This story is about Jay-Z getting a drink. It is also about me getting the drink for him, even though at first I failed at that endeavor. I think Jay-Z may have enjoyed both of these things.
I’d just been hired at the swank downtown restaurant where Jay-Z is a regular, along with a cadre of other New York celebs. This is the kind of place where New York’s career servers plant themselves professionally, for years. I was assigned to shadow one of them, whose section included Jay-Z’s table. That day, this mostly meant running drinks.
I wasn’t really a good server yet, just a self-assured liberal arts grad with the right kind of swagger. So far, it had gone undiscovered that I couldn’t carry a tray full of drinks. In fact, I couldn’t carry more than one drink on a tray at all. I’d hustled some (ahem, lied) to get this job, because I’d just been fired from my other one, basically for being a be-swaggered, self-assured liberal arts grad.
But anyway, that night the tables were needing one drink at a time. No big. And then Jay-Z’s friend wanted a bottled beer.
This meant executing a choreographed beer-pouring dance, tableside, so the guest wouldn’t have to so much as touch the plebeian bottle as drink from a fresh, frosted glass into which its contents was poured. Read: two things on tray.
Difficult stuff, on the part of the secretly inexperienced swank-restaurant server. I will say, I made it to Jay-Z’s table with tray setup intact.
In fact, once there I thought: fuck it. I’ve got it.
An unexpected shift in balance, and some juggling—
I did not have it.
Neither the glass nor the bottle made it onto the table. What did, however, was a great, frothy foam that crashed over the tray, poured onto a dinner plate, and continued its heartstopping, torrential path straight into the lap of Jay-Z’s friend.
Within seconds, a small army of expert busboys materialized with many, many towels. The senior server appeared and said something soothing and professional while I blabbered apologies. I was brusquely led away.
Only then did the table’s reaction came into focus. Jay-Z was laughing.
His friend was laughing.
Actually, my senior server was laughing, too.
Mandatory tray lessons would take up much of my time for the next few months.
But that night, Jay-Z’s friend dried off, I didn’t get fired, and within 20 minutes I was handed a tray with exactly one Lychee Martini on it by a snickering bartender. I made it to Jay-Z’s table and placed this very carefully, very slowly, very gently in front of Jay-Z, with much of the floor staff watching.
He turned to me, grinned, and exclaimed, “Yo, YO!”
I blushed and ran away.
I think Jay-Z ended up have a really good time.
Read more alcohol-sodden stories from the Wench at: thewenchandtheboozehound.com
Kirin photo courtesy of orimo (flickr)