talked about some stuff:

1) This one... I never, ever thought about before. And now I realize... it is 100% TRUE! Wow! Mind... Blown... and I'm 50 years old! (give or take a decade or two)


I never heard THAT SHIT before... And they are absolutely correct! I can think of tons of examples, right off the top of my head... When I pick up a burger, and it feels greasy and squishy, I've already convinced myself that it's going to be nasty. When I look at a burger, and it's taller than it is wide (burger joints think that most people like this), I start worrying about how i'm going to "smoosh" it flat enough to fit in my mouth -- the experience has already been ruined for me. When the lettuce and pickle are crispy, the burger automatically tastes better -- I hear that "Crunch" and all is right in the world. I used to go this Mom 'n Pop joint in Tennessee that always made their burgers with fresh-baked buns, hot out of the oven. The smell alone made that burger delicious, automatically. It's weird, but it's true.

2) This one I did learn, when I was 21 years old...

The bar was out of tall glasses, and all of the bartenders (including me) were extremely busy. I poured a guy's drink into a rocks glass (short glass) instead of a tall glass (highball glass, if you prefer), and immediately went to the next customer. When I walked back by where the guy was standing, he yelled, "Hey! Why are trying to short me? This drink is supposed to be in a tall glass, not a short glass! You trying to short me?" I said, "Oh... Hang on..." The bar-back had just set some clean glassware into the service area, so I grabbed a tall glass and his drink from the bar, and poured his drink, ice and all, into the empty tall glass. The tall glass was filled to the rim. I said, "Surprise, Bitch! I bet you didn't know about THAT, did you?" and walked away. About an hour later, when things were calmer, I found the guy at the bar, and said, "Look... I was rude with you earlier. I wasn't trying to be a smart-ass... we were just really busy, and I was a little wired. If you think there's something wrong with your drink, you can ask me, any time. Your next one's on me." He was happy, so all was well.

The point is: Bar glasses are not about quantity, they are about being suited for the drink. Many of those glasses hold the same amount of liquid, even though they don't look like it.

3) Beer is a big one. I used to be really into beer. Nowadays, I just find the place with the cheapest Imperial Light and take a couple of 6-packs home. Every once in a while, though, I want a good beer. I was at this one bar, about 2 or 3 months ago, that had some really good European beers on tap: Guinness, Newcastle, Strongbow, etc. I noticed that the bartender was pouring down the side of the glass from the tap -- it's an old bartender's trick that makes the beer foam up less, so that the bartender doesn't have to shave the head or wait for the head to settle down before finishing the pour. I looked at my friend who was sitting with me and said "I really want a Strongbow, but I just know this fucker is going to pour it down the side, and if I say anything to him about it, he's going to get upset with me for telling him how to do his job." Before I could say anything, my friend told the bartender, "Hey... My friend wants a Strongbow, but he wants you to pour it down the center." The bartender said, "Why?" I just rolled my eyes...

The bartender commenced trying to tell us how awesome it was to pour a beer down the side of the glass, so that it wouldn't foam up, and you didn't have to wait for the head to settle. I could take it no more... "That might be OK for Coors Light or Budweiser, but it's not going to cut it for a decent beer!" A 15-minute conversation about who is right and who is wrong ensues... Finally, I say, "Fine. Put two glasses and a butter-knife on the bar." He did. I said, "I'll pour first, so that your beer is fresher than mine. I'm going to pour a beer from that tap my way, and then you pour yours down the side, OK?" He agreed. I poured mine, right down the center, until it overflowed, immediately shaved the head with the butter-knife, poured and shaved again, and then poured and shaved a third time. You do lose some beer doing this but it's less than an ounce. Then I said, "Your turn." He poured down the side. I said, "Taste yours." He did. Then I said, "Now, taste mine." He took a swig of mine, and didn't say anything. He didn't want to admit it, but he realized what was going on. He finally said, "I thought that beer wasn't Supposed to be that fizzy!" Mine was champagne to his fizzled-out water.

Any German or English bartender will tell you the same thing. Of course, bartenders in Germany and England are professionals... not college-kids working around their class and party schedules. A common joke among German bartenders is, "Why do Americans keep their beer so cold?" Answer: "So it numbs their tongues enough not to taste it!"