End Of An Era

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I started bartending back in 2002. I didn't need the money, really, but it was more of something that opened up with my friend Joe the fireman saying that he was managing a bar and needed trustworthy people to bartend.

We assembled a crew of regulars to bartend who were all Farside regulars, and jokingly called Dipper's: "Farside 2" when we first opened.

They were fun years. We weren't the "cool bar", we were a dive bar. We attracted people who liked to drink beer, throw darts, and get drunk - cheap. If you walked into our bar with $20, you would walk out feelin' great.

I would tell my family that bartending, to me, wasn't a job. It was like I was going out Saturday night, see my friends, get drunk with them and get paid. How great was that?

Certainly bartending was a great way to meet people, and meet girls, too. Behind the bar a guy can say anything he wants. Has a stocked bar to throw free drinks at cute girls. What guy WOULDN'T want that kind of job? I can only think of one other job that gets you more access to cute girls - a trainer at a gym.

When Dipper's closed, it was certainly end of something great in my life, and many others. The outsiders won't understand the spirit that a bar can infuse on their staff and regulars - it isn't just a place to imbibe, it's like a second home. I'm sure the regulars of Ted and Joe's know how I feel.

When Mikie's opened up, I had to go through the new interview process with new owners and once again, Fireman Joe was my Ace In The Hole. Turns out that he knew the owners, and I made sure that during the interview to drop his name in our talk.

It worked. I was on for Saturday nights. My only shift for an entire week, and it was exactly what I wanted.

But, the bar wasn't.

As much as the new owners, Mike and Cindy were fantastic to me, the spirit of Dipper's slowly faded away. I met new, great people, but missed my old friends. Some moved away. Some made new bars as their regular pubs. It was once a fun diversion at Dipper's and now turned into a 9 hour long job at Mikie's.

Every Saturday would roll around, and I would start dreading my weekends. It was hard to go out on a Friday night, because as you get older, your "bounce back" from drinking fades - it becomes harder to drink all night and get up fresh the next day. Sleeping in on Saturdays until 11am - 12pm would kill any chance of me getting much accomplished on a Saturday afternoon.

Sundays were just as rough, since I wasn't getting to bed until 3-4am. I'd sleep in again, and try to do something those afternoons, but I had my corporate job the next day. My sleep cycle would be all fucked up and often I wouldn't be able to fall asleep until Monday mornings after midnight or later.

Then Mondays would roll around and I'd be tired at Corporation X from the weekend, and i'd be catching up on sleep during the work week, often coming home Monday and falling asleep for 10+ hours.

Rinse, wash, and repeat for 2 years.

It was time for a break.

I knew I had the summer house in Bradley Beach coming up in a few weeks, and was planning to ask Mike and Cindy about taking a break over the summer. I planned to work out April and May, then possibly coming back in the fall if they had an open shift again. If they didn't, then it wasn't a big deal to me.

But things just reached a breaking point for me, and I needed to start my break sooner than expected.

I called Cindy, to ask if we could sit down and talk, I didn't want to quit over the phone. But she pressed, asking what was up and I could just tell her over the phone. I said how bartending just wasn't as fun for me anymore and I didn't want to quit, I just wanted to take a break until the fall.

She was cool, as usual, about it, asking when I wanted my break to start. I told her that I'd like it as soon as possible.

I guess my Saturday nights are free for the first time since March 2006.


I'm glad to hear this. You deserve some free time and also, I don't like going to Mikie's anyway. :)

I understand about the closing of a "second home". Not to diminish what some had at Dipper's (admittedly, although I went there a fair bit in spurts, it never was a "home away from home"), T&J's was around for a lot longer and Gerry went above and beyond to make his customers feel like it was a second home. For instance, I brought my parents to T&J's from brunch and Jerry came over to meet them. My Dad and him ended up chatting for a long time about growing up in Ireland. Another example is when I got stuck going on a last minute business trip and had to plan a birthday party for another regular and good friend but I wasn't in town. I called Gerry up to set up some plans, and found out he didn't have any full cakes and his new order wasn't going to come in until after the birthday party. Gerry offered to go to City Bakery and pick up a cake (I ordered it and prepaid City Bakery over the phone), bring it to T&J's and have it all ready in their fridge for the surprise birthday party. And he came through for me. I didn't really know Dipper, but I don't know any other bar/restaurant owner that would do something like that.

On another note, is Mikie's hiring? I know some of the bartenders from T&J's are still looking for work. If so, I'll pass on the message. Thanks,

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on April 7, 2008 12:02 AM.

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