This post is a wee bit late today? Why? I am going to tell you about the glamorous life of bar management. Think running a bar is a dream in a land full of beautiful women and cheap booze? Let me pull the curtain back a bit.
So after my adventures in food poisoning and then having to drag my ass out of bed to take photos at the sister bar I work for I then had to pull a shift at my own bar because the other manager was sicker than me. Since it was Halloween here a manager was needed.
That means I dragged my dead tired, half dehydrated ass up to my own bar and started my shift on what was technically my day off. Why? It’s a job. Doesn’t matter how shit you feel if there is no one else to cover and you are in better shape than the other guy guess what? You get to go in and work.
No such thing as a sick day.
Boss Have Problem
I have come to dread those words. It means something has fucked up some where. It could be staff leaving, running out of something crucial; like alcohol or something is broken.
Why this post is late today was because the security door jammed and my staff was locked out and sitting in front of the bar. I have to jump up out of bed, take a quick shower and run my happy ass down to the bar with a pair of plyers and a screwdriver.
I then proceed to basically rip the bent metal part out of the door, tested in a few times and called it fixed. You would think I was the saviour of the free world and cured cancer. Instead, it was common sense but a Thai just doesn’t do common sense. It’s not in their nature and you accept it.
Most boss have problem issues are common fucking sense. Why a farang is needed is because the lack of common sense amongst Thais. They can be some of the most pragmatic people on earth, but when you throw something at them outside their comfort zone they will lose the plot.
It’s Great Fun Drinking
You would think being able to drink for free is one of the greatest things on earth. It is provided you are in control of it. The problem is, the culture of this bar is see how fucked up you can get the manager. Some customers take gleeful pleasure just slamming you with shots.
Now, you can say no and I do on certain things. Like, order me a tequila, whisky, or Bundaberg. It just makes me vomit and I can’t stand it. So I won’t drink any of that shit, some guys are a bit thick and don’t get it and will buy the shot anyways and I just stare at them and say I’m not drinking it, told you no so you just bought something I’m going to pour down the sink later.
For the rest of the time, I have drank more Jagerbombs than most people could possibly image. I don’t even blink drinking them anymore. I just go ok and smash it. It barely registers on my body anymore because I have become immune to them I think. Still, nothing says fun to an insomniac like a fuckton of caffeine till 4, 5, or 6 AM in the morning.
I don’t mind drunks. Even the sad, depressing drunks. If I’m slow tell me your life story and I’ll listen because I’m bored out of my mind. Most of their problems are self inflicted but because I like a good car crash I just sit there and go along with it as they keep drinking.
What I don’t like are the stupid drunks who are so fucked out of their head they are barely coherent. I have had more of those than I care to count. The last one was so fucked he rocks in with 2 ladyboys tells me they are going to suck his cock and he’s going to suck theirs till they squirt. Why? Because they can’t fake it! Fuck me! I didn’t need to know that.
Gets better is that the ladyboys didn’t want to drink. In full disclosure I know them because they work down the soi from me. They just wanted to get the dude home, do the deed and get the fuck out. Instead this drunk wants to make sure they drink. I am like mate, in my bar ladies drink what they want. If they don’t want to drink no one is making them. He then goes into a rant about paying their bar and paying them.
It was at this point the taller of the 2 ladyboys pulls off her heel and is about to smash the guy in the head. I have to jump between then, the drunk is oblivious to what is happening because the other ladyboy grabbed him. I start rapid firing Thai going you need to calm the fuck down. I support you fully in your endeavour but you can’t hit him in my bar. If you want to do that then take it out to the Soi. She calms down and puts the shoe on.
I turn around to the drunk and say mate, you are done need to pay your bin and leave. We can’t serve you anymore. He mumbles something and then pays the bin and I escort him out. There were 2 more ladyboys waiting outside. Again, I knew them. I knew why they were there but I was like it’s ok and hello, I’ll pop down and buy you a drink later this week.
That’s just one example. I have a plethora of drunk stories. It’s mind blowing how pissed up guys can get and then think that because they are on holiday they have a right to be complete cunts. I hope the hell I was never like that but I suspect I was at some point during my holiday years.
It’s A Job
What most people miss when they think living the dream of running a bar is that it’s a fucking job. Shit still needs to get done. You need to pay salaries, keep stock, utilities, rent, and keeping staff happy. It’s not some joy of just sitting there and having drinks fed to you by pretty ladies. Thats about a million miles from reality.
Guys that come here thinking it’s easy usually go broke after a few months. Running a bar is a total pain in the ass and it’s a lot of work. It’s not sit back and run on cruise control. I think I actively work more now than I did back in the States.
I got a new bar and I have had to build it basically from scratch to get it to where it is. It’s been a slog and at times I question why the fuck am I doing this when I clearly don’t have to.
It’s a learning experience and because I was bored back home this has given me a whole new challenge I didn’t expect it, it just happened. Just don’t think you can walk into a bar and know what you are doing. I have has experienced guys I could lean on for advice and support when it was required. It’s a luxury most don’t have.
Living the dream is the joke now because of running a bar. I have far more empathy for guys who run and own bars and are genuine in their efforts to do the right thing and run a proper business. They know it’s a tedious and at times frustrating slog.
My advice to any of you thinking of going to some foreign country and running a bar I would suggest not. Go find something else. Endless hours and constant demands for your time means you are not going to be relaxing on a beach rolling in easy money because the bar runs itself.
Hope this helps some of you understand some of what I do on a daily basis and what it takes to run a business in a foreign country. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of time and commitment.