Welcome back to Restaurant Confessionals, where we talk to the unheard voices of the restaurant industry from both the front- and back-of-house about what really goes on behind the scenes at your favourite establishments. In our latest installment, we hear from four people about working in bars across Britain during the Christmas season.
Waitress at an upmarket restaurant and bar, London The place where I worked was a fancy place. It had views all over the city and had a dress code—that should tell you what kind of a place it was.
Around Christmas, a couple once came into the restaurant and ordered no food. However, they proceeded to order and drink three bottles of wine which cost £650 a piece.
Halfway through the third bottle, I hear a smash from their table. I look round and the woman is holding a jagged glass that she had a few moments before smashed onto her partner's head. A mix of wine and blood was trickling down his head. The woman was screaming at him and one of the waiters had to restrain her.
The police were called but by the time they had arrived, the couple had made up and the guy didn't press charges. It was awful but I couldn't help thinking, You've just smashed about £200 worth of wine over his head.
Bartender at a suburban pub, West Midlands I got off pretty lucky when I worked in my hometown's pub. Around Christmas, most of my bar stories are generally pretty sad and involve girls paying for their vodka and soda water with pennies from the bottom of their bag.
But some of my friends weren't so lucky.
A guy I know had a particularly rowdy customer so he told the man he had to leave. The man had half a pint left in his glass so he downed it, but proceeded to throw up into his glass. It was the final straw and the bartender told the man that he really had to get out. In response, the man downed the glass of sick and then left.
Cocktail waitress in a bar, Exeter I was working behind the bar and a particularly rowdy group of men came in. They all proceeded to order something ridiculous like 30 Jägerbombs. The music was blaring and it was a really busy night.
About half an hour after I'd served the group, I was put on glass duty, which is possibly the worst job ever. You have to go around the crowded bar and collect all the dirty glasses and clean up any spillages, while annoying men occasionally try and grab your ass as you walk by.
On this particular occasion, I was carrying loads of glasses all the way up my arm and a man from the group I'd served earlier dropped his glass right in front of me (it seemed like he'd done it deliberately) and the glass smashed all over the floor. I put the glasses I was carrying down, got the dustpan and brush, and squatted down in front of him to clean up his mess.
He then came right up to my face while I was still squatting and started to unbutton his jeans and slowly move them south while all his mates were laughing. I immediately stood up, told him to fuck off, and went to get the bouncer. I think he was chucked out in the end.
Waitress in a wine shop and bar, London The wine shop I worked in was always pretty quiet in the daytime. You'd get posh couples come in choosing wine for their dinner parties but everyone was always nice.
But in the evening, the back of the shop turned into a bar which served wine and cheese. Around Christmas, the nights would get busier and busier as people came in to catch up with friends before the holidays and groups would come in for after-work drinks with colleagues.
Perfectly polite customers would start doing things like stealing cheese from the plates we were preparing.
It always amazed me how a couple of glasses of Prosecco can change people. Perfectly polite customers would start doing things like stealing cheese from the plates we were preparing while our backs were turned. But one time, things really got out of hand.
There were a few of groups in and after a couple of hours, everyone was wasted. Like I said, the bar area is just the back of the shop so it's really small and there are only a couple of tables. All of a sudden, there were raised voices and two of the groups started squaring up to each other (which is a funny sight in itself when they're balding men). What were they fighting over? Sitting on one of the tables.
My colleague ended up having to get between them to calm them both down and remind them that they were grown men, not squabbling nursery school kids. It wasn't all bad, though. They felt really bad and tipped us £60 each.