…and all I got was this little t-shirt.1
Despite all my pre-event hand wringing, the Jim & Rocky Barback Pro-Am turned out to be a lot of fun.
Of course, this wasn’t your usual barback shift. At least, I’m told most don’t start with a round of Jägerbombs at the joint across the street.
My job as barback was to make sure patrons had sufficient water,2 clear their glasses as they finished their cocktails, keep the counter clean, and help the bartender in whatever way he asked. This ended up including dry shaking, breaking large ice blocks into ones small enough to fit old fashioned glasses, and fetching salt when someone3 asked for an off-menu margarita. Also participating in a round of shots whenever Jim or Rocky deemed it was time to do so.
I learned many lessons during my shift. A few of the most memorable:
- The cameraman promised me he’d get out of my way. He was not always able to live up to that promise.
- Cobbler shakers confound me. I can’t keep them tightly sealed while shaking them. I can’t get them separated once the drink has been strained out. That’s why I switched to Boston shakers. Naturally, someone4 lent cobblers to Jim for the evening so I got to struggle with cleaning them all night.
- I do not have a knack for remembering who ordered which drink when. It was embarrassing enough when the bartender asked me for whom I called the drink. It was even worse when several minutes later I was politely asked by the customer whatever happened to that Industry Old Fashioned he ordered.
- If I don’t want to use my hands, never attempt to manhandle ice into a glass using a metal ice scoop while standing over the ice bin.5
- No matter how amusing it seems in the context of the current bar trash talk, when the bartender yells, repeatedly, “THAT’S NOT DONE” — he is almost certainly referring to that surprisingly full mixing glass I am dumping into the sink
A huge thank you to everybody who came to Rob Roy to join in the fun. Thanks to Jim Romdall and Rocky Yeh for inviting me to participate. Thanks to Rob Roy for hosting, and to Jamie Boudreau for allowing us to give him time to go eat dinner at Canlis’ pop-up restaurant.
And no, I don’t think I’ll be changing careers for any time soon. I’ll bide my time in front of the stick6 for the time being.
 Actually, I did get a larger shirt at the end of my shift. And lost the red one somewhere between Zig Zag and home.
 And goldfish crackers, this being Rob Roy.
 Damn you, Evan Martin!
 Damn you, Jamie Boudreau!
 Luckily, I was stopped before anything bad happened.
 See what I did there?