Thursday, September 14, 2006

Last Call

There is a great bar on the upper West side of New York called the P&G Cafe.

It's been open since 1942 and is unfortunatley closing when its lease is up next year.

Mike Taranto, the weekend bartender, recently wrote a letter on a messageboard somewhere (I don't know where it was forwarded to me by a friend) that expressed his dissapointment of the place closing but to quote: "If CBGB’s or the Bottom Line couldn’t be saved, I don’t give us much of a chance."

I'd add The Wetlands to that list.

Anyway, he also told a story at the end of his message which I thought was really cool and should be seen by all. We're not so different after all:

In the end, I feel pretty fortunate to have been part of something that meant a great deal to a great many people. I guess I wouldn’t be worth my apron if I didn’t end this with an appropriate story.

A few years ago, average guy walks into my bar on an average Friday Night. I could tell by how he greeted me, ordered his drink, etc. that he was a good guy. I gave him a buy-back (one on the house) early.

For those of you who may not know, buy-backs are how New York bartenders show customers that they are welcome.

He stayed for a few more then went home. Sure enough he comes in the next night. Now this time I really want to make him feel at home so I introduce him to one of my regulars who also happens to be a good guy. Part of the bartender’s art is to put people who you think will get along together. Now these two are having a very pleasant conversation and getting along great. Before you know it they are buying drinks for one another. As the evening wore on, their conversation got around to the "what do you do, where are you from" part.

Turns out they both come from the same part of the world.

They both came from the Middle East.

One was from Egypt, the other from Israel. Turns out they were both in their respective militaries years back.

It is still difficult for me to describe what it was like as their conversation led towards the realization that they were both on the same part of the same battlefield at the same time.

I hope you are all fortunate enough to get to experience at least one truly profound moment in your life. Here, in my little corner of the world were two people who some time in their past were literally trying to kill each other, but now here they were, talking to each other, buying each other drinks, forming a friendship that has lasted to this day. People sometimes ask me what the biggest tip was I ever got in my 18-plus-years as a New York bartender. Hands down, no doubt… Hope.

They tell me it’s going to be a bank.

1 comment:

anne altman said...

fuck! fuck. what will become of the neon?

i can't take another goddamned bank. who are the people with all this money that needs putting into all these banks?

i'm depressed.