A 21st birthday celebration has become a rite of passage in which a bro celebrates getting to toss aside that fake ID and order his first legal drink in America. He then continues ordering those legal drinks until his liver wants to jump out of his body and take a sponge bath. Sometimes these nights end in disaster and shame, other times they end up being the greatest night of a man’s life. More often than not though, the 21st birthday celebration is forgotten, and the only person who walks away from the night remembering all the details is the bartender (or bar owner). Below is a collection of short stories from bartenders and bar owners of the best and worst 21st birthday celebrations they’ve ever witnessed, and they are fanfuckingtastic.
Best: Big group of girls come in to celebrate a few of them turning 21. It’s also karaoke night, and they take turns picking songs for one another. They’re all picking your favorite romantic soft-rock hits of the 80’s, and every one of them sang their little hearts out. It was amazing, and silly, and they all had a blast. They tipped well, no one got dangerously sloshed, and the one girls’ dad picked them up in a bus to go home.
Worst: Bunch of dudes come into my dive bar, and keep trying to order stuff we don’t have. Like, if you’re in a place with Pabst on tap, stop trying to order Grolsch. They also kept trying to grab stuff from behind the bar (shot glasses, soda gun, me), and were demanding shots, shots, shots. The last straw came when King Dudebro started trying to light shots on fire, then dumped flaming shots out on the bar. Then vomited on them. I charged his friend double for the flaming shots no one got to drink, then another $100 for clean up.
Co-own a bar:
Best: Bachelorette Party decided to have an impromptu wet t-shirt contest.
Worst: Once a month, someone reserves a table and sets up their own party decorations, orders a couple pitchers, and sets out a cake or something… and nobody shows up to their party. I’d say that is the worst one emotionally. Other than that, the “bro’s” – the guys that come in with MMA or Affliction shirts or some shit and come up to the bar and order 10 shots and then proceeds to do 5 of them, and the other 5 disappear. Those are the guys that Want to fight prior to even showing up. It’s worse when there are huge groups of them.
I’ve worked countless 21st Birthday Parties and they can be both hilarious and devastating.
Worst?: Birthday Girl fell down a flight of stairs and smashed her mouth up pretty bad. We found a tooth later that night and a dent in the floor boards where the tooth broke off.
Best?: Birthday Boy got busted by the bouncer for taking a piss in the back garden. The bouncer carried him out kicking and screaming with his dick hanging out.
My husband used to bounce at a nightclub for extra cash.
Some short little putz came in for his birthday party, and proceeded to get tanked in the back bar- the whole group is doing blow in the bathroom, while becoming increasingly obnoxious to the bartender.
Husband is talking down what they thought was the most obnoxious partygoer, when suddenly birthday boy stands up on his barstool, and in an amazing feat of shit-faced gymnastics, proceeds to jump OVER a friend and spear tackles husband into the ground by the neck- instant concussion, chipped teeth.
Birthday boy tried to escape out the back door, but on of the off duty cops working the club chased him down. Turns out the cop ended up breaking his foot on the drunk on a curb.
Bar Owner: This kid and his friends come into my bar on his 21st birthday! He gets beyond hammered, after a few too many shots starts running to the bathroom. About 3 steps into his wonderful journey to get to a toilet he starts spewing partially digested alcohol all over the walls, floors and himself.
He left a trail of puke that hansel and grettle would be envious of. Now I must enter the next part of the story with the fact that my bar is small. Really small.
We tell his friends to get him the fuck out. While they are “taking care of him, he decided to grab the fire extinguisher and empty it like his stomach 7 minutes prior. If you’ve ever sprayed a fire extinguisher you know it comes out as a very heavy awful tasting dust, which is more impossible to clean than glitter.
Even worse, all these dumb 21 year olds thought they ingested something toxic into their lungs. So an armada of 8 police cars, 3 fire trucks and 5 ambulances came to take these “dying people” to the hospital.
TLDR: fire extinguisher is one hell of a way to clear out a bar on a Saturday night
So if you saw my tweet from over the weekend I’d like to clear the air and say this wasn’t me. It wasn’t my 21st birthday when this happened (and there certainly wasn’t 8 police cars):
Not at my bar but at a friends. This kids mom and older sister came with him for his 21st and his 1 friend. They take him to a strip club and buy him a lap dance and sit in a corner glaring at him. He couldn’t enjoy this moment at all. It was awkward because he still got a boner and didn’t know what to do. He then ran to the bathroom. Came back and drowned his sorrows at the bar. Poor kid.
I used to work in a Nightclub in my home town and one stands out the most.
This girl came from money, Mummy and Daddy paid for everything. An example; 16th birthday present from Mummy and Daddy? Range Rover Evoke, brand new right off the shop floor with LV interior everything I can’t even imagine how much this cost? 17th birthday present from Mummy and Daddy? The insurance for her to drive the thing.
Anyway, She had her 21st night out with us at the club, as per usual Mummy and Daddy put like Three Grand down on the bar and hired out the whole room for her and her rich friends. So after maybe 4 hours the Bar tab is gone and as the Manager at the time it was my duty to tell her the tab had run out. I looked for ages trying to find this girl, searched everywhere throughout the club to no avail.
Roughly 3am I get a call to go to one of the VIP booths and low and behold the birthday girl is in there in what can only be described as an apocalyptic zombie trance, clearly birthday bitch had too much ketamine and was entering the dreaded K-Hole. I told her the tab was up and she needed to clear the rest of the tab. She kind of grunted, stood up and went to walk to the bar. As she walks past I get a big old whiff of shit, I look down at where she was sitting. Yes more shit. I look at her walking to the bar putting two and two together and yup you guessed it! In her Ketamine induced fun times she had not even noticed she had shit herself! And her party guests were either too fucked up to notice or didn’t care enough about her to say anything.
When I was in college I was a doorman at a real horrible place. We were close to the college so on almost every night of the week it was packed making it hard to move. On top of that there were only 3-4 of us on a given night.
So one night we get two 21st birthday groups, one group of Girls the other of Guys. The Girls are being pretty tame however the guys were just getting too touchy with the girls. There are 5 guys in the group and four of us on this night.
The first thing we do is try and talk them into taking a cab home. They are having none of it. At this point the cops have been called and are on the way so all we have to do is keep things from escalating. Problem is about 30 seconds after the bartender calls the cops on of the Girls throws a drink in one of the Drunk guy’s face and he goes off.
So the other two start closing in from other sections of the bar while me and the other guy I am working with start removing this guy. We get about five feet before the guy I am with takes a stool to his back and I get right across my arm and head trying to block the next swing dislocating my shoulder.
So this is where it gets bad because the guy next to me is out and getting kicked hard and I am half concussed crawling threw the crowd on one arm. When I get up and get back the guy with the stool is getting choked out by one of the other security and the guy we were dragging out has been tackled and got a good ground and pound. This all happens in the span of seconds but feels like minuets.
Now it turns into a three on three fight because the other guys want to get involved. Thank god these guys were drunk because if not I could not really defend myself. We get them to the ground and maybe 3 total minuets have passed when we finally have them down under control. So right on que this is when the cops show up and arrest all of us so they can sort us out. Everyone besides me and the unconscious guy I work with spend the night in jail. While I and him spend the night handcuffed to our hospital beds. We got off in the morning and the guy with the stool got Assault with a deadly weapon while the other guys in his group got slaps on the wrist.
The Best was when a guy came back from Afghanistan and was surprised with a 21st birthday by his friends. He missed celebrating his 21st as he was deployed. The guy ended up having what looked like one of the best nights of his life and it was not because of the booze.
Not a bar employee, but someone with a bad birthday experience:
Studied abroad in Germany the summer I turned 21. My birthday wasn’t for a couple weeks after the program ended, but I was the only person under 21 on the trip. All my classmates decide to treat my first night in Germany like my 21st birthday since it would be my first time in a bar.
We bar crawl and somehow end up at a German dungeon club. I’m well-plastered at this point, but nothing I hadn’t dealt with before. Apparently German nightclubs play mainly American/EDM music (at least while I was there) so dancing was intense. While dancing, I suddenly just fall over and pass out. I came to a couple seconds after hitting the ground and my friends are pulling me to a couch in the VIP section. We look down at my leg and my kneecap is dislocated and stuck out of place along the side of my knee.
Called the bartender over and I bit down on her towel while my buddy popped my knee back in. Bunch of Germans witnessed it and I got 5-6 free shots out of the deal to numb the pain. Ended up being supported by two friends walking to our hotel with a busted knee. Found out at the hospital the next day that I had fractured both my femur and my kneecap, so I spent the rest of the trip on some painkiller that the doctor couldn’t translate into English but it was GREAT.
Still a pretty good bar crawl though.
Worst: We got a family celebrating their daughter’s 16th. Family must have been rich because they booked out our massive ballroom, ordered the good food, threw more than a thousand down for the bar, and the daughter was obviously spoiled rotten.
Anyways, during the party, a bunch of the birthday girl’s friends tried to order liquor from me and the other bartender and when we refused to serve them, the birthday girl threw a fit. Wouldn’t have been that bad if the dad didn’t walk up to us and try to convince/guilt us to serve to them; at one point he even brought up the “I paid for this and I demand… ” card. Of course we let our manager know, and she had a talk with him.
Daughter whines some more so he orders a bunch of drinks, and starts handing it out to the kids in front of us; kinda like a big FU, all the while the daughter is sipping her rum coke with a smug shit eating smile. Next thing you know, our manager gets called in, an argument ensues, our security gets called in, dad gets punchy, we call the cops, he threatens to tell the cops we were serving to minors. Cops arrive, dad is arrested.
Last I heard, he sued the hotel and lost, but I had quit by then.
Best: an 18 YO girl who basically came from a bad background (bad family life, maybe emancipated? Don’t know the full story) couldn’t afford to celebrate her 18th which also happened to be grad. A small group of her friends, about 8 people, decided to pool money to rent out a small room and throw her a surprise birthday/grad. Everything was extremely crappy and cheap (highschool students) but you could tell it meant a lot to her.
I’m none of those things you listed. What I an is a simple man, who has never been drunk in his life. But I have dated alcoholics. In college, my gf at the time was turning 21 at Uconn. Big party school.
We go to the bar with all her friends, and they all proceed to get shit faced, nothing out of the ordinary yet. I know my girlfriend’s limits…apparently she doesn’t anymore. On her nth sit if tequila, I say, “maybe you should stop for now and enjoy the night.”
“Fuck that, give me another!” At this point the bartender rolls his eyes, shrugs ad gives be a sympathetic look while pouring another shot. She downs it, makes that sucking sound with her teeth and then proceeds to projectile vomit on the bar, floor, self and behind the bar followed by “ugly sobbing”. I place $100 bucks on the counter and fireman carry her back to her dorm.
She didn’t remember anything part 10pm that night and this happened at midnight.
I worked as a bouncer at a bar in a pretty popular beach front bar/grill for a bit.
My responsibilities of the night were to watch the patio area to make sure no one was smoking, passing out, or doing general stupid shit. There’s a group of about 8 guys and they’re having the time of their life, laughing and being slightly rowdy. It all seemed like in good fun so I just keep them in the corner of my eye.
They pick one guy up on their shoulders and lift him up and down a few times and that’s a no go. I go over and ask them to stop and they’re pretty friendly. They say it’s his birthday and they were just having fun. I tell them that’s fine, they can have their fun, but just remember they are at a bar and have to act accordingly. They apologize and go back to drinking and partying.
They keep it together for about half an hour, being active and lively. Then the birthday boy gets that look on his face like his world is about to be destroyed. He grabs a glass and starts puking into it. His friend sees this and sees that birthday boy is about to fill the glass up, so grabs another glass to catch the rest. Birthday boy fills up two glasses full of puke. I tell them that they have to leave. Now. Everyone around is disgusted as they hurry out the door.
So… They leave in such a hurry, they left the two glasses of puke on the table. Luckily, nothing else was puked on other than a few spots on the floor. I talk into the mic and let them know what’s sitting on the table and all I hear back in, “Well that sucks. Dump them out and take them to the bar.” I was like WTF? Okay then… I dump them out into the gutter and take the glasses to the bar. The bartender casually grabs them, washes them and sets them out to dry. Classy.
I guess I’ll share the cliff’s notes on mine while we’re doing this. I’m a Summer birthday, so I was back home in Sarasota but we had a year-long lease at our rental house in Tallahassee (I went to FSU). In hindsight it was a fairly dick move but I wanted to have my 21st birthday in Tally and not Sarasota, so I got all of my friends to drive up to Tallahassee. For the Summer it was a pretty tremendous turnout, I got about 25-30 people to come in town just for my birthday.
Best part of the night: finally getting go to into the bar with off-duty police officers at the door as bouncers because it’s the one place in Tallahassee you cannot get into with a fake ID (Bullwinkle’s, one of the best bars in America)
Bad part of the night: when I threw up walking upstairs at the first bar we went to after ripping a warm shot of Tuaca, some god awful Italian liquor I haven’t drank since.
Worst part of the night: when my cousin’s girlfriend invited a friend along for the night and this chick ended her evening with the ‘puke and duke’. From what I gathered (I didn’t clean the bathroom myself), this chick clogged our toilet with a mixture of vomit and dookie. She left soemtime in the middle of the night or early morning, leaving my cousin’s gf (her roommate) to clean it for her, and we never saw that girl again because she was too embarrassed (understandably so).
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