The only remaining detail I haven’t covered was the dress code. White shirt, black pants, black socks, black shoes. I really didn’t have was black shoes that I could imagine standing in all evening. Quick trip to the shoe store and I had a pair of kind of ugly black new balance walking shoes. Well, they are comfortable.
That’s it, enough of the authorly procrastinating.
After my “day job” I hopped the SF MUNI N Train to Embarcadero, and the BART to 19th Street, Oakland. While in transit, I read over my collection of recipe cards one last time.
Nervously walked the block or two to Flower.
I said, “Hi,” to E. who showed me to the office where I could get changed. (I’d read it really isn’t wise to travel on public transit at night wearing waiter-like garb. Plus, given what other people wear in my office, showing up on Friday morning dressed in service clothes would inspire more questions than I felt like answering.)
By my estimate, Flower’s dining room seats about 75. There are an additional 20 seats at the bar. On Friday, they are open for dinner service until 11:00 PM, after which they serve a limited menu until midnight. I would describe the food as modern upscale comfort food. On most Friday nights there are three bartenders on duty. One specifically handles the drink orders from the dining room. This position is called “Wheel” or “Service Well.” The other two bartenders work the bar and sometimes help out with the dining room tickets if there are lots of drink orders at once.
After I got changed, I sat down with E. and he gave me the low down.
He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, look, this isn’t going to be easy. Usually a new bartender would get two training shifts, and then start working on a less busy night than a Friday. But, you’ll be an extra person, and if it gets to be too much, just tell us, and step off. No pressure. Since you don’t know the POS (the electronic system for placing orders), wine, food, or beer list, I’m going to put you on the service well and will work with you there. This way you won’t have to put in orders or handle cash. You’ll just be making the drinks for the dining room.
I couldn’t really think of anything salient, so we made some small talk and headed down to the bar. E. re-introduced me to L., who I’d met the last time I was at Flower, and P. who would be working the other end of the bar, where patrons waiting for tables placed orders.
The evening started a bit slow, which was nice. It gave me a chance to get used to where things were and E. a chance to critique any bad habits I might have. Mostly, my bad habits amounted to a tendency to guide ice into the mixing glass with my hand over the scoop and measuring with the amount in the jigger flat to the top, instead of slightly over pouring. “You want to see that Meniscus,” said L. I said, “What?” Damn college kids and their thesauruses.