Chicago After Dark
It’s dark, and the sun will rise within a few hours. The only people left are the manager, bouncer, and cocktail waitress. The three are counting money, wiping down tables, and hoping to make it out of the bar by 4 a.m.
Stationed at Grand Central, 950 W Wrightwood Ave. in Lincoln Park. Daryl Misrac, 29, is hoping to have at least three hours of sleep before she starts her Saturday job at a boutique, Lululemon, on Michigan Avenue.
As she brushes the hair away from her face she smiles and said, “I’m ready for a long shower and a book.”
She laughs and walks away to gather her belongings from the back. The bouncer walks her out to her car. She hops in her car and drives to her home to have a few last moments of peace till the day starts over.
Misrac has been working at Grand Central for more than two years.
“I’ve been working in the restaurant industry since I was 15 years old”, said Misrac.
The fast-paced environment makes time go quickly while Misrac works. But, her days are filled with studying stenography at the College of Court Reporting, working at Lululemon, helping out her family, and teaching yoga. So when does Misrac sleep, eat, and have a healthy lifestyle?
“I try to not work on Sundays, so I generally sleep late, take a yoga class, watch football with friends if it’s the season, or go for dinner and catch up on homework,” she said.
It’s the simple things that Misrac looks forward to. She also has Wednesday mornings off. She usually spends this time with her grandparents and homework. She sighs and says, “Not too exciting right now.”
Around 5 p.m., the bar is not too busy. Misrac rolls silverware as she talks about her life. Her calm mannerisms make those around her wonder how Misrac will respond during the rush of individuals who come in late-and usually drunk.
Around 6:30 p.m. a crowd comes in.
“The Apollo Theater is down the street, so a rush at this time is common,” she said.
She attends each table as if those were the only customers in the whole bar. Her attentiveness to each person and table shows her dedication to the business. Misrac has been in this business for more than 14 years.
The crowd dies down around 8 p.m. and the rush comes and goes. By 10:30 p.m., the pace picks up quickly. While people are coming in, pushing through the crowd to get drinks from the bar, Misrac is opening tabs, closing tabs and rushing drinks to her assigned section.
“Being sober in this environment is an interesting piece of the job,” said Misrac.
Throughout the night, patrons buy her shots. She takes a few and declines a few.
“This is the first job that I have worked at that we are allowed to drink if the customer wants to buy us shots or drinks to have with them,” she said. “In all honestly, it helps to get through the night.”
By 2 a.m. the lights come on and the music stops. The staff tries to get some drunk customers out the door. Closing time is 3 a.m., and in order to get a large crowd out, the door they must start early. The crowd slowly disappears. By 3 a.m., the place is empty.
“When people are wasted, they forget to pay their bills, don’t tip the appropriate amount, can become very demanding, and are just jerks sometimes,” she said.
“Lately my patience for drunk, irresponsible college students has really started to decrease,” she said. “In the past, I would never say anything about a lousy tip, or a rude person, but I find myself speaking up more often to get what I deserve.”
“It’s just kind of insanity. When it’s busy, tons of people there, people are drunk; it’s just an [expletive] show.”
As the night winds down, one can see the sun will come up soon, and all those that work in the dark need their rest. The last three standing people are ready to lock up and start it all over again.
“It’s time to decompress,” Misrac said.
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- May 27, 2010 / 1:34 am