Photo by Vera & Jean-Christophe, used under Creative Commons license

Skills like this

Yesterday on my way home I decided to pop into The Monk’s Table, since it’s close to my new office. Plus, a friend works there and I wanted to say hi. Eventually Nellie left work and joined me to celebrate our fresh new vacation.

We had a great time. I drank a La Chouffe, a Maisel’s Weisse Dunkel, and most of an Ommegang BPA before Nellie arrived. Dinner arrived — spicy mussels for Nellie, a pork-wrapped-in-bacon-and-stilton-crumbs (!) special for me — which I had with a Fuller’s Black Cab Stout, and and Affligem Blond to wrap up. The food was fantastic, and I like the Euro-focused contrast to the virtually-all-Ontario list just down the hill at the Rebel House.

I noticed something too, watching our friend work. Even though it got incredibly busy in there last night there were only three staff working — one upstairs, one downstairs, and one (our friend) behind the bar — and they handled everything. We sat at the bar and ended up observing how our friend managed the evening. A bartender who’s really on their game is fun to watch: pouring two drinks at once, taking an order yelled to her from the other end of the bar, already scanning the opposite end to predict when she’d need to get down there, greeting people who’d walked in the front…it was orchestration. You see it with really good bartenders/servers/hosts (like the mutual friend of said bartender, who’d introduced us), and it’s part of the reason we like to sit at the bar rather than a table.

I’m always impressed when people are so good at their job that the immediate movements (or words) seem automatic, but you can tell their brain is already two steps ahead.  I saw something similar the previous evening when I watched an old AV Undercover video. Andy Stack’s drumming always seems so full and heavy, not like a guy who’s also playing the keyboard and constantly flipping his stick around to the mallet end.

I heard another example not long ago, when I listed to the Comedy Bang Bang episode featuring Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. Those guys’ brains seem to work in a different gear.


Photo by Vera & Jean-Christophe, used under Creative Commons license

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