Category Archives: Cocktails

Of Bouncers and Doormen…

imageI have the opportunity to work as a “doorman” at a very nice Irish restaurant and sports pub in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on alternate Saturdays and when needed during large events. In my opinion the food is always very good. Delicious, large portions and beautifully presented. The staff is courteous, personable, attentive, friendly and, most importantly, fun! I like working with every one of them and like them on a personal level as well. In fact, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for the managing partner and his staff if it was in my power. I view this establishment as my establishment, not from an ownership point of view but from the standpoint that this is the first place I would bring my family and friends to for food and entertainment on a regular basis.

I’ve worked as a “doorman” before…in an Irish bar, known as Paddy’s Irish Pub located in Norfolk, Virginia, during the 1980’s. It was a “lively and rowdy” place and the clientele consisted of young, single women, sailors and Marines. Sadly(?) it’s gone now, replaced by a women’s shoe store.

The clientele who frequent the restaurant of this establishment are a more genteel and varied mix. From young families in their twenties and thirties who bring their children in for chicken fingers and fries to couples in their 30’s through 50’s who come in for date night and a quiet dinner by the fireplace, to those families who bring the grandparents in. The restaurant/pub is the venue for birthdays, anniversaries and other various celebratory events. In addition, the establishment hosts various charitable events as well and is active in their local community.

Patrons of the pub are generally men or couples between mid twenties to sixties who come to watch the many sporting events displayed on the multiple televisions throughout the pub and patio area. Almost every kind of sport is televised. Not only the main four of football, baseball, basketball and hockey but MMA fighting, cycling, rugby, soccer and others. The patronage varies depending upon the events being televised.

That all changes on Friday and Saturday nights and this is where me and my fellow “doormen” come in…

On Friday and Saturday nights we get a younger “demographic”. Many “young adults”, those who have just reached the legal drinking age, come in to the pub to get together to enjoy each other’s company and to enjoy the entertainment on those evenings. On Friday we generally have a DJ which is when we get the larger of the younger crowd but we also get a substantial number during the live music on Saturdays as well. This is when the establishment requires “doormen”. Some call us “bouncers” but we prefer “doormen”.

Let me explain the purpose of the “doorman”. We are not there to intimidate or be surly and gruff. We are not there to prove that we’re tough. Our first and foremost purpose is to welcome you to the establishment and ensure that those not of legal age are not served alcohol. We do this by checking IDs at the door of the establishment. House rules in our specific establishment are that no one under the age of 21 is admitted to the pub area without parents or legal guardians. During special events or when we have a large crowd we frequently issue wristbands to identify those who are over 21. This is to make it easier for you to be served alcoholic beverages by making it easier and faster for our bartenders and servers to identify you as one who is of legal age.

To establish who is of legal drinking age we thoroughly examine your drivers license, state issued ID or passport and, if we are not certain your ID is valid, we will ask for a second form of ID. House rules in our establishment are to ask for ID from anyone who looks as if they’re 35 or younger. Most young adults are very cooperative when we ask for ID. However some get offended and others get belligerent. It is not an insult to ask for your ID, it is a compliment. In addition, I’m 60 years old…everyone looks young to me. To those who are belligerent at the door you will be refused entrance. If you’re already giving me an issue before you get in then arguing with me or insulting me is NOT going to convince me to let you in and drink alcohol so you can become a BIGGER problem.

To those who are underage who try to use fake IDs to get in. We are not trying to “spoil your fun” and underage drinking is not a “game”. If an establishment is caught serving drinks to underage people they can lose their license and be closed. Though many of the bartenders and servers enjoy working with the public the reality is that they do what they do for a living. Working at this establishment helps them pay their rent, pay their bills and supports their families. Some are single parents who are not only trying to support a family but go to school to better their lives. The establishment has a large staff of not only bartenders and servers but management, hostesses and hosts, a chef, cooks, kitchen staff, food runners and dishwashers. All these people depend upon this establishment for their livelihood. You’re underage and drink? We get closed by the Liquor Control Board and all these people lose their jobs, just because you were selfish and wanted to have some “fun”. As doormen we’re not being your personal “buzz kill”….we are protecting the means by which the staff provides for themselves and their families.

Our secondary purpose is to ensure that everyone had a good but SAFE time and that one persons’ good time doesn’t infringe upon somebody else. We like our patrons. Our establishment is one that generates its income by providing good food, drink and a good time. We don’t make money if we have to ask people to leave. We want our customers to enjoy themselves but do not condone behavior or actions that may injure themselves or other persons. If two or more buddies start wrestling or punching each other as a joke, we’ll step in as we’ve found that sometimes this type of clowning around gets out of hand. Somebody falls or hits his buddy too hard and that person gets hurt. Or somebody falls into another customer or accidentally punches another customer and that customer either gets hurt or a physical altercation gets started…then a number of people get hurt.

If you start to dance on a barstool we’ll have you get down. We don’t want anyone to fall or get hurt and, not to sound snobby, but anyplace where families bring their children in to have dinner is not the “barstool/bartop” dancing type of establishment.

If we believe someone is inebriated we will thank them for their patronage but refuse to serve them any further, ask them to call a cab or UBER and have them to leave. Once again, we like and appreciate our customers and we are glad you choose our establishment to enjoy yourself. But we want you to get home safely so that you can visit us again at a future date.

As a “doorman” at a few establishments over the years I have viewed the behaviors outlined above and have experienced negative feedback from some patrons which prompted me to write this article. We want people to patronize our establishments. Your patronage also pays our wages and we appreciate your business. The better time you have in our establishment the more you will come and visit us. This makes our establishment more successful and ensures that we’ll be here for you to visit in the future. It is my hope that this article helps explain our role as doormen and helps to better your experience.

The Ultimate Killer Dirty Martini, By “Uncle” Dave


  • One (1) elegant “Man Sized” martini glass
  • Martini and Rossi Vermouth
  •  Your favorite vodka (the author prefers Pinnacle, Stoli’s or Absolute)
  • Olive juice
  • One chrome cocktail shaker
  • Your favorite stuffed olives (the author prefers Garlic, Blue Cheese or Feta stuffed)
  • Silver Toothpicks


I have never had a martini before……

My friend Dave, (“Uncle” Dave to my son, Nicky) one of the group of my closest friends, known as “the  Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” introduced me to the drink.

He also introduced me to Absinthe, a drink that involves a sugar cube in a spoon and an arcane ritual with flames and fire…. That was the night when we decided that we should obtain a copy of Van Gogh’s “Self Portrait”…. the one with the bandage over the missing ear (as he had decided to cut the ear off and send it to his girlfriend as a profession of his love, guys do the dumbest stuff when drunk) to remind us of the hazards of drinking such a potion ever again…..

Van Gogh with missing ear…love stinks…

We also bought a fire extinguisher….

Dave used to live across the hall from me in our apartments above the Drawbridge Inn, once the best bar and restaurant in Mystic, Connecticut, sadly gone now. He had a habit of knocking on the door and, when I opened the door, would thrust some alcoholic concoction in my hand saying “Here, drink this”….

“What is it?” I would ask….

“Don’t be a sissy, just drink it”…..

I think I was his guinea pig……

But, I digress. It was an unseasonably warm evening (low 50’s) in February in Kittery Maine. We had driven up from Connecticut to spend the weekend with Dave and his wife, Sally. Our first trip to Maine. After a wonderful steak dinner, which included much wine, I was standing on the back patio when Dave comes out with two cigars and two HUGE glasses with three olives on a silver toothpick immersed in a slightly cloudy liquid.

“Here, drink this”…..

“What is it?”

“It’s a Dirty Martini, don’t be a sissy…just drink it”…..

The first sip damn near knocked me on my @ss, but after that the drink went down smooth and tasted very good. Slightly salty but with a bite to the aftertaste. I even ate the olives….and I hated olives before this experience. So, naturally, I had to have another….

I don’t remember much after the second drink but I was not in jail when I woke up the next morning, still had all my clothes on and felt surprisingly good…. I’ve been hooked on the cocktail ever since.

I had Dave teach me his method of making the cocktail. In addition to mixing the ingredients he also taught me that preparing a good martini is an art form in itself.

Martini glassware….”Man Sized” glasses are left and middle….

Take your elegant  “Man Sized” martini glass and pour a splash (about 1/8th inch) Martini and Rossi vermouth in the bottom. Tilt the glass on it’s side till the liquid is just below the rim and slowly rotate the glass. This will cause the vermouth to coat the inside of the glass. Once the inside is completely coated pour out the excess vermouth. Using the cap from your cocktail shaker, pour two (2) measures (jiggers) of vodka (about 4 oz) into your ice filled shaker. Dave used Pinnacle vodka for this (excellent!) and, depending on the size of your glass, you may want to pour 3 jiggers/6 oz. Then pour in 3/4 jigger of olive juice for 4oz of vodka or 1 and 1/2 jiggers for 6oz into your shaker. Replace the lid AND the cap and shake vigorously for 7 shakes. Remove cap and strain liquid into your martini glass. Take your silver (or chrome) toothpicks and spear 3 stuffed olives of your choosing. For my first martini Dave used garlic stuffed. As martini making is an art, the fluid level should be about 1/4″ below the rim of your glass when done to create a pleasing presentation of the cocktail.

Tools of the Trade……Note the toothpicks… Though not mentioned in the article these are stainless steel and are perfectly acceptable for presentation purposes……

Martinis have also influenced a  whole sub genre of art. From advertising posters to paintings to neon signs, shakers and barware.

Michael Godard – “Even Dirtier Martini”

Even some glassware are works of art….

martini flute with glass olive                         molded into stem


With an elegant glass, correct fluid level and silver (or chrome) toothpicks your Ultimate Killer Dirty Martini can be your own tasty masterpiece of art! Cheers!