We had two big bars set up in the "ballroom," otherwise known as the operations center for O'Malley Beverage, the local Anheuser-Busch distributor. Forget the concrete floors and garage doors- the decorations for the ball were spectacular! (And our very own Michelle helped with them.)
Each of our bars had four bartenders, a cooler full of four different bottled beers, red and white wine, and a limited supply of popular liquor and mixers. Dave was the floater/workhorse for the evening- while the rest of us lounged around behind the bars and popped the occasional bottle top, he was constantly moving around and restocking and shuttling supplies between the bars.
Peach and Ted were there dressed in their finery and ready to help out if Dave was too busy. It was a fun night and definitely a change from The Sandbar- everyone was dressed up, for one thing.
The real excitement of the evening, however, came upon our arrival back at The Sandbar.
It was raining and there was a line. We had two truckloads of stuff to carry into the bar- bar tops that Dave had built, leftover liquor, and an assortment of supplies. Some of the not-on-duty staff who were hanging around the bar came out to help unload.
And who was the first person in line when we arrived? Our long lost former doorguy/bartender John!
He's been back from Australia since September, and he's been in the bar several times since then, but this was the first time I'd seen him. And of course he informed us that he's moving to Houston next week. We're sad to see him go...but he promises to come back for a visit. Houston isn't quite as far as Australia.
Every few years the local hospital has a big gala fundraiser ball called Hearts of Gold. I think they've had three of them now, or maybe four, and another one is taking place tonight. The theme for this year is "Magical Moments." Funds raised from this year's event will be used to purchase equipment to provide care for high-risk babies born at LMH.
The Sandbar has handled the bars for these events: set-up, staffing, and cleanup. It's a pretty big job for Dave and Peach. (It's also the one time they let me behind the bar to mix drinks). Seven hundred people are expected for tonight's ball, all of whom paid a small fortune for their seat at a table and the opportunity to partake in the strolling buffet, provided by various restaurants and caterers around Lawrence. Music, dancing, and live and silent auctions provide the entertainment.
Sometimes the theme allows us to dress in costume, and you know how much The Sandbar crew loves costumes. This year, we're going with an "elegant server" look and wearing white shirts, black bowties, and black bottoms.
If you're planning to attend the event tonight, stop by one of the bars and chat.
An incident that happened this week in Kansas City hit a little close to home.
The Kansas City Star reported that a bartender at a small tavern in KCK was shot to death by a customer after she refused to serve him a drink when he wouldn't produce identification.
The article today explains that the shooter has been found and charged with first degree murder. The shooter was a young man who had just turned 21 the week before. I don't know what the big deal about showing identification was to him, but there were obviously other issues going on with him if he felt the need to shoot the bartender. She was just doing her job.
Things like this frighten me, but I realize it's not common. But you just never know what kind of reaction someone might have to something you say or do. If you've read any of the Door Diaries entries on this blog, then you're familiar with the kind of nonsense our staff has to deal with on a daily basis. They've had to do much more than just refuse someone a drink.
The Sandbar is a pretty safe bar. The worst thing that usually happens when someone is turned away for not having an ID is a few choice words directed at the doorguy, or maybe an argument. And a few people have had to be escorted out for unruly or harassing behavior. Let's hope it stays that way.
Refused KS driver's license. The license was real, but it was a different person than the girl who presented it. And she had no second form. She said she just had her money, yet she was carrying a purse. I don't think I look quite that stupid.
Refused another KS driver's license. Real license, wrong person. Again she had no second form, yet I saw a credit card in her little wallet. She said "but it's 1 a.m." and I said time has nothing to do with you using someone else's ID. I think I do a fine job of spotting the phonies and I guess most minors trying to get in don't know that. Then they leave all mad.
The Sandbar now stocks a brand new vodka made right here in Lawrence.
The LJW did a story yesterday about Honor Premium American Vodka and it's producers, who are well known to The Sandbar folks. In fact, this vodka is directly responsible for long-time bartender Matt leaving The Sandbar. The job he left us for was the job vacated by Josh at Glazer.
It was a beautiful day for sand volleyball and drinks in the sun. The party bus left Lawrence around 1 from Johnny's, and picked up more folks at Phoggy Dog on the way out of town. Teams from Sandbar Lawrence and JB Stout's were also on board.
Competition among these four teams, three from Ottawa (Henry T's, Driver's, and Sandbar), and an at-large team got underway- not only in volleyball, but in drinking, team spirit, and just about any other competitive thing you can imagine.
The team from Sandbar Ottawa won the tournament. The Sandbar Lawrence team, however, won what was
perhaps the more important prize to them- Team Spirit. What this team lacked in volleyball skills, they made up for in costume, pranks, and spirit.
We had Fletch, a few strangely scary varieties of shorts that aren't really fit to publish here, and knee socks and arm bands. The Lawrence crew definitely loves its costumes.
Unfortunately it was soon time to leave the fabulous sand volleyball courts of Ottawa and head for home. At least, though, the bus rides to and from are almost always just as much fun as the destination.
Upon arrival in Lawrence the bus stopped at Phoggy Dog once again to begin the evening's pub crawl. We also picked up the Cruzan promo girls and their boxes of free shirts.
After a half hour or so of revelry there, the bus continued on to The Sandbar. It was important to get there early to avoid the aforementioned lines. Everyone managed to get in and we also picked up a few new passengers for our next destination, Jo Schmo's.
It might seem silly to board a bus just to travel half a block down the street...but everything about this night was silly.
The bus eventually ended up at the original starting point of Johnny's where the party continued well into the night.
The day was such a great success that we're hoping to plan several more field trips this spring and summer to Ottawa for impromptu games of sand volleyball. Now, if we can only convince Cruzan to sponsor the fun again...
We've talked about lines here before, but it's always a hot topic that deserves to be revisited.
Every once in awhile, I run into an acquaintance who was recently at The Sandbar and had to wait in line. Whether it was 5 minutes or half an hour, they give me an earful about how they don't understand why they had to wait in line, because they know me. (Or they know Dave, or Peach, or "the owner." It's all the same).
What's funny about this is that it's never a close friend who makes this complaint; it's always someone we know who's a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend. In other words, someone who wouldn't think to call and invite us to a party, but by God, we shouldn't make them wait in line at The Sandbar.
The thing people don't understand is this: we WANT you to come inside. We want ALL of you to come inside. Whether we know you or not. We want you to spend your money, buy drinks, tip our bartenders, sing and dance and have fun. We don't want to make anyone wait outside.
Unfortunately, our legal capacity is only 49 based on fire codes. If we let everyone in whenever they wanted, not only would we be violating fire codes and subject to a hefty fine, but it would also be unsafe.
So, don't take it personal when you have to wait in line; we don't enjoy making people wait. It has nothing to do with your status as a person. It's a necessary evil and we all have to do it at one time or another.
In fact, the last time someone complained to me about this, I had spent about twenty minutes waiting in line that night too.
Summer is almost here, and that means beach volleyball will be back in full force at The Sandbar!
We're kicking off the season this Saturday afternoon with Bar Wars, an eight-team tournament made up of staff from bars in Ottawa and Lawrence. Each team will have three guys and three girls, and the tournament is double elimination.
Bars participating from Ottawa:
Bars participating from Lawrence:
And, there will be one at-large team to round out the field.
The event is sponsored by Cruzan Rum, so of course that means both Sandbar locations will have great Cruzan specials all day long. The popular promo girls will be on hand with giveaways, too.
Come on out to The Sandbar in Ottawa this Saturday for our block party and cheer on your favorite team!