Bartending at the Beacon Pub is my night job, the job besides "author." And actually it's the job that pays the bills, my writing income doesn't even come close to covering my needs. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see that especially lately I've been super stressed out because business at the Beacon has been so slow. Contrary to popular belief, bars are not recession proof. Maybe in the past, people drank their troubles away when they were broke and actually, they probably still do, but they do so at home. Or when they come out, more often than not, they stiff the bartender. (FYI, for those of you wondering what the tip standard is today, it is $1 per drink. At least in Chicago. I've heard that in other cities, people actually tip more. And if your drink is complicated, tip more. Or if you want to make friends with the bartender so they will buy you drinks later, tip more. And if you are buying a round, tip for every drink. Oh and please tip more than a dollar when buying a pitcher. You're going the cheap route with the beer, so don't stiff the bartender. And when buying multiple shots, also be sure to tip more than a dollar. Shots are more difficult to make most times and they also take more of our time, meaning we are not serving as many customers as we could be.)
Anyway... you may also see my rants about crazies that make their way into the Beacon from time to time. And I will start my bartender blog one of these days to share these stories. So sometimes I've had friends ask me, well, why don't you just bartend some place else if the Beacon isn't getting much business. And my answer is absolutely not. Why? For one, I think all bars are hurting. For two, if I had to bartend in a trendy bar/club, I'd kill my customers, plus I'm doubtful I'd make that much more because bad tippers tend to frequent those kinds of places and in a bigger bar, there are more people you have to tip out to. I'm the only person working during my shift, which sucks sometimes (though usually one of the other bartenders is there hanging out or the owner is or one of the regulars will jump in to help if I get slammed, or defend me if I need to throw some jackass out), but I tip out to no one.
But the *main* reason why I stay at the Beacon is because I love my regular customers. Many of them have become true friends. I've learned a lot from them. They take care of me. We have great conversations, like last night was terribly slow even for a Sunday, but even though I walked out broke I'd had a few great conversations that night. And they are just a fucking blast to be around as you will see in this photo documentation of the Beacon Pub Halloween Party.
So I picked a zombie theme because I loved dressing up as a zombie last year and I love making zombie drinks. Scott and I spent forever trying to decided what kind of zombies we'd be. Bride & Groom was a popular suggestion due to our recent marriage. And we were leaning that way... or gonna go with what we already had either rock star or catholic school girl (I have lots of plaid skirts) for me and mechanic for him. But then we found a "grunge" wig at the costume store. And I decided he must be zombie Kurt Cobain and I must be zombie Courtney Love. I'm actually surprised I didn't think of it sooner. And that I've never gone as Courtney before, but I guess since I spent all of high school dressing like her it wouldn't have been much of a costume. But zombiefied it was. If you enlarge the photo you will see the added touches of barrettes that say Courtney and a cigarette in my hair.
Now before I show you pics of me with my Kurt, let me just say we totally didn't mean to be distasteful. Nirvana's my favorite band. I was very depressed when Kurt killed himself, so we didn't want to mock that with a head wound. Umm the head wound happened by accident. We had this fake scar stuff and Scott was trying to figure out where to put it and he couldn't put it on his cheek because of his facial hair, so he put it on his head and then we were like oh.... So that's the disclaimer. No disrespect meant. And Scott's added touch, I made him a "Grunge is Dead" t-shirt like Kurt wore once. I thought it fit the zombie theme...
In that last picture, we are finally at the Beacon. And that was the best part of Halloween. We had a costume contest judged by these fabulous people, Molly and Tim, barmaid and beer:
Here are some various shots of the contest:
Molly tries to organize people:
Here I am with the first place winner, who was not a regular just someone who came in with a group all dressed up, but the costume was just awesome:
Second place went to some of my favorite customers, BethEllen and Frank and their friend who came as the Blue Man Group. They had elaborate instruments, but I didn't get a pic of those.
Third place went an awesome couple who live across the street from the Beacon (yes, I love neighborhood bars, especially when the bar has such good neighbors) Vanessa and Jay, zombie flight attendant and construction worker.
And then this was the highlight of the night, when Scott and Paul decided that since Tim was dressed up as a bottle, he needed to be poured into a our large Stella glass. A brilliant idea and this right here is why I love my customers and I (mostly) love my job.
So now that you have seen what an awesome bar the Beacon is, feel free to stop by and visit me on Sunday, Wednesday or Saturday nights (but only if you are over 21!!! I card hard!). It's at 101 Circle in Forest Park. And we will be having another Halloween party next year, probably adding a pumpkin carving contest per Molly's brilliant suggestion. I'll still serve zombie drinks, but I think I'll just be a pirate. The zombie makeup was itchy two years in a row....
That was my Halloween. How was yours?