Earlier this evening I went to Big Star. It’s gotten a lot of press. It’s in the old Pontiac bar space, the place on Damen with the open garage doors that went belly-up and so many people bemoaned its demise that I wondered how in the world it could have closed. It did, however, and in its place is Big Star.
This place, like its predecessor, appeals to the hipster and the hipster-wanna-be and could, maybe, appeal to the hip person who enjoys a hip atmosphere without being, per se, a hip-ster. Your ID is checked to even get into the patio; food, if you’re sitting on said patio, is served from a walk-up window; music is played from a bona fide phonograph sitting on the bar next to rows of bourbon. The overwhelming aroma of the place is one of Good Food. The beer list is worthy and the Big Star Margarita is…well, the Big Star Margarita is,
Short. At least mine was.
I met a couple of colleagues there and ordered a Big Star Margarita after trying my companion’s. It’s got three different tequilas and is shaken. I could taste the smokiness and thought “now this is an excellent margarita”. So I ordered one. My friend’s was poured close to the rim of the rocks glass. Mine was about an inch shy (and if you’ve ever seen a rocks glass, you know how long an inch is), but I didn’t say anything. Drinks, like much in life, are not about how much but how good. Then I noticed the bartender take the shaker and pour the remainder of my drink, plus some extra thrown in, into another rocks glass and set it under the bar.
Still, I didn’t say anything. First of all, it had been difficult to get anyone’s attention to get a drink in the first place. When I arrived I sat there for at least 10 minutes before I finally flagged someone down. There were three of us in our little group, and each time any of us wanted a drink we’d have to make a special effort to get their attention. The bartenders weren’t swamped or crazed or in the weeds. It seemed, instead, that they were comfortable, entitled, and a bit bored.
I’ve served. I’ve bartended. I’ve hostessed. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no patience for bad service. I’m kind of like an ex-smoker that way – having been there and done that I end up being harsher than those who haven’t.
But it’s because I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And you DO NOT pour the rest of your guest’s drink, in front of her or not, into a glass so you can have it later. It’s bad form, bad service, just plain bad any time, but now we’re in a world of Bloggers and Twitter and Facebook and Foursquare and Twitpic and Whrrl. Every action, every inaction, is recorded and posted and shared. And you never know who is sitting in front of you, and what she shares, and who might be following and listening and reading.
Big Star, I had big hopes for you, but from what happened tonight, you just shot yourself in the foot.
*Title thanks to the inspiration of Stephanie Taylor, a.k.a. @chemgk