It was a classically delightful bar, from the worn wood floors to the mirror-backed shelves stocked with firewaters to the small well-curated selection of brews Friendly people were amassing to watch the game, like they did every Saturday afternoon. The stalwarts arrived early to stake a seat around the cozy bar.
The folks in the front, lining the bay window had been there for a while. They had that end of the night volume, and it was just 2 p.m. There was the crash and shatter of a glass. The hands of the guilty flew into the air with a flurry of apologies. The server quickly arrived to clean up the shards.
A few minutes later he was at the bar for refills. He wisely ordered cans this time. The smash and splintering of a second glass hitting the floor ensured everyone’s attention. Patrons clustered around the bar all individually and as a group exchanged glances that said, “Who are these people and I hope they leave before kickoff.”
The server came around a second time with her broom and dustpan. She was much less cheerful this round. “You can’t break any more glasses.” The folks in the front knew that, but in a bar you have to be very clear with your instructions and warnings. Drunks aren’t the best at comprehension or nuance.
The man at the bar was worried that they would be asked to leave before they could finish the beers he just ordered. He safely cashed out and was joined by two young women who defiantly ordered more drinks. A guy watching the pre-game warmups suggested plastic cups for their round of vodka and tonics. The new bartender on shift verified that they were the ones with “two strikes.”
She asked to see their IDs. She was a bit gruff, but she was establishing dominance. She had a long shift ahead. She needed to assess their sobriety levels. Her goal was to make sure they stayed within the lines. This wasn’t her first rodeo. And anyway, she was a bit hungover herself.
It was time for kickoff.