The After Hours Bar

by Pete Harvey

Chubb's bar and grill was back in business after a short lockdown period. A month ago an ugly incident broke out after a round of beers and a karaoke singing contest went wrong. One stout, leather skinned Mexican with a goatee lost his cool when another customer began making fun of his girlfriend's singing. Shouting conversed back and forth and before long the other intoxicated customer got stabbed in the gut with a knife . He turned out to okay after being rushed to the hospital. A good deal of damage was done to the bar and the police told everyone to go home. Antonio "Chubbs" Feebles, the owner had plans to expand to business into a night club. The tan, short and pudgy Puerto Rican had a sharp business sense. He was always optimistic. He had an idea for another room in the building to be set up into a downstairs dance room. There were some alterations that needed to be made though. After putting in the karaoke machine, seeing just how bad some people sung Antonio realized that was a big mistake.

Getting organized, talented bands to come to the new night club would be great. This would bring in more customers and reap a greater profit for the business. Preparing the setup for this kind of arena needed to be near perfect. Keeping the deadbeats who got way too drunk and started fights out of the place would continue to be a challenge as their presence posed a major problem. One of Antonio's most trusted and loyal employees, Luis Cabrera had to deal with a lot of morons while on his shift. He was a bartender for the establishment. Much work had to be done with his assistance to get the expanded club up and running. Bringing in a DJ wouldn't cost too much or setting up a stereo system and speakers for the music. Chubbs had established quite a business for himself over the years, increasing his customer base. Cleaning would definitely be a main priority as the stifling aroma coming the restrooms became pungent and dirty, dusty floors needed to be swept. The smells of vomit was apparent on the side of the bar and pool table. Air fresheners and cleaning sprays were always available on the shelf behind the main counter. Maintaining good business was always at stake.

The karaoke nights didn't go over too well with the local patrons. Listening to the drunken, slurred lyrics of forty-year old maintenance and construction workers became annoying to everyone in the bar within no time. Chubbs recognized this and worried about how to provide a solution. He searched in his mind for a better alternative or different approach for this weekly activity. If he gets rid of the karaoke machine, people may get hostile, stop coming in the bar, and he would lose business. On the other hand the odds of another wild, barbaric fight breaking out were better than average. Satisfying everyone would be near impossible so Chubbs would have to roll with the punches and hopefully not end up with another broken row of wine glasses and front window like on several previous occasions. It was becoming too expensive for him.

Several distinguished, thick bearded men enter the business on a Thursday night and take a seat at the bar on stools. A noise disturbance comes from the other side of the room as three gaudy, under dressed young women revealing cleavage argue and curse at each other while spilling beer on the floor. Chubbs hurries over to them. He can't tolerate such disturbance and rudeness inside his bar.

"Hey you two girlies need to cut down on the noise or move it along. This is a public establishment. I'm running a business here, do ya mind?" Chubbs says as the young women stare at him as if he is insane then walk away to a secluded table near the back. A "No Loitering" sign is attached to the front door of the bar as well as a no soliciting warning posted as well. A group of thugs in black overcoats ignore the notice and hang around outside talking smack and distributing crack. Three biker guys dressed in rawhide leather who have handle bar mustaches enter the bar. They lit up cigarettes, but are quickly told to put them out or leave by an employee. Chubb's new installment of televisions at the bar was a wise investment. Many guys enjoy coming in to have a few drinks and watch a basketball or football game. The police drop by unexpectedly to see what is going on and Chubbs spots them. He becomes nervous as his eyes wander around the room to make sure everything is in order and nobody is causing problems. A few middle-age women walk to the restroom. One of the bartenders, Lionel prepares various drinks behind the bar, mixing it up while chatting with lonely customers. The regulars lean on him for support, having someone who will listen to their personal problems. Sure he get tired of it, but at least he's getting paid good money.

Hours later rearing closing time, the place gets crowded and lot more rowdy. Next week when Chubb's has another karaoke night it will probably be even worse. Not only do the loud, obnoxious karaoke participants cause a disturbance, but also the wild alcoholics who try to sing some new pop or country song truly make a big scene and get others riled up. Within minutes another brawl breaks out with the use of empty and full liquor bottles being cracked over people's heads. The same goes for chairs. The place turns into a madhouse and Chubb's wants by all means for the police not to intervene, but they do. For the time being his concentration is focused on becoming the best bar and night club in town and increasing profits. Doing better business is always top priority. The drug dealing Latinos, blacks, and Mexicans try to ruin business by coming in sometimes and sell their whole line of narcotics. The white thugs that wander in and out are nothing, but trash. They always want to stir up some shit.

The following day, business as usual is going on as a group of twenty-something females are sitting at the bar and having some drinks. The bartender, Luis does his routine work, talking to the women trying to get them to buy more drinks and get drunk. On the other side of the room two Italian, thick voiced men in black leather jackets play a game of pool. They are expressionless with blank looks on their faces. The Italian guy who has a wrinkled forehead and lumpy chin notices one of the young women sitting across at the bar. His eyes get real tight as if his vision is becoming blurry. The now startled female glances at him then jerks her head away. He slams his pool stick down on the table and approaches the attractive young girl. They exchange a few comments, appearing to know each other and after quick chatting get into a heated discussion.

Chubbs walks down the steps from his office to check on how business is going in the late afternoon. A small gathering of customers are present, but no major spending is taking place. Then the successful bar and night club owner sees the big Italian guys who are now threatening the cute girl at the bar. The mood becomes hostile, making others uncomfortable and scared. Chubbs sees another disaster waiting to happen, but is reluctant to get involved in the confrontation right away. May be they will settle their problems in few minutes, no need to intrude he thinks. He knows that is never the case, especially in this scenario. He walks over to the angry Italian man with reasonable caution. All hell could break loose again at any minute so he knew to be careful. Saying the wrong thing could set the behemoth off like a firecracker.

Property damage always remained a concern. Chubbs hated having to pay to replace glass, chairs, lamps, pool sticks, doors, and tables. It was costing him way too much money. These customers would tear his whole establishment apart if he let them. He asks the vein popping Italian to take the argument outside since he has a blatant disregard for the welfare of the girl. Apparently she had been working for the Italian brut, who is a hit man. Money was not paid back to him and he was determined to get it. He ignores the request of the owner then slaps the glass of beer out of the girl's hand when she doesn't take him serious enough. The female yells when he grabs her hair, violently pulling and twisting it. The bartender Jose just stands away behind the bar frozen. Chubb's can't witness this abuse any longer.

"Get your freaking hands off her right now, GET OUT OF HERE! He shouts, pulling at the strong hit man's arms, hoping he will stop. Instead he shoots a menacing glare back and takes a swing. Chubbs ducks and runs over toward Jose. He tells his bartender to hand him a whiskey bottle. In one striking instant the bottle cracks the bully over the head with a thunderous blow. The Italian man drops to the floor, momentarily unconscious. His other partner takes one look at the gutsy, stout bar owner then with a moment of intelligence exits at the front. Chubbs asks the female customer if she is okay and apologizes for the nasty scene that just took place. Trying to maintain a business sense of integrity and garnering respect from clients is not always easy. Jose is instructed to clear the broken glass along the bar and the floor. Chubbs calls the police to have the heavy perpetrator hauled away and arrested.

As the weeks rolled on business really began to thrive towards the winter months. So many alcoholics flooded the bar as well as musicians, karaoke singers, and entertainers who yearned for the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience. Despite the lousy singing and usual lewd behavior money was being made at an increased rate. The whole night scene atmosphere was bringing in crowds of people looking to enjoy good drinks and uplifting entertainment. All the hard work, including the grief put up with from constant brawls and illegal activities had finally paid off. Chubb's Bar and Grill had made a name for itself in town and was starting to be a mainstream hang-up for young adults to middle aged adults. Having people compliment Chubbs on creating such a sparkling social spot was flattering. This let him know he was doing a good job. Leave it to the hapless drunks who show up after hours though to spill their life stories, trials, and tribulations to anyone who will listen. They made a constant effort to discuss failed relationships, lost jobs, financial troubles, rectal health problems, lack of family support, and anything else they wanted to blurt out without clear embarrassment or shame. This truly was depressing, making some people feel sorry for them.

The new no tolerance for crap policy in effect since a week ago really paid dividends for the all business like bar owner. Sure people made threats now and then about destroying the place and causing a riot to break out by it never happened. They knew how serious the owner was about such behavior. He had put his foot down on the whole violence, excessive disturbance issue. Business had been well of late and Chubbs hoped to keep it that way. The existing problems of aggressive drunks, loud, foul- mouthed hecklers, and no talent karaoke singers may never go away. By doing some advertising and promotions locally, the stocky bar owner expanded special events scheduling them 3 or 4 nights of the week. These events would not only include still include karaoke, but live music bands, open mic nights, and disco strobe light night. As unconventional as it sounded it was good idea.

On a typical Thursday night, there is some singing by a musical performers and frequent drinking at the bar. People are chatting and having a good time as they keep to a dull roar. It is a full house with no available parking spaces outside. Many college aged students, avid guitarists, and others are on hand to spend time with friends, have a couple of drinks, and hang out. Chubb's dream is finally coming into perspective as his diligent advanced planning and business expertise has worked wonders. There are no visible problems inside the building, no cops are present to serve as watch dogs, and people are actually being decent and respectful to one another for a change. This is nice to see, it's the way things should be. Jose and the other bartenders are mixing drinks fast as the orders kept coming. Tonight they would make good tips and even earn themselves a raise.

Chubbs understood how hard his employees worked and saw their dedication, glad to increase their wages since business was booming. Chubbs bar and night club shortly became a launching pad for up and coming talented musicians and entertainers. They were thankful to get an opportunity and a popular venue to perform, proving their overall ability. It was a place to showcase natural talent, entertain a crowd, make valuable contacts, and have fun while doing so. After hours was when all the activities began as people came to have a late dinner while others show up for a chance to participate. Less and less strange, physical and mentally unstable individuals came into the bar anymore. This truly was a blessing in distinguish for the gracious, appreciative owner. All the agony, stress, and money he went through to deal with previous problems caused by such people ceased to exist.

Chubbs shared the wealth he attained by giving to charities and foundations. Since he was not married or involved in a relationship at the time being he enjoyed buying himself a couple of nice gifts. His new sports convertible was money well spent in his view so was the deck he had built on the back of his house along with the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. This wasn't to say the money was going to his head. He wanted to have these luxuries that he only dreamed of as a kid. Family and friends congratulated the intelligent, business savvy night club and bar owner on his success. They were all given monetary gifts for being so good to him over the years. Chubbs also took to making investments in stocks, bonds, and small chunks of real estate.

The rest of the money left over from his stellar business was saved to be used for future expenses and needs. The night club and bar had been transformed into a classy place, a real casual setting for adults and young adults to have a good time and relax. Due to the expansion of the business and heavy flow of customers Chubbs decided to hire a few more qualified employees. Despite the lack of health benefits the pay was excellent. Gone were the days of hostile, crude bikers, hit men, and drug pushers who used to align the place with their corrupt intentions resulting in drug busts and vicious, out of control bar fights. Running a respectable business stood as a top goal for Mr. Feebles. The business was his life and meant everything to him. This was how he made his living.

Keeping customers and employees happy would remain was his greatest challenge. Antonio was a fair man that didn't like to see people get taken advantaged of or mistreated. He had gotten to know and established relationships with so many diverse, interesting types of people. Chubb's Bar and Grill was voted as the #1 hot spot for fun and entertainment after hours in upstate New York. Through the draining yet rewarding months ahead it's credibility of selection would be proven. Nights were jamming at the night club with more live, appealing musical performers and comedians who were given a chance to shine on Amateur nights during the week. Chubbs took to the kind, heart felt displays of appreciation from entertainers warmly.

Antonio Feebles took a disaster of a business and turned it into a super popular, successful establishment that people had come to know and love. All he had been through was a testament to his strong work ethic, high values, and perseverance from the start. Believing in himself, facing the mounting obstacles in his path allowed him to learn from past mistakes and finally reach high potential. As he enables his business to grow by the day, there is a philosophy he stands by faithfully, which is there is always room for improvement. The will to never quit on your aspirations or dreams made him who he is today. Antonio "Chubbs" Feebles was a great man that poured out his heart and soul to be the best, truly a honorable pioneer in his own field.

Rate this submission


You must be logged in to rate submissions

Loading Comments