Its on a Thursday around noon that I walk into the "school" room to look around. There is a long dark "L" shaped bar counter that prominently takes center stage, the kind of thing you would see in any pub, restaurant, or night club. Behind the counter are three back walls, each fully stocked with liquor and liqueur bottles. (These are, I will later learn, all filled with water and paints or food coloring to give them the appropriate colour and thickness.) There are about seven other people in the room, some behind the bar mixing, and some in front ordering drinks out of a book or off of handwritten recipe cards.
As I take all of this in someone walks up to me and extends his hand, "Hi," he says, "I'm Anthony, We talked over the phone and I run the school." He motions me through a door behind the bar and we head down a hallway to a set of offices set catty-corner to each other. There is another instructor in the other office working on something on a computer. Other than social niceties I would not speak with him for the duration of my classes.
Anthony directs me to a seat across from his desk and immediately starts talking about himself, the school, and the profession. He got his start in a 4-Star restaurant learning the industries highest standards. After some time behind bars and in management positions he established the school. The school is part of a network with a a sister school in Charlotte, NC. I also learn he is about 10 years older than I am.
Then the questions are directed toward me, do I like people, can I listen to, and tell, stories in a neutral setting and tone, have I ever worked in the service industry before? I tell him some of my past, 9 years active duty military, Navy and Marines. I have never worked in the service industry, but bar-tending is something that I have wanted to do for a couple years now.
Satisfied that I know what I am getting into he starts the sales pitch. Programs and offers, two week or one week course, discounts for it being early in the year and 'due to the economy'. I will be expected to complete 40 hours of classroom time, a written midterm and final, and have close to 100 recipes memorized by the time class is done. There will be a speed test to test the memorization, and a free hand pour test for accuracy.
I sign up for the 2 week class at a heavy discount and am told to be there the following Monday morning at 9 am.
That's all for now,