Archive for May, 2013

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A Momentary Lapse of Confidence

May 23, 2013

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There’s something I still haven’t learned, even though I know it for sure. That is: I can make cocktails. I do them on the spot, all the time. I’ve written entire menus and hundreds of cocktails for all kinds of different bars and restaurants and parties and weddings and bachelor parties and groups of people who are celebrating or grieving or bored or lonely.

But every time I work on my own cocktail menu, I seethe with doubt and self recrimination for about a month before launch. The lesson is that I should just put the friggin’ list together from what I do casually instead of sweating it out and screwing myself out of countless hours of what should be quality time not thinking about booze.

Bobby Bare Jr. helped me figure it out.

Bobby Bare Jr. wrote a song called “Dig Down,” where he bitches about Pete Townsend and The Beatles and Frank Black having already written all the good songs, so what the Christ is he supposed to do? The cool thing is that it’s a great song. See the irony there? ‘Course you do, you’re smart and nice and pretty.

Don’t get all weird on me. I’m not saying it takes the same talent to write “Baba O’ Riley” as it does to come up with a cocktail, but try to be truly original with something. Or even name something that’s truly original. I’ll wait here while you think about it. Good luck to you.

Inspiration comes from somewhere, and I’ll hang my hat on that. Like everyone else who does a job like mine who probably just accepts it and gets on with it.

Alright, no more point-making. The new cocktail menu is done, and it’s delicious and adventurous and classic-ish and crowd pleasing according to my conscious mind. My unconscious mind is still telling me I’m a hack and could stand to lose a few pounds and need a new haircut, but I’ll drink it into quietness and just let you handsome sumbitches tell me the truth.

Matt Johnson
co-proprieter / maker of cocktails
Feedback Lounge

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Weather or Not

May 23, 2013

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One of the first pieces of wisdom we were told by other bar owners prior to opening The Feedback Lounge is that bad weather is pennies from Heaven. Cold, crappy, rainy, freeze-y, cold, snowy days are rent paying days to the bar industry. Not too hard to figure out why – lousy weather makes for unmatched indoor socializing, because weather (and taxes) are all most of us have in common. That, and there’s the free heat. (For you, not us.)

This is why you’ll often see nervous and/or unhappy bar owner faces on sunny days. We don’t get a whole lot of sunshine around here, and when we do, everybody wants to be out in it. Begrudgingly, so do we. But for a bar not located on the beach, the sun can be a business owner’s worst enemy. That, and taxes. And insurance. And high wholesale prices. And rent increases. And…

Sorry.

The reason we even bring it up is to let you know the sun is soon to be heading our way and that it is poisonous and will make your face, shoulders and tramp stamp all burnt-y if you stay out in it for more than, I don’t know, say 10 minutes. Who, besides The Human Torch or some circus guy who eats fire wants that? Better to come in and have nice heat-beating cocktail or three while supporting your local watering hole. And hey, free air-conditioning! For you, not us.

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Wanted: Bands. Sorta.

May 21, 2013

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It’s tough balance to find the right band for our limited space. Sometimes the bands are used to playing in a small room, and haven’t figured out that their volume knob can actually be used to turn it down. Then there are bands like FIASCO, THE BEARD BROTHERS, THE FLAT 5, AARON DANIEL, BLAKE NOBLE and JOEL TIPKE who are so pro as to always strike a nice sound level that doesn’t compromise their vibe or overpower the house.

Sure, there are bands who are appropriately loud when needed. And even though the loud bands have been quite good, we can always tell if it’s too much by the looks on our front of house staff’s faces. Kinda like when you’re on a plane and you hit turbulence – if the stewardess doesn’t looked gooned out, then chances are the plane is gonna land safely, with all that’s needed is a quick change of pants once you’re on the ground. (If you’re like us, pack a spare pair.)

We get a lot of punk, metal and even rap artists wanting to play here, with nearly all of them not doing their homework to see what kind of live music venue we are, how many people we can comfortably put in seats, and what kind of music works best for our customers.

As always, though, we’ll be pushing the boundaries and looking for all types of bands, from jazz and rockabilly, to folk and bluegrass, and all points in-between, just to mix things up. So if you’re in a band or are a band (we do lots of one person shows), give us a shout. Can’t promise we’ll be able to book you, but every artist is considered. Just don’t approach our front of house staff if you see them frowning.

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Pinball Wizard

May 18, 2013

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One of the questions we get asked most is, “Why did you get rid of the pinball machines?” (This is usually followed by, “Why don’t you put in pool tables?”) Yeesh.

Answer to question #1: We needed more room to do live music on a regular basis. The vintage machines were super fun happy times, but maintenance, costs, and the space they took up prompted us to call Congress to see if we should keep ’em or put in a stage for bands. Since Congress can’t do anything right, we decided to go the live music route.

Now that we have more space, we can bring in bands every week, with no cover charge. And bands generate more income than pinball machines. Most of the time.

Answer to question #2: Pool tables would render our place useless for special events, live music, wedding receptions, Justice League of America meetings, etc. We like being able to turn the back bar area to custom fit nearly any type of event. Pool tables aren’t quite portable. And even if they were, where would we put ’em should The Rolling Stones decide to play here? (Might have to charge cover for that one.)

So there you have it. Knowing this should allow you to sleep better at nights and/or on the job.

P.S. We still have the classic Ms. Pacman™ machine waiting to swallow your quarters.

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To Blog or not to Blog?

May 10, 2013

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We’ve been wanting to re-fire up our Feedback Blog (aka, Feedblog) for some time, but work/life/beer keeps getting in the way. And then there’s television and puppies and rainbows…

Ahem.

Anyway, the plan now is to have our staff, friends and even customers contribute with invaluable insights to whatever everybody has invaluable insights to. Cocktail culture, drink recipes, our weekly Fresh Sheet, puppies and rainbows…

Um, you can tell it’s been a while since we’ve blogged.

Once we get this sucka up and running, feel free to respond, ask questions and point out typos and grammatical errors. We’re here for you.