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Put it DOWN!

When you go to a bar for four years, you end up making friendships with the bartenders. One of out favorite bartenders is Robert. Unfortunately, he only works “fill-in” shifts… which means that we might see him once in a month or twice in a week. Because Jennifer (morning shift) and Ian (some morning, some evening shifts) are out this week, Robert has been working at the bar every day since Tuesday… sometimes twice a day.

Since Robert was going to be at the bar so much, Janet and I decided that we would be spending a lot of time at the bar this week

Wednesday 12:00 noon

Since it was the day before a long weekend, nobody was at the office. Still, I put in a concerted effort and worked from home until noon. During this time, I fielded one phone call and processed 10 emails. When noon came around, I grabbed my pager, picked up my cell phone and headed down to the Toronado. (Side note if anyone from my office reads this: When I got back and checked my email, there was only one more real email on my system… nothing that needed any action.)

As planned, Robert was there. So I stopped in, put down my stuff and ordered up a sausage from Rosamunde. Then I sat down and ordered up an Aventinus. I would go through another couple of Aventinuses before leaving the bar for the afternoon.

Just as I got there, the few morning people left, and for the next few hours, It was: Robert, Tad the bouncer, Todd the other bouncer and me at the bar. Carlos arrived at the bar at 2:30ish and started in on his first round of Aventinus. We stayed until 3:45, and when we finally left for a comic store run only a few people were in the bar.

When the bar is empty, except for people I know… it feels less like a place, and more like my living room. The Toronado is where I do my entertaining… where I eat an occasional meal… there I listen to music and where I watch TV. On days like this, the Toronado becomes an extension of my home.

Wednesday 9:00pm

The three of us went back to the Toronado at 9pm, right after Robert started his second shift (he worked 11:30-4 and 9pm-2am on Wednesday). Since Carlos and I were still feeling the Aventinus from 5 hours earlier, we decided to stick with lighter beers. The two of us had Hoegaarden Whites and Janet went for a Guinness. Carlos left for home after the first beer, so Janet and I changed our seats tso we could talk to Tad. Tad, like Janet and me, decided to come in and keep Robert company because we figured that it was going to be a slow night. Boy, were we wrong.

The bar wasn’t extremely crowded, but the people who were there were in rare form. The first annoyance of the night started at about 10pm. Tad had decided to head out to get a breath of fresh air, leaving his books and a half-full Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout in an Anderson Valley logo beer-stein. The bar has about 8 of these glasses, using them for the when regular customers order an Anderson Valley beer.

Anyway, a couple of blonde bimbettes came in right after Tad left and ordered up an Old Foghorn Barleywine and a sparkling water. Robert served up the beer and water and went back to serve other customers. One of the blondes brought the drinks over, and then a minute later grabbed Tad’s beer and brought it back to her table. I freaked.

Avery: “What the fuck do you think that you’re doing?”
Blonde: “Oh, that isn’t my beer?”
Avery: “It’s half-fucking-full. Of course it isn’t your beer.”
Blonde: “Oh, sometimes I get my beers confused. I thought it was my Old Foghorn” (Even though her Old Foghorn was sitting right in front of her on the table.)
Avery: “You only ordered a barleywine and a water. I just saw you take both of them back to your table. Then you come back 5 minutes later and grab this beer. What the fuck were you doing?”
Blonde: “Why, is it yours?”
Avery: “No, it belongs to the fucking person who has been sitting here all night!”

I then grabbed the beer and brought it back to the seat. I spent the next hour re-telling the story to Tad, Robert, Todd and anyone else who wanted to hear. Needless to say, almost everybody was staring them down. About 15 minutes later, I had to get up to go to the bathroom. When I got back, I found the blondie talking to Tad, apologizing and offering to buy him a beer. She tells him that she just wanted to steal the glass as a souvenir. Tad tells her that he’s an employee. Tad tells Robert. She leaves a few minutes later.

After that, a moronic British guy sidles up next to Janet and asks Robert for his “Worst Non-Alcoholic Beverage.” Robert scoops up a pint full of soapy, dirty dish water and passes it to him. He asks what it is. Robert tells him. British guy then asks more specifically for a non-alcoholic beer.

Somewhere throughout this, I managed to polish off a couple of Boont Ambers.

Talking about non-alcoholic beer, a girl comes in and asks for the bottled beer list. You can tell the type immediately. She expects to find Amstel Light or Heineken. She gives him the list and asks for a Bud Light. Robert starts laughing… then he stops and apologizes for laughing. I immediately chime in, saying “Hell, I don”t work here… what did she order?” Robert tells me. I burst out in hysterics. She plaintatively states: Aw, come on, it’s not that bad. I keep on laughing. Robert offers something else. She asks what’s like Bud here. Robert honestly says: Nothing.

At 1am, we decided that it was time to go home, so we would be in a condition to come back on Thursday, after dinner.

Thursday 8:00pm

The Toronado was scheduled to be closed on Thanksgiving, but Robert offered to open up from 5-12 at the last minute, figuring that if he kept the place open, a few locals would wander in. So, Janet and I decided to come out to the Toronado after dinner for a few beers.

When we arrived, the bar was relatively empty… there were maybe 6 people there when we got there a little after 8pm. However, by the time we left at 10:30, the bar would be filled with a collection of locals and tourists. Janet started off with a Framboise and then moved on to a Guinness. I stuck with Hoegaardens and Lagunators.

Friday 11:30am

Since Janet had to work this morning, we decided to meet at noonish at the Toronado. I got there at 11:30 on the dot and ordered up a Lagunator. Until Janet got there at 12:30ish, Robert and I were the only people there (OK, Todd stopped in to say “hi” but that’s all.)

The three of us (Robert, Janet and me) all had our hearts set on a sausage lunch, so after Janet got in, I walked over to see if Jeff had fired up the grill. Unfortunately, Jeff was only there to do some cleaning, and wasn’t planning on opening up. So, we had to settle on getting cheesesteaks from Metro Cafe. They were tasty, but not what we were craving. However, the note on Rosamunde’s door informed us that they would be open until 2am on Saturday, so I’ll still get my fix, even if it is delayed by an hour.

The afternoon passed quickly, as we watched football (go Mountaineers!) and talked. However, by 2:30, we knew it was time to head home for a rainy day nap and to write up our exploits of the last few days.

We’re going back tomorrow, so expect more updates sometime on Sunday.

Posted in The Barfly Chronicles.

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