Paulelmo's Blog

Channeling Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse; How Two Little Words Could Help Solve So Many of Our Country’s Problems

Road House (1989 film) - Wikipedia

I am a good bartender, and I run a bar that people like to spend time in. That isn’t because the food our restaurant serves is that much better than everyone else’s; it’s pretty good, but it’s not extraordinarily so. Nor is it because I know how to make more drinks than other bartenders or that the drinks I make are better than other bartenders; that’s true to a point at times perhaps, but good drinks are not prerequisite to a good bar.

A bad drink served by a good bartender is better than a good drink served by a bad bartender any day.

No, it isn’t what you can buy and/or consume in our bar and restaurant that make it a good bar; it’s something else entirely.

Invariably, when people note the feel of our bar, the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail is often brought up. Yes, I toss a bottle here and there like they did in that movie, and I’m a writer and I sometimes share my poems, but the similarities between the bar I want my guests to visit and the bar Mr. Cruise worked at in that movie end there.

In fact, if any bar from any screen is the prototype of the bar I hope to emulate, it would have to be Sam Malone’s bar, Cheers, from the television show of the same name. We do wanna go where everybody knows our names. That is the first rule of running a good, respectful bar.

“Where Everybody Knows Your Name” was Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo’s third attempt at writing a theme song for the television series “Cheers.” The first two were rejected.

So, Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo had come up with what should be the goal for running a successful bar, but they didn’t go into how bartenders and owners should go about that. I didn’t find out the two words that would tell me how to do that until later, when I saw the Patrick Swayze movie, Roadhouse.

I recall the first time I saw this scene, and, while I can’t say that I thought to myself, “If I’m ever a bartender, those are going to be the two words that I use to guide me,” but I do recall it making a big impression on me. It made so much sense, and when I did start tending bar, they were the two words that I used to guide me.

Patrick Swayze’s Dalton gives us two words that not only every good business should be founded on, but everything we do should be as well.

“Be nice.” Nothing more than that. Yes, as Dalton says in this scene, occasionally a situation arises when you have to stop being nice–I had one such situation in the last week–but my experience has taught me that those situations occur far less frequently if you make it a point to be nice to everyone in general.

I had a lady comment on how nice I was to her and her date last night, and we got into a conversation about the importance of being nice. It expanded to noting that the importance of being nice goes beyond the walls of businesses. It’s important to be nice all the time. Really, what does it cost, and how much effort goes into it? How much better off would this world be if we all just tried to be nice to each other all the time? How much less of this political divisiveness that is ripping our country apart would we see if we all tried to be a bit nicer?

I’ve heard “nice” described as cliché and naïve. I’ve heard people degrade the notion of niceness and ridicule it as simple. “Surely people who are nice are ignorant of the darker natures of this world” is a thought that I’ve seen put forth. I think just the opposite is true; at least it is in my case. I think it’s important to be nice because of the darker natures of this world. We never know what kind of hardship and crap the people we encounter are putting up with, and it might make their day a little less dark and difficult if we’re nice to them.

There are no great thoughts here, my friends, no grand pronouncements for which I, or anyone else, should be lauded; rather, it’s just the Golden Rule simplified. Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. Devil’s Advocates will point out that some people don’t want to be treated nicely. To that, I say, then maybe those people should just stay home.

I hope this means something to you, my friends. I hope it proves as a reminder to do an easy little thing that might make the world a better place. If enough of us stay focused on it, I literally believe it will.

It’s always good for me to meet you here, friends. I love you and thank you for making this little part of the journey with me. It really means a lot. It’s nice of you, and it makes my life a little better.

Until soon, big fat hugs from here.

7 Replies to “Channeling Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse; How Two Little Words Could Help Solve So Many of Our Country’s Problems”

  1. Such a simple thing, really, yet you’ve captured it so eloquently. Reading this has made me ponder why the shutdowns & mandates have affected me the way they have. To have my routine of visiting you 2-3 times per week disrupted hasn’t been about the food, or even about the drinks, rather, it’s been about the fellowship and the interactions with you. You evoke a feeling that’s akin to what one imagines it would be like to walk through the door of Cheers and be greeted by Sam Malone. We could drink in any bar in town. We choose to come back to yours. To come back to you. For 8 years now. Because you’ve always been nice. We miss you & love you, friend. Counting the days to when we can see you again. xoxo

  2. Love it. So simple and, yet, so powerful. And, yes, you are nice. The way you run your bar is nothing short of what I would expect if I walked through the door of Cheer’s and were greeted by Sam Malone. This piece has caused me to ponder why the shutdowns/mandates have impacted me the way that they have. The disruption to my regular routine, which includes seeing you 2-3 times per week, isn’t about not being able to sit at a bar and have a few drinks, rather, it’s about missing out on that human connection, that niceness, that comes from a visit with you. We could drink at any bar in town. We choose to keep coming back to where everyone knows our name. We choose to come back to you. xoxo

    1. Nice of you to say, love. Yeah, I’ll tell you, I get to this point, and I start having dreams about the bar; it’s completely open, full of friends, festive, and bright. We’ll be back there next week, and it’ll be nice, whether it’s still restricted or not. Happy New Year, and love to the Big Man.

  3. Sometimes the best advice is also the most simple. I like it. And I like nice people. Mean people suck. I didn’t know you are a bartender…You are both nice, and strong. 🙂

    1. Nice of you. Yes, I’m a bartender. My degree is in English, specializing in Professional Writing, but bartending pays the bills. I’ve been a bartender for most of the last 27 years and exclusively so for about 14 years now.

    1. I appreciate that. It’s especially nice to hear about this one, because it was just a little run of a post. I thought it was something that should be said, I said it, and I posted it. Most posts are more involved than that, so it’s nice to hear that my off the cuff nature worked. Thanks for reading and responding. You’ve made my night. How NICE of you.

      Be well.

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