Last week we asked some bartenders what their bar trend pet peeves are. Here now is industry vet and Goro & Gun bar manager Alexander Gregg on what bugs him in the industry.
Call me crazy, but my current pet peeve is what many industry pros call 'bad bar noise.' The violent slamming of the tins to get a seal – so hard the entire bar top shakes – followed a pitter patter signature cadence of Rainman-esque taps and slaps with the tins. Granted, there will always be that one drink (usually an expansive one—cream, eggs, etc.) that just won't stay sealed and that needs a little extra coaxing, but that should be the exception. I have sat in front of people that slam their tins so violently that I instantly get a headache and began to wonder what I did wrong, thinking to myself 'why are you trying to hurt me with this unnecessary cacophony?'
In the same realm of 'bad bar noise' is the slamming of bottles into the trash can. While it may be cool and even add to the ambience at your favorite live music venue or ice house, it has no business in craft bars or any restaurants. It is not hard to just take one extra half a second and gently ease that empty bottle into your slim jim especially since it will greatly impact the ambience of your space. On the same topic, sparkling wine bottles should hiss when opened and not pop. Popping champagne doesn't tell the world 'party,' it tells the world you don't know how to open a bottle of wine.
I would also like to add, pet peeves aside, that this is by far the most exciting and rewarding time to be in this business. Five years ago, you could count on one hand the number of bars that squeezed fresh lemon and lime juice in Houston, and the only places that jiggered were trying to rip you off. Today I could not even count, even if I tried, the number of places with fresh juice, using proper technique to stir, shake and measure with inventive seasonal menus and ingredients. It is such an amazing thing to see people walking into places and calling for Vieux Carré and Southsides, it is just proof to me that this movement that many dismissed early on as a trend, is here to stay and is quickly becoming 'the way things are done.'
Alexander Gregg [Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle]