“Bar training” happened a couple days after I was hired — and it was a disaster. I immediately found out that the bar manager (whom they had hired for their new liquor expansion) had no idea that I had been hired by one of the other managers. And it wasn’t exactly training, so much as setting up the bar and creating drink recipes. This was three days before we were to be “open” for a benefit party for those who had joined the Kickstarter effort to fund the move. There was a lot of work to be done, and the bar manager proved to be utterly incompetent. I soon found out that though he had owned a bar in Mexico, he had never bartended before, nor did he drink alcohol. He had hired two female bartenders who also had no bartending experience. Yikes.
Though I was a little apprehensive, I slowly waded into the waters of giving him advice on how a bar should be, how recipes should taste, how presentation should be, and taught the bartenders some of the basics of bartending, including seemingly fundamental things like how to shake a martini. I arrived for bar training thinking I would be the one getting trained, and I ended up doing the training.
The next week or so was kind of a blur as we were rushing to put together the restaurant, the bar, get POS systems and recipes organized, all while still learning as much as I could about this new restaurant and its menu. The fundraiser came, and we were ready to go, but it quickly became apparent that our bar manager was getting in the way more than helping. I could spend over an hour talking about all the red flags that made me realize this manager was bad news, but the owners saw enough to let him go the day before our soft opening. We had a catering manager step in as an interim bar manager. She took over and did an awesome job of pricing, scheduling, organizing, and doing the grunt work that was needed as a manager.
As a show of appreciation for my leadership and endurance, she decided to make me lead bartender, which includes a $2 an hour raise and my choice of schedule. They give me the creative freedom to make drink specials, value my opinion on bar decisions, and trust me with the responsibility to own bar operations. If you know me, it’s basically my dream job, and I couldn’t be happier. We’ve been full every night since we opened two weeks ago, and I love every second.
So that’s me. I love this girl. I love this town. I love this job. This year has been amazing and full of changes, and while it’s in no way a “my life is complete” moment, I’m happy with the direction my life has taken. I’m blessed beyond measure. I’ll be sharing some more introspective thoughts on how things have felt in the past few months, but I wanted to give you a bit of an update on the details of what’s been happening. Thanks for your prayers and support.
And if you’re in Phoenix, come visit me ASAP.