I’m up at midnight, December 17, 2014, remembering that one year ago we received our bar license here in Vallarta. Don’t tell anyone but we had been “playing” bar for a while since it had taken almost 2 years to get this license but we were still unprepared for the event. I had gotten depressed waiting so long and had, for all practical purposes, given up on the idea of the license ever being granted. It was a surprise when Pedro, our third expeditor, called and said that he was bringing over the final papers.
I won’t say that this year has been easy; it hasn’t. Almost every day I have periods where I just want to close the doors and shut everything down. The work is endless and hard. The monetary rewards are few. I’m often exhausted, getting up at 7 am and working until midnight. I seriously think about closing and then we have a good night, by which I mean a night when things seem to click and the people are great and nothing much goes wrong. Lately there have been more of these nights than of the other type where we are tight-rope walking on the verge of disaster or boredom or, again, exhaustion.
We have been constantly building onto the restaurant, refining it and purchasing equipment to make the job easier. We are still a mom and pop business except on Vallarta Scene Forum meetups every third Wednesday when a friend comes in to help, giving us a little break to hang with the motley crew.
Unlike many restaurants here in Vallarta, we stayed open through the summer except for a couple of weeks when Sarah went to California to visit her kids. There were many nights in the off season when no one came in the door and there were nights when too many people came in the door. The best nights were when not too many people came and we could socialize. Now that it’s tourist season, that rarely happens because we seem to be busy every night, at least until 9 pm when the tourists leave and we become a local bar again. Our sign says that we close at 11 pm but our license is good to 2 am and there have been many nights when we stayed open ’til 2.
Our menu still has not stabilized and I am constantly changing recipes and adding new items, removing old items. For me cooking is an adventure and when it becomes routine I lose interest. I’ve been told that this is not the way to run a restaurant but I’ve always done things my way, not necessarily the best way.
So far no bar fights and no one has been kicked out. The place gets a little loud some nights and when we asked the neighbors if the loud voices and laughter bothered them, they said that they enjoyed hearing people having a good time. That’s the way I feel about their frequent parties. Must be something in the water…
I’ll probably think of more things to write tomorrow but I’m tired.
I thank everyone who visited our small bar this year and I know that I made some mistakes but I also know that I had some successes. It evens out, generally, or at least it does for me.