It’s coming soon. Nights of lust and embarrassment. Of high hopes and despair. Of tears and broken dreams…and if you’re in the bar or restaurant trade that’s your dreams and tears as much as your customers’.
What’s it all about? Oh, you’ve guessed. St Valentine’s Day is only three weeks away. When suddenly shy girls and timorous boys lose all sense of shame in public. Groping, gasping, caressing – and more – as though they are invisible to you and your customers (many of them in the same state).
What a profitable time too. No Romeo will let his Juliet think he’s a tightwad. It’s got to be Champagne, not that popular Italian fizz. Romantic cocktails naturally come with a premium price; especially if they’ve got a cringe-making name. Anyone for a quick Legover Fizz, a KneeTrembler’s Whippy or a Straight-up Sucking Sigh?
A bartender friend said last night, “I don’t know whether to cry, puke or join in. What I have found is that if you stare at them, you get a bigger tip”. He clutched his forehead… “No pun intended”.
Sometimes the amorous folk start early. Last week in a famous West End fish restaurant I saw a mid-thirties hipster and hipsterette became very confidential over a plate of oysters. They were sitting at the white marble counter in full view of the silver surfers up from the shires. The dalliance began with an oyster each; then a caress. Then what looked like lip-to-lip oyster sharing. Then hands around each other’s waists. Kissing, nibbling…I looked around. Conversation had stopped. Some folk were smiling.
I said to the matron on the next table, “Are you enjoying the floor show?” She said, “Aaah, they’re in love”. No-one seemed to mind. Except the staff. The oyster shucker stared. He glanced at a manager who shrugged. Both looked embarrassed, but appeared to understand the mood of the room.
I turned back to my smoked haddock. I speared the yolk of the poached egg on top; it ran smoothly into the pungent flesh. “Good god”, I thought, “it’s getting to me”.
Nights of Madness: Love is all around and all year round too. Mmm, that sounds like an all-year-round opportunity; as long as the drinks marketers stay on the right side of the Portland Group guidelines.