High West, ‘bucks Back

hi' times + 'bucks

I step behind the stick, take a sip of High West, and savor the lavender notes. My boss brought back our weekly whiskey ed at our humble little WeHo watering hole that keeps on humming, cranking out solid revenue numbers night after night. What better way to commence a promising, nippy November Friday eve than with generous shots of rye?

Between drinks, I plug pour spouts into my speed rack bottles, stock my station with cans of Red Bull, and stuff a dry bar rag into my belt to keep my cracked hands dry. Lime juice seeps into tiny cuts on my fingertips and stings as I garnish a vodka-tonic.

I gaze out onto Santa Monica Boulevard where WeHo wildlife flaunts its weekend jungle costumes and primes itself for an altered state in what my barback calls “an amazing place.” Throngs of skinny young men with expensive hair cuts, wearing tight jeans and designer kicks, barhop, while the older set, clad in collared shirts and tailored jackets, slices rare meat and sips Cab, taking it in from restaurant patios.

After the first few nips of High West I’m left with no choice but to chase it with Pike Place Roast from Starbucks two doors down before the joe goes cold and putrid. Two buzzes, one up, one down, set my adrenaline into overdrive and prep me to grind for thirsty revelers as the clock ticks toward late night happy hour. Despite fatigue from a week in which I conquered the GRE and grooved to Capital Cities’ set at The Fonda Theater the next night, then guzzled rye ’til sunrise, my liquid supper brings me back to life, as though I’ve tapped into some ever-present nocturnal energy current, infinitely deep, that carries me through every shift, from the first vodka-Red Bull to the final shot of Fireball.

Another night, another battle. I coil like a sprinter at the starting line and spring into action as the masses flood the bar. Bring it on! I think, as I swallow my last drop of High West and knock back my final sip of ‘bucks. I’m high, low, buzzed on rye and caffeine all at once, ready to go.

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