"Yo!" Maddie called, clattering down the heavy plank stairs sandwiched between the bar and the bathroom hallway. "What's the good word, guys? It's bottling day!"
Downstairs was almost empty at the moment; it was barely noon and they were just opening up. The tavern itself was one big cool space, just slightly dimmer than a restaurant; thick concrete walls and swirling fans staved off the early-summer heat. Like the bar and everything else, the furniture was heavy wood: clusters of round tables, a big trestle-table running along one wall, and two alcoves lined with broad, heavily-padded benches. The whole place smelled faintly of lemon oil, brewing beer--and burgers on the grill, courtesy of one of her two workers on duty. She chattered with them in Cuban Spanish as she ducked behind the bar and into the kitchen and brewery. Today she had three barrels to decant--heffe, pilsner, and a strawberry melomel she used to make drunken lemonade. They wouldn't suffer by sitting a few more hours while they ran around doing everything else to get the place open...but she kept glancing at them regretfully as she checked the kitchen, bar taps, bottles, glasses, back door, and everywhere else for any problems or shortages.
Yeah. This isn't workin'. We need more of a hand around here. Maybe one of the regulars needs a job? Too bad none of the tenants upstairs do. Guess we'll have to see. She already had a Help Wanted sign in the window, along with a Vacancy sign for the three apartments upstairs that she hadn't filled.
One last check around; she then turned to one of the antique mirrors lining the bar wall between bottle-shelves and kegs, and double-checked herself. Usual uniform of jeans and an open workshirt over a tanktop. Hair not too flyaway from the ponytail at her nape. Not too much make-up. No sign of last night's insomnia under her eyes. This'll work.
She penned in the Bottling Day specials: they had two kegs to clear, so the pear cider and chimay had to go cheap. Chicken pot-pies and apple pie a la mode went pretty good with that, so they went up special too. For younger folks or those that didn't drink, she had a batch of cherry lemonade she could pour out for a discount. That done, she made sure she hadn't gotten ink on her hands, and went to open up the front door.
Within a few minutes the first customers came filing in. "Hey guys! Welcome to Maddie's. Feel free to sit anywhere. Who's thirsty?"