Bartenders ready for party of the year |

Bartenders ready for party of the year

William Ferchland, Tribune staff writer

Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune Steamers' Bar and Grill bartender Dan Witt sees good and bad at New Years; good tips, bad behavior.

It’s the good, the bad and the ugly for bartenders during New Year’s Eve.

It’s inarguably a busy time for South Shore and arguably the one night masses of people drink the most. Tips fly from good-humored customers. Quarrels can erupt from ill-tempered people who had a bad 2003.

Dan Witt is a bartender at Steamers’ Bar and Grill who will be working at Riva Grill on the Lake tomorrow night.

“I don’t see a lot of underage kids, at least not on this side of town,” Witt said at Steamers.

One of the headaches is the shortage of cabs for those too intoxicated to drive. Witt said it could take almost two hours for a cab to respond to a call to pick up a drunk. During that waiting period the person either drinks more or slips away to their car.

“It’s fights here,” said BJ Ritter, a manager at Hoss Hoggs, which will be having three bands play on New Year’s Eve.

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Ritter said the bar has its share of teenagers trying to use a fake or relative’s driver’s license to get alcohol. He anticipated those under 21 will try Wednesday night.

Ritter won’t be at Hoss Hoggs to celebrate the entrance of 2004 and wistfully said those behind the bar could make about $400 in tips.

Finding cabs for those who drink too much is a problem on New Year’s Eve, but Ritter had a theory on how cabs could maximize profits. As cabs take fares from Stateline and drop them off at the “Y,” they could stop at the bars when they’re empty.

“At least that’s how I’d do it,” Ritter said.

Pub Tahoe, which is about a block from Stateline, is taking precautions to deter underage drinkers and maximize space. Two people will check ID and collect the cover charge for live entertainment. There will be another employee to help at the downstairs bar.

“The stools go out, the tables go out. We basically turn it into a dance club,” manager Kemper Cochran said.

On top of Kingsbury Grade, Mary Harrington, manager at Fox & Hound Bar & Grill, hasn’t worked a New Year’s Eve but will tomorrow night. One of her concerns is serving “more people than our restaurant can hold.”

South Lake Tahoe police Lt. Terry Daniels said Alcoholic Beverage Control authorities are in town reminding bartenders to keep sharp on New Year’s Eve.

– E-mail William Ferchland at