New York nightlife workers tell us what really goes on behind the scenes
We all suspect that there's more going on at our favorite bars and restaurants than what meets the eye. "From the Other Side of the Bar" gives nightlife staff the opportunity to share their funniest, most absurd experiences working behind the scenes. Do you want to go behind the scenes at a bar or nightlife spot in your city? We're looking for your stories. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
I once had a coworker who had been fired under suspicious circumstance. Like, it seemed like some drug stuff was going on. I hadn't seen him in months, but one night he came in just obviously already wasted. He sat down at the bar and started screaming at me about Battlestar Galactica plot points while continually reaching over the bar to try to hug me.
The whole staff was feigning enjoyment at seeing him, when really we were weirded out by this sloppy, overly effusive guy sitting at the bar with all the businessmen. He sat down at the bar and pretty much immediately fell asleep. This was really not cool. It was probably 6:30 PM. I shook him awake, gave him grilled cheese sandwich and water to try to sober him up. He starts eating sandwich, then ten minutes later puts his head down and I think he's gone back to sleep. Suddenly, he sort of perks up, stands up and says he's got to leave. We're all very relieved to be rid of him, until a couple minutes later someone informs us that when he put his head down after eating, he was apparently puking all down the side of the bar and onto his chair and the floor. There's this disgusting mess and it's extremely humiliating because all the other patrons thought this guy was our friend.
As it's being cleaned up, some guy starts complaining that his black Hermes scarf was missing from the bar, so we're all searching for it, calling security, all that.
Fast forward to two hours later: someone found our former co-worker sleeping in the corner of the elevator, covered in puke, wearing the Hermes scarf (also now covered in puke). No one knows what he was doing for those two hours.
One time a very famous indie singer was staying with us while she did the music spot on SNL. One of our bartenders was chatting her up hard all night. She's very attractive. To our amazement, she invited him to hang after his shift was over, and they were sort of getting closer and closer. All the staff was looking on in amazement. Apparently, she invited him up to her room that night and they hooked up, but she had a really early flight in the morning and had to run.
She got up to leave, but told him to sleep in and do whatever. Well, when he woke up he realized that she had frantically thrown all her clothes in her suitcase and run out the door, but in the process of doing that she had thrown all of his clothes in her suitcase as well.
So he was stuck in the room without a stitch of clothing. And since it's technically not allowed for staff to hang out with guests in their rooms, he had to be chill about it. He ended up putting on one of the robes and trying to nonchalantly walk through the lobby at 1 PM to get to the worker's locker rooms, so he could put on his bartender outfit and go home.
He quit not too long after that, but he still comes into the bar sometimes with the same singer and just orders things he knows we don't have on the menu, then expects us to go out and buy them, in a bizarre power move.
I was bartending and this couple came in. It was around noon when they came in; they had just checked in. They wanted some champagne. There was no one else there, so they kept talking to me and trying to buy me a drink. Over and over, they kept saying the same type of thing to me: "We want to get into crazy trouble tonight, what are you doing?" I just thought they wanted to go to a club, so I said, "I'm not really cool. I'll ask a cool person where the good clubs are." But they were like, "What are you doing?"
"Me personally? Probably going home and watching television."
They laughed at that and kept repeating "We want to go crazy! We want to get into trouble!" I thought maybe they wanted me to get them drugs, but I was unsure. They left without further incident, but returned in the evening.
We were chatting again and all of a sudden this crazy bald dude with a weird comb over came in accompanied by a 6'5" trans woman. The got his zipper stuck on his jacket and they started arguing about it. She kept yelling that she was going to leave him, though it wasn't really clear why, as he struggled to get his jacket off.
She then walked over the the couple and handed them a card that said, "Da'von Cumz" and told them, "Once you see my cock you'll never forget me." At this point, it's only like 6 PM, so this is such an insane scene with the comb over dude complaining and still trying to remove his outerwear and this extremely tall sex worker trying to get a new client right in front of him. They accepted her card and she eventually left.
The couple was about to leave. They came up to me and said "We want to get crazy tonight, so if you or a friend or a friend of a friend is around, just call us." So I was wondering if they just wanted coke. But then they said, "Room 806," left a copy of their roommate key on the bar, and winked at me very elaborately and I finally realized that wanted to have a threesome with me.
One really rich guy wanted to throw his girlfriend a surprise birthday party in a private space we have available for rental. He seemed like such a sweet guy. He had us buy all sorts of roses and balloons to decorate the entire room and kept double checking to make sure everything was perfect. Once we were done it was just utterly romantic, with pink balloons everywhere and little macaroons on trays.
So hours later the party begins. She's surprised and so happy. The whole thing is adorable. All their ritzy friends show up and it's open bar, so people are getting sloshed, but it was one of the more enjoyable parties I've worked. Now the birthday girl and the rich guy start leaving over and over to go to the bathroom, if you know what I mean. And they start getting really amped. After a while they come back to the party and she's changed into this totally see-through gown that probably cost more than my rent.
An hour later they leave and come back and start strutting around the party getting really weird. When I walk back in the room he is wearing a collar and has a ball gag in his mouth and she is leading him around the party on a chain wearing her transparent outfit. He is crawling around like a dog. All their friends are still there, just totally blase about the scene unfolding in front of them. I think that's the best party I ever worked.