Bartenders are in a singular predicament.  They're in a customer service business, but they find occasionally that the more service they give, the nastier their customers get.  They're the only members of the population who can legally dispense, sell or otherwise distribute an intoxicating drug, other than doctors and pharmacists.

The vast majority of most bartenders' customers are trouble-free.  They sit down, drink their fill, pay the bill and leave a fifteen- to twenty-percent gratuity.  However, in the surreal world of intoxicated persons,  all bets are off when a bartender must interact with an Amateur.  In a nutshell, an Amateur is an individual who typically imbibes of alcohol on rare occasions, and whose behavior is completely unpredictable when they do imbibe.

An Amateur Night is defined as a holiday or celebration which culturally involves the consumption of alcohol.

Many bar "regulars" find it prudent to stay home or go to a private party attended by others who can hold their liquor, and leave plenty of room on Amateur Night for, well, Amateurs.

Saint Paddy's Day is second only to New Year's Eve in ranking among top Amateur nights.  This glorious annual celebration of all things Irish is just one of the holidays that is demonstrative of America's multi-ethnic melting pot.

So popular is this holiday that in addition to the usual paper foo-foo (Leprechauns, hats, four-leafed clovers, and buttons that say "Kiss me, I'm Irish") for sale at card shops and discount stores all over, America's beer manufactuers prepare for the big day by insinuating green dye into keg after keg of brewIrish Mist, Bushmills and other alcohol products get on the bandwagon by providing promotional materials to bars and restaurants, as well.

On New Year's Eve, some Amateurs will make New York City's Times Square their destination, getting there very early. By the time it's midnight, they'll have been outside in the cold for hours, will not have used a bathroom in hours, and will have drunk deeply from their hip flask or other conveyance for alcohol. The booze makes 'em feel warm whilst they're outside, but once exposed to the heat in the train home, the car home, or the hotel room where they're staying, the alcohol goes to their head and nobody can estimate how drunk they're gonna be.

Amateur Nights are characterized by five  major attributes:

New Yorkers are well aware of what happens when the Amateurs throw up. On New Year's Eve, the vomit which runs in the gutters of the streets is an abstract painting of the color of pink champagne, black caviar, beige paté and bright orange shrimp.  On Saint Patrick's Day, the gutters of Second Avenue run with a combination of Corned Beef and Cabbage, dirty-water hot dogs and the ubiquitous green beer.

Other examples of Amateur Nights:

Thanks to Jack for pointing out that at some watering-holes with a core, regular clientele, any Friday or Saturday evening is an "amateur night" because the weekend drinkers get in the way of the regulars (and occasionally get the bartenders cross by ordering all manner of vogue cocktails, thus momentarily ebbing the flow of beer and shots to the regulars.

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