[RE-POST: Originally published August, 2004]
A strange thing happens to New York bartenders when they hit the age of thirty: They suddenly realize they’re never going to be famous.
Right up to the point where they were 29 years, 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds old they are all absolutely, positively certain that their screenplay will be sold, their face will be discovered by a big stage producer, their paintings will be hanging at The MoMA, their photographs will be gracing the pages of Vogue etc. etc.
Then Boom! Within nanoseconds of the clock chiming Midnight on the morning of the Big Three-Oh, the dream is suddenly over. Crash. Burn. Dead. No more magic famemachine to lift their souls out of the lowly depths of bohemian hand-to-mouth living and into the higher realms of A-List parties and Central Park South apartments.
Of course, the first thing they do is panic. Holy Shit! I’m old! Despair! Despair! Utter Despair!
Then once the initial rush of fear and dread starts to wane, they decide it’s finally time to grow up and do something serious. Goodbye, Dream. Hello, Sensible Adulthood. Time to stop working for The Man. Time to strike out on their own. Time to be a grownup.
They look around for ideas to start their own business. But like everybody else alive, their search is limited by what they know. Besides their art thing (auditions, gallery schmoozing etc), they’ve only really been in one business since dropping out of college a decade previously- pouring drinks.
Bartending is the only job they know. The drinks trade is all they know.
So late one night, Bartender One (who just turned thirty) is having an after-hours beer with a friend, Bartender Two (who also just turned thirty). They’re both in mourning for their recently-lost youth. They are commiserating, trying to keep it in perspective, trying to focus on the positive. But now they’re also talking intently, talking passionately, thinking seriously, they’re figuring it all out, they’ve got to come up with an idea. They need a business idea. They need a plan. Suddenly…
Bartender One: “I know! Let’s open our own bar!”
Bartender Two: “Yeah! Cool! Let’s open our own bar!”
So they whoop and holler and dance around and hug each other, glowing radiantly in the sheer excitement of their new business plan.
Good thing nobody else in New York has thought of it yet.