In another bar where we shot, the bartenders kept themselves entertained by constantly switching their accents. They were both former actors, so they would take your first order as a noble Scotsman and your next as a rootin' tootin' Texan out to provide a knee-slappin' good time. Little details like this make the staff seem part of the party instead of just servers stuck doing a job. As someone who bartended for two years myself, I can tell you that a good attitude is integral; if you're not enjoying serving drinks, you shouldn't be serving them at all, which is exactly what my boss told me as I was being fired. Apparently, I was also drinking too much, which based on some of the bars I saw while shooting Barmageddon isn't even humanly possible.
Even the best bars with the best drinks and the wildest staff have a tendency to seem familiar, which is why it is absolutely necessary that they find a way to stand out by having what I call an extra bit of magic. They need to have a gimmick or a detail or an innovative system that makes them stick out in your mind, so that when it's time to go out and drink, you'll know exactly where you want to go. One bar we shot in was self-serve -- their entire economic plan was based on the honor system. Hell yeah! I like that, trusting in the responsibility and ethics of drunk people. Why didn't anyone think of that sooner?! Another place had an actual swing above the bar. If you felt like downing a shot and then revisiting some fourth-grade memories, you could climb on up and go for a ride. And then, as it turned out, go throw up in the bathroom. And then do it all over again.
Live your dreams.
In Baltimore, we shot in a spot that had a boxing theme and displayed photos of semi-pro boxers who lived and trained in the neighborhood. That's a nice touch, and it helps you figure out whose girlfriend not to hit on when you're drunk and feeling randy. The point is, people can drink anywhere: a bar, their house, under a bridge. If you want them coming to your place time and again, you gotta find a way to make it special. We shot in one place where the staff took turns dancing in a Zebra costume. I'm not saying you need to go that far, but I'll certainly never forget it. Unless I host this show for a few more years, in which case I'll probably forget everything I've ever known.
To see more from Mo Mandel, check out Barmageddon when it premieres on truTV, Dec. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and 9 p.m. CT.
For more drinking tidbits, check out 6 Ridiculous Drinking Myths You Probably Believe. And then check out 29 Business Cards of Famous Fictional Characters.