Bartending is a dirty job. Drinks get spilled, puke gets puked, punches get thrown. Just about every night, there's someone hooking up where they shouldn't be, throwing up where they shouldn't be, orfucking around in some other annoying way. The men and women behind the bar deal with all theworst parts of a night out without any of the drunken fun.
Bartenders, generally, see some shit others would rather not see. But the worst stuff that happens in bars happens in the bathrooms—so I asked some bar employees for stories about the best, worst, grossest, most surprising, and most disturbing things they've found in the bathrooms at the end of a shift. Here's what they told me. (I left out their last names to protect their dignity and the names of the bars they work at to protect their jobs.)
"My college town was home to one of the diviest bars I've ever been to. It was also the only place in the zip code that served hard liquor after 10 PM, so it was reliably packed and never had any incentive to improve. My job there basically involved coming in the morning after big party nights and cleaning the bathrooms. In general, it wasn't too bad—you desensitize yourself to most of the common smells pretty quickly—but I had a real 'wow, fuck you' moment when one aggressive imbiber threw up all over the place and then Houdini'd their way out of the stall, leaving the door locked from the inside. I had no way to get in, and wasn't about to slide through a puddle of vomit, so I left it. Then I got fired." —James
"At my first bar job ever—I was 16, hostessing and promoting for a venue in NYC—a girl passed out with her pants down, and since I was the only girl on staff I had to go in and pull them up for her." —Amanda
"I've found poop on the seat (how do you even do that?), molly shells on the floor, and one time, after a private event, I opened the closet to put stuff away and there were two girls peeing in to-go cups. Seriously? The bathroom was across the hall." —Rosie
"One time, I found a pool of blood about a quarter- to a half-inch deep. It spread over the entire floor of the bathroom—like out of a horror film. There was enough blood that the person bleeding would surely need emergency-room treatment. The weird thing was, we had no fights that night, and no one came in or left the bar bleeding. It's a small bar, so we would have noticed. My boss just raised his eyebrows and said 'weird,' then went on closing up the bar. I also once found a dead hamster with a collar on it. No name tag, though." —Alex
"Chicken cutlets and sticky bras. I've seen them on the floor in bathrooms, on the floor near the bar, and even on the bar. I've seen girls take them off and leave them there." —Emily
"I had just gotten into work, around 6 PM, and one of our regulars was there. I hadn't served her yet—she was still there from the day shift. About a half hour later, she disappeared. There weren't too many people in the bar yet, but eventually someone was like, 'Wait, where did she go?' So we went into the bathroom. The bathroom consists of only one stall. She was lying on top of the centerpiece for the stall—and the door is completely broken off. The tile where the stall was screwed into was cracked, and every screw and bolt was just straight ripped out. We bought a cheap picnic blanket from the store next door and draped it where the door should have been, but because the toilet paper dispenser is connected to the other door, we couldn't take that down. So every time you went to pull toilet paper out, the door would start to cave in on you." —Lauren
"I went into the bathroom and I realized I had stepped in gum, because with every step I took, I could feel my shoes clinging to the floor. I made my way to the bathroom stall and as I was squatting, I could smell the familiar smell of poop. I inspected the whole bathroom stall—there's only one stall in there—and eventually I realize it's on the bottom of my fucking shoe. It was never gum; it was shit. And this wasn't dog shit. I have six rescue dogs, so I know exactly what dog shit is like, and this wasn't it. It was human shit. On my shoe.
So I started freaking out and trying to wash the poop off my shoe without touching it, but the poop was literally stuck like gum and it wouldn't come off. Eventually, I left the bathroom and I see TWO LOGS OF POOP ON THE FLOOR. They were so discreetly pooped out, in the corner of the bar, where you'd never guess that anything was there. Horrified, I went to my friends, screaming,"I stepped in human shit! I stepped in human shit!" One of the bartenders realized it was this drunk-ass guy, knocked out, who had pooped on the floor. She called the police and they came to pick him up.
I had to throw that fucking shoe away. And I couldn't just wear one shoe, so I threw the other away and spent the whole night just wearing my socks." —Kati
"There was poop smeared across the walls in what appeared to be a geometric pattern."
"My off-duty bar manager got drunk on his night off and was nowhere to be found at closing time. We later discovered him in the women's bathroom, passed out, sitting on the toilet with his pants around his ankles." —Monique
"I found six different napkins taped to the wall of a toilet stall with beautifully intricate sketches of girls who were in the bar that night and poems to them that bordered on the mentally insane." —Alex
"I've seen a lot of gross stuff left in the bathrooms here: bloody panties, used condoms with poop on them, and once, there was poop smeared across the walls in what appeared to be a geometric pattern." —Jet
"There is a serial sink pooper at my job. One time, I found a full outfit, nicely folded, on the bathroom floor. Did someone leave naked?" —Joshua
"Once, I walked in on a girl sitting in her own barf and still doing coke. It still makes me giggle." —Nicole