At one point when I was dating the bartender, I mentioned that I had stopped in and had a drink on one of the nights he wasn't working. To my pleasant surprise, when I asked for the check, I was handed an empty billfold. When I tried to leave a tip, I got chastised. I reported this back to the bartender, who replied, "the only reason you're drinking for free is because you're my girlfriend." After taking the opportunity to point out that he was the one who constantly insisted that I wasn't, in fact, his girlfriend, I said that I didn't think that he was right -- that I had actually become friendly with enough other folks there that they treated me well because I was a regular, and because they liked me. He didn't buy it.
Guess what -- I was right. Not that there was any real doubt, mind you. Every single time I go in there, I am treated extremely well, and feel incredibly welcome and comfortable. The other night, however, I was given service that went above and beyond the call of duty.
I had just finished having a drink with a friend, who had left, leaving a seat open next to me. I decided to stay for dinner, so I pulled out my magazine and continued to drink my wine. Suddenly, in walks another woman that the bartender had dated. We had met several times before, as she also lives in the neighborhood. Not only is she married (which should tell you something about the bartender, not to mention how appalled I am at my choice to date said bartender), but she is an awful person. She is not pleasant, not friendly, not interesting, nothing. I was introduced to her at least five times before she acknowledged having met me before. She proceeded to start talking to me and asking if I had heard from the bartender. I answered politely, but kept trying to return to my New Yorker and my wine, so I could sit in peace. One of the bartenders came over to take my order, and I must have given him a look that communicated how miserable I was on so many levels to be sitting next to this horrific woman. He, of course, also knew about each of us having dated the bartender, etc. Within two minutes, the bar manager came over and said, "Laren, a seat just opened up next to the folks you wanted to talk to at the other end of the bar. You'd better hurry down there before the seat gets taken." "Thanks, Dennis," I replied, and quickly hustled as far away as I could.
As I got down to the other end of the bar, they were just pulling a stool up to the end of the bar, trying to squish me in. I couldn't stop laughing -- I had been rescued. I thanked Bill and Dennis profusely. They said that they knew I'd do the same for them, and that I deserved it. On top of it all, they were very generous with the wine (as always). I left them a HUGE tip.
Don't forget to tip your bartenders, folks. They're great people to have in your corner.