Doing The Drunken Swirl

Music plays throughout the restaurant in the few hours before we open to the public. The type of music depends on the opening manager. One plays smooth jazz–fine if you want to nap. Another plays hits from the 40s or some such unremarkable musical decade. This is never fine for pre-opening.

Back in the early months of the restaurant, one manager played club tunes. Another played reggaeton. Sometimes it was a mix of everything and anything. It got everyone moving.

No more. We are now relegated to several sedate satellite stations. The best of the worst is the one featuring overplayed 70s and 80s hits, and only a couple of managers even tune that one in.

Thankfully, one did today.

“I’ll bet you do an awesome Drunken Swirl at weddings,” smiled my counterpart as another host and I traded cool moves.

“The what?” I asked.

“The Drunken Swirl. You know, the dance people dance when they’ve had enough to drink to think they really can dance.”

Ah, yes. I have seen it at many a wedding, bar and bat mitzvah, and milestone birthday event. I just didn’t know it had an official name.

“Yep, it starts at the hips, but it always ends up with the person weaving around in a huge circle, arms waving. Ha! The Drunken Swirl. You’ve done it, I know you have.”

So I tried to mimic this Drunken Swirl. “Like this?”

“No. You aren’t drunk. You can’t do it if you’re not drunk.”

The other host tried it.

“Nah. You’re too young to do the Drunken Swirl. You gotta be middle aged. And drunk.”

At which point, a random disco hit came on, and the other host and I gave up on The Drunken Swirl and matched Hustle steps with one another in front of the podium. We were awesome, in our own minds.

The upstairs bartender stopped stocking his shelves to watch.

“You do know The Sprinkler, yes?” he laughed. Which he then imitated by pointing one hand in the air and moving it overhead, back and forth, up and down.

We incorporated The Sprinkler into our routine.

“Oh, and who can forget the Butterball in the Oven?” This bartender was on a roll and we were happy to oblige.

“Show us, show us,” we pleaded.

In slow motion he turned to the side, reached his arms out as though getting a turkey out of the oven, turned to the front, and placed the turkey on the table. He repeated these moves to the other side.


The young host and I obliged with a full routine incorporating The Drunken Swirl, The Sprinkler, and several repetitions of Butterball in the Oven.

My counterpart boomed his deep laugh as he watched. “I got my own big screen and dance floor show right here!”

I have not laughed so hard in months.

It was fun to have fun at work again.






7 responses to “Doing The Drunken Swirl”

  1. Mike Avatar

    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed visiting your site! I’ve been in the restaurant industry (“back of house”) for almost 20 years now, so I can relate to alot of what you talk about….nice color scheme too! I look forward to reading more of what you have to say….have a nice week. 🙂

  2. Natalie Avatar

    We want video!!

  3. LB Avatar

    I’m not sure that I agree you have to be middle aged to do the Drunken Swirl – but I wish I had seen it! Maybe in July…

  4. Phil Avatar

    Corporations would be much better places to work, if only they allowed more dancing.

  5. Restaurant Gal Avatar

    Phil–Which is why I ditched the office world–to dance!

    The Gal

  6. Andrew Avatar

    My personal favorite is the Grocery Shopper

  7. bubba Avatar