After 29 years working behind the bar at OSullivans Italian Irish Pub – that local bastion of tipsy regret – bartender Louis Lecoque has seen his share of flying drinks.
Icy pink ones that explode like confetti; frothy mugs of beer; gin and tonics that look strangely refreshing when splashed against an unsuspecting face.
No wine, though, Lecoque says. Ive never seen anyone throw a glass of wine. I figure, if you love wine, chances are good you dont think the other person is worth it.
Your average drink-toss follows a predictable pattern, Lacoque says: A couple begin to argue. One threatens (either verbally or physically) to toss a drink in the others face. Then – and this part is essential for maximum drama – the other person scoffs at the very idea.
Nobody ever believes its actually going to happen, Lacoque says. Even if you tell them youre about to throw it, they dont believe youre actually going to do it. And then boom!
This leads to the most common stage of a drink-toss: the look of stunned disbelief on a face now dripping with the celadon slime of an appletini.
What happens after that depends on the catcher of the drink. Quite often, the person on the receiving end realizes they not only were warned about the possibility of getting splashed, but they deserved it. Fifty years after the Mad Men era, pinching a womans behind occasionally still happens, and getting a drink tossed in your gob for your troubles is a fitting response, Lecoque says.
More often than not, Ill start laughing when this happens, he says. Because, depending on the circumstances, Im liable to be looking at the guy with the drink on his face and thinking, You dumb (expletive).
Unfortunately, some people consider a drink-toss an invitation to a knuckle sandwich buffet, says Courtney Cadwallader, who started working behind the bar a year ago at Pieres Entertainment Center.
Youll get that stunned reaction, but its gone in an instant, she says. There will be a quick second of being stunned and then theyll automatically retaliate – sometimes by throwing a drink back.
Which brings us to the last and most tragic stage in an average drink-toss: the innocent bystander freaks out.
Nine times out of 10, the drink throwers aim is off, Cadwallader says. So the drink ends up all over some poor person who had nothing to do with it. And then theyre covered in something icy, sticky and pink for the rest of the night.
Neither Cadwallader or Lecoque has seen a rise in the drink-in-the-face phenomenon, despite its prevalence on shows such as Basketball Wives and Smash. Thats a good thing, Cadwallader says, for a number of reasons.
We certainly dont encourage it at the bar, she says. It makes a mess; it starts fights. But, you also dont want to see it every night because, honestly, it wouldnt be as entertaining.