I’m not proud to admit that I worked for years at a bar/restaurant that was so seedy that we employees nicknamed it “The Rat Spot”. I won’t say what street it was on because anyone that has lived in SF will immediately know the actual name of the place.
When I worked there, the Mission still had many dark and desolate pockets that were isolated and scary after dark. We did our best to make it seem welcoming. We had jazz bands and fancy drink specials and white table cloths with little vases full of flowers so when customers walked in it felt like a cozy, intimate, secret spot perfect for a quiet romantic date night.
When Valentine’s Day rolled around one year my co-worker Nicki, who worked as a bartender, went out of her way to put roses out and decorate the door with paper hearts. At the end of the night a couple stumbled in to get a romantic night cap.
“Whatever you want to make.” They told her.
It was cold and stormy out so Nicki made them a beautiful Baileys and coffee with fresh whipped cream on top served in an etched crystal wine glass with two straws. The couple thanked her and settled in to enjoy their last drink of the night.
When the couple finished their drink they called Nicki over.
“Sunde, I was mortified.” Nicki told me the next day when I arrived for my waitress shift.
“When they finished their drink, at the bottom of the glass was a dead cockroach!”
“Oh my god, Nicki! What did you do?”
“Well, what could I do?? I apologized over and over and refunded their drink but there’s no way to fix that. It was a nightmare!”
She never saw that couple again. Hopefully their Valentine’s Day horror at the Rat Spot brought them closer together. Obviously we changed the nickname to the Roach Spot.