Mo Mandel / Thursday, January 15, 2015, 2:43pm
Not to get too deep on here, but this episode was really about assumptions and perceptions. Namely, how often our assumptions and perceptions of things are wholly inaccurate and don't serve us particularly well. For instance, you might perceive that I am a stand-up comedian who hosts a bar show and just naturally assume that I am also a degenerate who drinks too much, but… okay, bad example. Moving on.
Gene showed up at Bottega Wine Bar looking like a surfer dude. Because he is a surfer dude. And so the entire staff just naturally assumed he was also a slacker who knew nothing about wine. They saw the scraggly hair and heard that he ran a beer bar and just thought, "Well, this guy is going to be totally out of his league." They didn't for a second assume that this same homeless-looking gentleman in front of them might actually know a thing or two about Merlots and how to organize a fancy plate of Bruschetta. Their assumptions of Gene were probably that he was going to try and sleaze up their fancy spot when, in reality, he added a Champagne bar. Albeit one that forced the customers to serve themselves and tested their morality by allowing them to pay at the end.
Meanwhile, when Simon showed up at Beer Trade Company driving a purple SUV and wearing a spiffy little sports coat, Chris, Beer Trade's manager, kind of assumed that he'd be able to push him around. But what he didn't know was that Simon is actually a former competitive Judo champion and was not a tiny bit intimidated, as we saw from their near fist fight. In fact, as Simon told me, Judo is where he learned that crazy bread trick. A crazy college Judo coach tried to impart the wisdom of trust and discipline by forcing Simon and his teammates to clean the bathrooms in the gym after practice, and then they had to run some bread across those sweet Judo toilets.
As for me, I was blown away that a concept like Beer Trade Company's self-serve policy actually works, which it does, in a big successful way. I just naturally assumed that people are untrustworthy and would steal like crazy. But perhaps I'm just making my own assumptions based on the way that I am.
At the end of the day, both of these bars are excellent places. I'm from Northern California's wine country and I can attest to the top notch quality of Bottega's wines, and as an avid beer drinker, I was continually impressed by the variety of quality craft beers that I was pulling off the shelves down at Beer Trade. Next time you are in South Florida, go to both of these spots and drink it up. But don't mix wine and beer in one night. My assumptions and perceptions of what happens when you do that were unfortunately completely accurate, as my upset stomach and headache could wholly attest to.
Follow Barmageddon host Mo Mandel on Twitter for more of his unique perspective, stand-up dates and more.