In 30 years of pouring drinks, I've seen everything—a guy who threw a stool across the bar, another who pulled down his pants and said he wouldn’t pull them up again unless someone gave him money. But if it’s just a person who’s a little too rowdy, I'll take him aside and say quietly, “Hey, my man, I’m glad you’re having a good time, but I need you to bring it down a notch.” The goal is to handle the situation immediately and make myself clear without humiliating anybody. Customers today are more likely to complain than act out. My theory is they feel more powerful as consumers than as citizens, and they want redress. If someone's really difficult, one technique to try is killing ’em with kindness—the ruder they get, the nicer you get, until the other person’s almost embarrassed. And a little humor can help.

On crazy nights, I've got all these hands reaching out to grab me like they're going to die if they don’t get a drink, and I feel like a relief worker. When someone's hungry and the kitchen’s closed, find some bread. You can’t underestimate the power of primal needs.

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