A Shitty Bar Story


This movie set bartenders back 20 years.

A downside of working in an office full of nice, responsible people is that nothing tragically hilarious ever happens. Fortunately, I worked in a nightclub for more than a decade and have witnessed a lifetime’s worth of amusing fuckery. One of my favorite stories involves a young lady who took “drop it like it’s hot” a little too seriously.

When I arrived in San Francisco I only owned a backpack full of clothes and a Vespa that ran by the grace of some dark two-stroke god that demanded frequent blood and dignity sacrifices to stay on the road. The mental illness I have that makes me do dumb shit like ride a 30 year old scooter across the country with a bunch of stoners from Michigan endeared me to the folks at the now closed, but infamous 330 Ritch St. Bar. They hired me as a bar back.

If you’re unfamiliar with bar lingo, that’s basically a bartender’s busboy. You cut fruit, pick up glasses, fight the occasional customer, bring drugs out to waiting cars when the bartender is too busy to deliver them, and generally help out. As a worker I’m pretty much always game and willing to go hard.

This is the best image I’ve ever seen to depict what Hyphy was all about.

This was in early 2001, when the Bay Area hip-hop scene was deep into the utterly retarded (sorry, there is no better word) “Hyphy” movement. This was the “ghost ride your whip” and “get stupid” era of hip-hop. Tips were low. Ignorance was high. Music was terrible.

One night, a nice young Chinese girl was out shaking it in a short skirt. She must’ve had one too many chimichangas because when she got into a twerk squat she released a diarrhea flood onto the dance floor. Within seconds people around her started slipping around in her feces. Then other patrons started throwing up. It was a literal shit show.

shit show
No comment.

As bar back, it was my job to clean up the mess. I grabbed a mop, headed to the middle of the now cleared dance floor and saw one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. There was shit everywhere, mixed in with chunky vomit and bits of lost hair extensions. For some reason we always found weave at the end of the night. People who stepped in the shit were scraping their shoes off on barstools and the edge of the stage where the DJ booth was.

One of the other bartenders came over and asked, “dude how are you going to clean that?”

“I’m not. They can fucking dance in it. I’ll quit before I clean it.”

I believe it’s those little acts of rebellion that earn you respect when there’s little to be had.

She befouled the club right at 1:30am. The club usually threw the lights up at 1:50am, but within minutes of the purging, the smell was so bad we had to throw everyone out. By 1:45am the club was empty. We counted the registers and split the tips in record time. Normally a bar’s staff will stick around for a while drinking and telling stories. This night, we all bounced early and left the damage for the cleaning crew.

Me on the left, the great DJ Omar on the right back in the bad old days of 330. I think DJ Nako took this picture. T-shirt proves I haven’t changed in years.


  1. Did you ever end up at the “End Up?” Been there, done that….just not on a Friday!

    One night I thought I’d get killed walking randomly through the streets of San Fran hopelessly lost in the middle of the night. Ran into a guy who said he was a radio DJ. We chatted for a while walking the deserted streets as he led me towards the BART station. I think I was in SOMA (south of Market) but to this day I’m not sure.

    I used to enjoy this place just off the 880 near Freemont / Newark. It touted itself as the largest country bar in the area…good times.

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