Dear Bartenders of Dallas: Just Say No to the Bottle-Top Pop (Updated)

Dear Bartenders of Dallas: Just Say No to the Bottle-Top Pop (Updated)
Lauren Drews Daniels

Update: I'm catching some heat in the comments by readers who defend the practice of projectile bottle opening. This photo (pictured above) just landed in my inbox. It's an old fashioned made with whiskey, bitters, sugar, and citrus. It's garnished with a metal bottle cap scooped from the ice bin: another consequence of overzealous bottle popping.

Original Item: I promise I don't have a bartender vendetta, but some of them make it too easy. The cocktail tasting move drove me nuts a few months ago. Now I'd like to talk about something I'll call the "bottle top pop."

When I was a kid working in an Italian restaurant, the bartender saw me fumbling with some matches and showed me something called the "fancy flick." With a single hand the guy could open a match book, fold a single match over the back of the book so it touched the striking strip, and then flick his thumb to ignite it. It was a slick, fluid motion that seemed to light a match out of thin air, and you could hold it out, still attached to the book, and light someone's cigarette.

I know it's called a "popper" but please stop popping.
I know it's called a "popper" but please stop popping.

I made note to master the fancy flick, and still use it to this day (though it's always embarrassing when you fuck it up.) Compare this to the "not-so-fancy flick" I've seen scores of bartenders around Dallas use and I'm not as amused.

I know you've seen it. Bartender grabs a bottle of beer from the cooler, pulls flat metal bottle opener from either a back pocket or a wrist band that keeps the tool dutifully at hand, and then as quickly as possible tries to pop the top off, sending it flying to the floor. I would say the move takes no talent, but I've seen it botched too many times. Once I watched a bottle cap fly through the air to strike a patron. Another time I watched as a bartender sheared the entire top of a bottle off. Thankfully glass shards weren't sent flying like the other bottle caps.

I get that serving 500 bottles of Bud and red-headed slut shots can be boring, but there's got to be a better way to keep yourself entertained. Now that smoking isn't allowed in restaurants, the original fancy flick is moot. Something with a bit more style should take its place.

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