Secret Bar Vocabulary

This piece in the New York Times by Ben Schott features some code words and phrases among bartenders. Some restaurant lingo (like dying in the window) have kept their meaning on the bar side, while others (like family meal) have a new alcoholic twist. While some that are mentioned are terms specific to that bar, many are universally applied to bars around the world.

"church key" – a classic flat bottle opener

"I need you to barback for me..." – asking a colleague to find out the name of a customer when you've forgotten it

"The tour bus stopped out front." – when 25 people walk in at the same time

The attached picture is a boomerang. It's not at all common in Los Angeles, but it makes for a good headline photo, doesn't it? Not listed in the piece, but becoming increasingly common is the D.T.O, or daiquiri time out, which originated in Boston.

Some bar lingo specific to LA:

"I got Straused." – this happens when you're blindsided by an epic night of drinking

"I got Harvard & Stoned." – similar to above, but perhaps with more disastrous results

"FUCD!" – [screw] you, Chris Day!

"Getting the postcard menu." – acknowledgement by the bartender of a guest's adventurous or advanced palate

"It's a 213 dive." – a neighborhood bar that feels a bit divey but stocks craft cocktail ingredients

"It's a hill and valley crowd." – LA's answer to bridge and tunnel

"It's a vodka soda crowd." – LA's most predominant drink order

Caaqbwgkmnhrmqowt v0 boomerang