An open letter to the bartender who wronged me


Dear Gauges,

That’s the fun little nickname I gave you since you look about 13 years younger than your bartending peers and because I admire your commitment to an earring trend that wasn’t even a good idea when it was super popular. I used to work in the neighborhood of your bar, Gauges, and I would come there for (dare I say) one of the best whiskey cocktails I’ve ever had. Earlier in the week I had bonded at work with an Irish customer about how impressed we are with the San Francisco specialized cocktail scene, and being that whiskey is my favorite liquor, your bar was my favorite.

I must clarify Gauges, that I do not come to your bar for the atmosphere – being surrounded by 300 drunk sorority girls and loud frat guys who THINK they’re funny but are actually just annoying, really isn’t my idea of a good time. I do not come to your bar for the food – I refuse to believe there’s not a better use of my $5 than a mediocre slider that’s about 2 inches in diameter. I come to your bar for THE DRINK. The ONE drink that I order every time I go, because, by some miracle, it IS worth the $10 you make me pay for it.

That is, until I met you, Gauges.

I came into your bar on a Saturday evening, with a couple friends who I had been bragging to, for days, about this whiskey drink that is “not too sweet” and “has just the right amount of bitters” and “even comes with homemade cherries.”

And when I sipped the drink you made me, it was impossible to ignore your mistake.

The wonderful whiskey drink I had been dreaming about since the last time I had it…was PINK.

Maybe you thought I wouldn’t notice that you gave me fucking grapefruit juice on ice…but I actually ENJOY the taste of whiskey; if I wanted a breakfast drink I would have gone to Trader Joe’s. I kind of don’t blame you for making that assumption, since the majority of women currently inhabiting the bar weren’t doing wonders for our reputation as a whole. It was 5 pm and they were already flocking to the one-person bathroom in pairs, like it was some sort of post-tequila shot shelter.

I normally would have overlooked an infraction like this, but since I am rarely in the neighborhood (and because I had talked this drink up and was lookin’ like a straight up fool) I decided to approach you. This was when you made your second, devastating mistake.

Normally when a customer approaches you Gauges, you are supposed to match their demeanor. What you did was exactly the opposite. Let me refresh your memory.

Me: Hi, (smiles), I order this drink all the time and it tastes totally different tonight, did you guys maybe change the recipe?
You: That’s how it’s made, every time, by the book.
Me: Well…I’ve had it a lot and it tastes completely different. It’s not even the right color.
You: Nope, that’s how it’s made, you must have just ordered the wrong drink.
Me: No…I know what I meant to order, this is it…it used to come with those homemade cherries you guys make.
You: That drink doesn’t come with cherries. Manhattans come with cherries, that’s probably what you meant to order.

(This is the part where I show you the menu and you look like a big dumb idiot because I am right, because I KNOW what drink I meant to order because I KNOW what a Manhattan is, because I’ve been drinking whiskey longer than you’ve been riding your skateboard to work).

The right response here would have been: “Whoops, my bad, I made you the wrong drink. Sorry about that…I’ll make you a new one.” I would have smiled and said, “Oh, no problem! Thanks for the new one” and everyone is happy.

Instead, you took a bad situation and made it 1000 times worse with your actual response:

You: “If I give you cherries will that make you happy?!”

Sure Gauges, it’s not like instead of giving me this drink that I love, which now costs $11, you gave me JUICE…but sure, toss a couple cherries on top of that, see if that calms my nerves and makes me forget about the 17 times you smugly interrupted me.

But oh poor Gauges, you just couldn’t stop there, could you? Instead of grabbing one of the toothpicks loaded with 4 or 5 of the delicious homemade cherries that were SUPPOSED to be in my drink in the first place, you plop ONE SINGLE cherry in my glass and say, “THERE, ARE YOU HAPPY!?”

No, Gauges. I’m not happy. In fact, I won’t be happy until I seek out your manager. Not as Destini, a sweet, loyal bar patron, who just wanted one, normal-colored, whiskey-tasting, cherry-filled cocktail…but as Rachel Johnson, well-known, badass, take-no-shit writer, who was coming to do a write up on your bar for a prestigious San Francisco food blog (that I’m going to create after this post).

I’m sure your manager (who also happens to be the owner) was super stoked to hear how rude you were to me. From what I hear, they normally react pretty positively to food critics walking out of their establishment because the only thing worse than the items they ordered, was their employees’ attitudes.

There’s consequences to your actions, Gauges. Like, having disgusting earlobes for the rest of your life. HAHAHA. Or getting fired for being a dick. (Uggggh, if only, right?!)

This drink is probably over-hyped by now anyway. Call me when you hit puberty.

Rachel Johnson, OUT!