Free Pour!April 25, 2012
After three days in the scorching heat, we all came to one completely unexpected conclusion. One of the smartest things about Coachella is their limits on drinking. No, no, I’m not suggesting they are running sobriety tests (trust me, they are not), but rather, there are designated drinking areas throughout the polo fields and only in those locations can you purchase and enjoy your booze. Originally, I was somewhat annoyed. How was I going to enjoy a show without an ice-cold beer in my hand? But pretty quickly, the reality set in. For three days, we spent our time shoulder to shoulder, cramming in to see some of our favorite bands perform, and with the exception of one idiot with a rat-tail, there wasn’t a single asshole confrontation to report. Now imagine if all of us had drinks in our hands during the shows. Drunk muscles and spillage isn’t exactly conducive to a peaceful experience. Nice work Coachella folks…
So does that mean we didn’t drink? Of course not! But no matter how much I wanted to, it was not bourbon I was ordering; turns out my love for a good bourbon dwindles as the mercury rises. Instead I found myself on a steady pace of Heineken (pretty much the only beer you can order there) and greyhounds. A greyhound, or less ridiculously called a “vodka grapefruit” is one of the most refreshing drinks out there and was perfect for those long hot days. Especially the ones from the “cold bar”.
We dubbed this liquor stop-off the “cold bar” because it was one of the few spots that had some serious air conditioning pumping. Of course I used this to my advantage as a means to convince the others we should stop in. “You guys look hot, we should stop at the cold bar…”. But more importantly to me was the free-pouring bartender serving up those delicious greyhounds. You see, at the other bar we often frequented, every bottle of booze was topped with a “exact pour” spout. These spouts, while an interesting idea, really tick me off. Here’s the thing: the exact pour could be viewed as a win/win for both the bar and the consumer. Exact measurements guarantee proper usage from a flavor and efficiency stand point and on the drinker’s side, there’s no questioning the “strength” of your drink. You know you aren’t getting jipped. But this effectively removes any and all interaction with the bartender as a person, and creates a robot like relationship I’m not down with.
To elaborate further, think about it this way. One of my favorite parts (and I know I’m not the only one) of heading up to the bar for the first of many drinks is to make an impression on the bartender. Sometimes its subtle, sometimes its simple but when this relationship builds appropriately, this is where the real win/win comes into place. And I’m not talking about dropping unnecessarily large tips in the meatpacking district. I’m talking about a mutual respect for what makes us all tick. At the “cold bar”, my drinks got stronger as the days went on. At the others, they stayed exactly the same. Sure it could have gone the other way, but that’s part of the fun.
So if you are using exact pour spouts out there, unlock the booze and free pour!