This article originally appeared in Jump Point 7.10.
Greetings, traveler. The universe is full of unique stories waiting to be told. We here at the OBSERVIST LIFESTYLE are eager to provide a firsthand, up-close look at the fascinating people who live among the stars and the amazing adventures they have.
Today, we travel to the Stanton system and enter atmosphere above ArcCorp. Below us, urban sprawl stretches in each direction, making it an intimidating and overwhelming destination for many travelers. Most visitors, whether for business or pleasure, set a course for Area18, a public commercial district with its spaceport open to all. This bustling commerce hub draws many to this unique corner of the Empire.
The G-Loc Bar sits just off Area18’s central plaza. Popular with both locals and off-worlders for its spectacular views and stiff drinks, the bar sees a steady flow of customers from all walks of life and from almost every system in the UEE. Bartender Brant Weiss has been slinging drinks and swapping stories with G-Loc customers for over eight years. He spends an average of twelve hours a day, six days a week at the bar, but claims he almost never gets bored. Weiss credits the diverse and unpredictable customer base for keeping him engaged and interested in his job. I was eager to hear what life was like for someone who deals with such a wide range of Humanity on a daily basis.
Arriving during a mid-shift lull to find G-Loc lively but not too crowded, I grab an empty stool at the far end of the L-shaped bar and survey the scene. The bar blends an industrial yet elegant aesthetic with retired and refurbished ArcCorp thrusters hanging above comfortable faux leather booths. An elevated area at the back contains a currently empty dance floor and massive windows offering an impressive view of Area18’s unending sprawl.
Today, Weiss works alone behind the bar. He greets each customer warmly before taking their order. Some he knows, but most are new. Then he quickly mixes their drink and moves to the next guest. Once everyone’s been served, Weiss retrieves a few used glasses left on the bar, runs the sanitizer, restocks the rails, and makes himself a quick drink before joining me.
“It’s just a peach Fizzz. I need to keep my wits about me. Plus, knowing my tastes, I’d drink away half my pay if it became a habit. There’s a bottle of Radegast on the top shelf that keeps calling to me. But in all seriousness, this is a delicate and detail-oriented job. Most don’t think of it like that, but once the rush is on, trying to remember who ordered what and getting it all out fast can be a real herculean effort. Plus, you gotta make sure you stay fully stocked, keep everything not just clean but sanitary… I mean, the list just goes on and on. That’s the easy part though. It’s managing the customers that’s the true challenge and, for me at least, the real joy of this job.”
Weiss claims the G-Loc doesn’t have a typical customer. Its location near Area18’s busy central plaza brings in a wide range of foot traffic. It attracts locals looking to unwind after work, haulers killing time between gigs, and tourists drawn in by positive reviews of their expertly crafted and potent cocktails.
“We always do good business during the Murray Cup or sataball season. Those crowds are always fun but a bit rowdy. There’s one long hauler that makes us her first stop after spending who knows how long trapped alone aboard her ship. Says she needs a heavy dose of Humanity with her whiskey. And the other day, I delivered a round of shots to a quiet table in the back only to find out that they just hammered out the final details on some multi-billion credit merger. No two days are ever the same around here, that’s for sure.”
As Weiss describes his wide-ranging clientele, an individual wearing full armor and a helmet sprints into the bar. They quickly survey the scene before running up the steps to the dance floor. They do a brief hip shaking, finger wagging dance before running out almost as quickly as they came in. The incident doesn’t faze Weiss at all.
“That happens more often than you think. Don’t know what drives folks to do it. Sometimes I think staying on a ship for too long can mess with people’s heads… or it’s just the drugs. (Laughs) Anyways, I’ve gotten pretty damn good at reading people with a glance. Even those that come tearing through here in full armor. I mean, that right there tells you a lot about the person. Who wears a helmet to go get a drink?”
A steady stream of customers continues to trickle in and out. While Weiss fills drink orders, he chats amicably across a wide range of topics from the TDD’s current price for astatine to the best beaches on Goss. Based on his grounded repartee and in-depth knowledge about areas and issues affecting all corners of the UEE, most would be shocked to know he’s never left the Stanton system.
“I went to microTech once. Those biomes are beautiful but everything’s so damn expensive. My family never had a ship, and I sure as hell can’t afford one. Never let that kill my curiosity though. Someone once told me that you can learn a lot about life by traveling, reading, and engaging in good conversation. I don’t have the means to travel, so I focus on the other two. That’s why I’m always talking to folks about their adventures and keeping a list of all the interesting places they mention. Maybe one day when I’m retired I’ll visit a few. I’d like that. But for now, I’m happy to have the rest of the universe come here and visit me.”
And from where I’m sitting, it seems the rest of the ‘verse is happy to do just that. As long as Weiss remains content mixing strong drinks and engaging in spirited discussions about the wider universe with those that wander into the G-Loc, there seems to be no end to the flow of potential customers looking for a respite from the non-stop metropolis outside. Getting ready to order a second round, I ask about his favorite drink on the menu. His answer is immediate and emphatic.
“Nick’s Mistake. It’s delicious, packs a punch, and something you can only get here. It uses our secret Nova mix, which we make in-house. Seriously, if I told you the recipe, I’d be fired faster than a projectile from a tachyon cannon.”
For those that want the G-Loc experience without traveling to Area18, Weiss happily shared the recipe for his second favorite drink on the menu, the Wingman’s Hangover, with one caveat.
“The name says it all. So, let me give ‘em the spiel I reel off here. Enjoy responsibly and never, ever fly while intoxicated.”
WINGMAN’S HANGOVER (SHAKEN, ROCKS)
- 1oz Jynx gin
- 1oz Starlight Idris Cuvee cognac
- 1oz Lionheart Martian whiskey
- .75oz lime
- .5oz simple syrup
- Rothman’s Ginger Lime
Add all ingredients besides Rothman’s soda to shaker, shake with ice. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with Rothman’s. Garnish with lemon wedge.