Last night was, in the words of everyone I spoke with, ridiculous.
The restaurant I work at is located in a small sleepy town right on the ocean. People live to surf and surf to live, rising at dawn to get a head start on the lineup at Hookipa. We go to bed early here - everything is pretty much shuttered by 10pm except for one bar that is open until 2 every night. And then there's us. We stay open late one or two nights a week, but for the most part we are focused on serving food, not running a nightclub. However, the event last night was so epic - so completely and totally nuts - that we will either try to make it happen every weekend from now on, or die trying. This was Extreme Hometown Bartending at it's finest. A nutty mix of locals. regulars, visitors, and fine young things all pursuing one common purpose - to dance and drink until the lights came up and it was time to move the party elsewhere or stagger home.
At one point, I was standing behind the bar with 5 people shouting at me. The Beautiful People were out in full force, 3 deep all the way down the bar, waving cash and credit cards and calling my name. It was simultaneously very rock star, but also not as awesome as it sounds like it should have been. Trust me, I know that it sounds good, to have gorgeous men and women grabbing my hand as I walked by, pressing money into my palm and leaning forward to grab my head and pull it toward them so they could whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Only it wasn't sweet nothings, it was drink orders. And they weren't whispering, they were screaming at the top of their lungs.
We were out of glasses. We were out of ice. We were out of Patron and running low on RedBull - two key ingredients to a succesful night behind the bar. I couldn't find the cranberry juice. Or my bottle opener. All of the cocktail shakers had vanished. And I just stood there, for a minute, trying to collect my thoughts and formulate some kind of plan.
"This is just silly." I said, to no one in particular.
All around me, the crowd was shouting and jostling. The music was thudding. A fight broke out. Someone handed me the bottom half of a broken glass, and for an instant I was more upset that we had lost another precious glass, than concerned about someone getting hurt. But I cleared my head, made eye contact with my manager, and made a few furious gestures which brought him running. "GLASS!" I shouted, holding up the shards. He took off running for the broom.
Then, of course, someone got hurt.
Sami was keeping an eye on the bar last night from the back of the room, having taken on the role of security for the night's event, when a girl grabbed his arm and started shouting in his ear. My hoochie radar was on full blast with my handsome husband out mingling with the hot surfer girls. Girls are forever trying to grab at him or get his attention, which is charming and amusing........sometimes. Other times, I have to pull the possessive girl bit, where I walk right up and let him put an arm around me while I watch the girls expression change from "sexy flirt" to "oh shit". So when the pretty girl approached my husband, and I looked up to see her leaning in and talking animatedly, I started paying attention. All I have to say is, it's a good thing her girlfriend was bleeding if she's gonna be touching my husband like that. So he went to fetch bandaids and gauze, and I turned my attention to the guy who picked up the three beers he had just bought, and then promptly dropped one on the concrete floor. I found Dave in the crowd and furiously waved my arms in the air, pointing towards the broken glass/bleeding girl/drunk guy situation we had brewing in the corner.
The evening was coming apart at the seams.
The floor was littered with trash and broken glass. People were standing shoulder to shoulder. The music was thudding away, there was a woman with a mic singing over the house music, the dance floor was packed and pulsing to the beat pounding out of the speakers.
I was now totally out of Red Bull.
And then in the next moment all of the lights came on and the music went off and I was thinking "Oh My Gosh I didn't even hear last call!" And then I thought "Wait a minute, I'm the bartender. I call last call. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?" And then suddenly the two girls working the door checking IDs and collecting the door charge are husting everyone out, and I am trying to get people to pay their tabs and someone handed in a missing purse and the broken glass was glittering and my ears were ringing and it seemed like I had spots flashing across my eyes...........but it turns out those were the lights from the police cruiser parked out front.
We done got shut down, folks.
They threatened to arrest Dave, who thankfully avoided detainment. He would never have survived the night in custody - he was wearing his new skinny jeans and he must have needed vaseline to get them on - I can't imagine how his pants would have gone over in a cell on a Saturday night. I think he would have been the most popular guy in jail, with his shiny poly shirt and purple skin-tight jeans, straight from the club with a good buzz on and some adrenaline flowing from the fights and the music and the crowd and the chaos. Yes, it's better that they let hm go, cut us all some slack, and hey - for what it's worth - the police sure do help to clear out the lingering crowd. As soon as the guns and uniforms arrive on the scene, suddenly everyone has somewhere else they need to be urgently. Except Dave - you just can't move that fast with pants that tight. You'll chafe.
21 hours ago