I used to work at a chain Italian restaurant in Pennsylvania. Every few months, a suit-clad man from corporate would drive down to our branch to test whether our uniforms were regulation and we were pushing the fried zucchini appetizer aggressively enough. Sometimes he would point to one of us randomly and make us sing the lyrics to the company’s signature birthday song. It went like this (to the tune of That’s Amore): “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…it’s your birthday.”
I’ve blocked out the rest of the lyrics, but I mention this story to demonstrate the fact that I know firsthand the little horrors that come with working in the hospitality biz. I’ve worked in coffee shops, clubs, and college cafeterias too, and even at the pretty cool places there were indignities to endure, irate customers with whom to contend, maniacal managers requiring Versailles-level diplomacy skills. So instead of complaining about the all-too-frequent instances of bad service I’ve been witnessing out at the bars—the passive aggressive publican rolling her eyes when a table orders a third round (It’s a bar. Isn’t the idea to sell alcohol?), a bartender refusing to turn down the blaring Metallica after the only drinkers in the place asked him politely to do so—I thought instead I would introduce a regular series recognizing bars for their good service.
We begin with what might seem like an odd choice: The Pacific Inn Pub. One time I called the Pac Inn to see if they had a happy hour and the owner replied “Eh. We’re always kind of happy here.” And I think that sums it up. I’m not saying employ at the Pac Inn requires sommelier training or anything, but it does take a certain amount of fortitude and range to work at Wallingmont’s favorite dive bar. For one thing, you’ve got a wide customer base. I’ve seen a bartender barely bat an eyelash after an afternoon imbiber told her it was his first drink “on the outside,” and I’ve seen another walk a customer through the flavor profile of a Manny’s pale ale with articulate finesse.
Always, though, I’m greeted here with the sort of unassuming friendliness I’m seeking in a neighborhood bar. Plus, the beer tastes fresh and the fish and chips are a revelation. So for that, I’d like to offer some props to the staff of the Pacific Inn. Here’s hoping they keep up the good work.
If you witness any gold star service moments while you’re barring it up, drop me a line at [email protected] I’d love to hear about them.