Having spent the best part of the last three decades actively avoiding the eastern suburbs, it may come as no shock to you that Bondi is at the top of my shit list of suburbs I’d rather contract yellow fever than have to visit. Between the bad tattoos, bad facial hair, bad parking, bad public transport and bad breath of the Brazilian backpackers, I’ve frankly had better day excursions when I was thirteen to Royal North Shore to visit nanna when her tumour was well on its way into stage seven than I’ve had driving any closer to New Zealand than Paddington. The Taylor Square end.
This is not why I hate The Anchor, however. I made it there in a good mood. My Uber driver was a lovely fellow from Marseilles. My girlfriend’s 7/11 wee-on-a-stick pregnancy test was negative. My disposition was generally sunny. When I stepped through the nautical themed door and into the over-designed, half-cooked idea of a room that is The Anchor, I was prepared for a good time. Genuinely. Reader, believe me, I really was.
But I had let my guard down. How stupid of me! How, I hear you ask? Simple, honest fucking mistake. I tried to order a Margarita.
In most parts of the world, a margarita is obtained using the following conversation model:
Bartender: ‘Hi there, what can I get for you?’
Guy who just wants a fucking margarita: ‘Could I get a margarita?’
It’s usually followed by an exchange of smiles, 12-19 seconds of animated shaking, an exchange of anywhere between two and thirty-two dollars (Sydney’s further up that scale than not) and is repeated several times until I am texting an ex and licking the salt off the rim of somebody else’s glass, if successful.
But not in Bondi. Oh no you di’int *snaps fingers a la sassy black woman*.
Of course, how could I have known that the phrase ‘Could I get a margarita?’ was all too rude and dismissive, leading to a lesson in manners by the bartender, a four foot eight to-scale replica of the Shroud of Turin on meth, with Japanese tattoos on one arm and three pounds of metal dangling from his septum, giving the effect of a small silver scrotum on his face.
Okay, so you got me. I forgot to say please. I didn’t use the specific p-word. We both know I was still polite and that the smile on my face paired with the generally bright tone with which I uttered those five words was indicative of somebody there for a good time. But it wasn’t good enough was it, Ice, Ice Jesus?
Of course it wasn’t, for this is Bondi. Original home of the jumped up little shit hospitality professional who is doing you a favour just by showing up to work. And let’s be honest here, why should it be good enough? You’re not there to serve. Nobody tells you what to do. No, you’re nobody’s slave are you… You create experiences for lucky patrons on a daily basis and the truest reward of your job is the knowledge that it’s done your way, on your terms. Your bar, your rules. Just because technically it’s not your bar, you just get paid a clean twenty an hour to stand behind it, and that technically serving the general public’s every whim is the exact definition of your fucking job, you wouldn’t let that get in the way of making sure everybody leaves your workplace a better human for it, would you?
And it’s not just you, it’s the whole offering of such a fortress of majestic wonder. From the quaint Sailor Jerry branded chalkboard displaying your three whimsical twists on forgotten classics, to your sassy and snappy food offering. I mean, everybody likes tacos, right? Let’s just do that. That’s pretty much how the concept meeting for your shitty, shitty venue went down. ‘Let’s just do that’. It could be Bondi’s slogan.
And really, I should be thanking you. It’s your job as a bartender after all to educate and improve society one sober guy-who-just-wants-a-fucking-margarita at a time.
Except it isn’t your job. Your chosen profession is a cocktail shaker. It’s not hard to do. Just do that.
And reader, I can hear what you’re thinking, maybe you’re right, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. Because I was in Bondi, so I got exactly what I should’ve fucking expected. Absolute turdwater. Because that’s what comes out of a sewer. Just turds.