Feb. 26, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
The service industry, well known for its highly demanding work environment, oftentimes leave its employees with endless stories of strange encounters with customers. Now, a bar in Ridgewood is offering service industry professionals a story-based outlet for their long and strenuous work days.
Every other Monday night, The Footlight, located at 465 Seneca Ave., hosts “Stories on the Side”, an open mic night for service industry professionals. Workers can get up on stage to share stories—both good and bad—about their strange and frustrating work days.
The bar has been hosting these quasi-therapeutic nights for over a year after the idea came to The Footlight’s owner, Laura Regan, as a way for industry professionals to unwind and blow off steam after a full weekend of shifts.
“Everyone has to unload sometimes,” Regan said.
At each Stories on the Side night, about 10 to 15 back-of-house, kitchen staff, hosts, servers and bartenders all take to the mic to share their shocking, frustrating and humorous experiences on the job.
“We get a lot of stories about odd requests from customers, shutting off drunk bar patrons, terrible bosses,” Regan said. “We also get the occasional good story that makes us believe in humanity again.”
Regan herself has even gotten up to share a story of working in her father’s donut shop as a teenager and having a run in with a customer who became enraged after misunderstanding something she said.
“I don’t know what he thought I said, but he turned all red in the face and started screaming about how long he had to wait and how he doesn’t deserve to be treated this way,” Regan said. “My dad came out from the back and yelled back at the man, ‘Sir, you need to stop yelling at my daughter right now, I can’t imagine what she could have done to make a grown man scream at a teenager.’ The man was so embarrassed.”
The event is sponsored by Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery, with cheap or free beer available to that night’s participants. Industry professionals wanting to share their stories can sign up for the series beginning at 6 p.m. each night.