Barstool: Last call

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The author floats down the Dan River with his dad and a Miller Lite in hand, enjoying one of his many booze-filled expeditions since this column launched.

Sometimes last call sneaks up on you.

I’ve doubted the sincerity of a bartender’s call before, checking the clock on my phone in disbelief and wondering how the night got away from me. I’ve attempted to circumvent it too, inviting friends back to my place to keep the party going after 2 a.m. hits. But whether you expect it or not, and even if you prolong the evening, last call is eventually coming regardless.

A different last call took me by surprise recently.

I’ve known for a while now that I wanted to switch things up, to alter my paradigm and try something different. When I took the leap and accepted a part-time gig at the Center for Creative Leadership, I didn’t know exactly what it would mean for my continued role at this paper. At first we figured I’d hold onto this column in addition to maintaining my post as managing editor, but we ultimately settled on keeping me on the food beat, and turning this one over to someone new.

So now, three weeks after the decision and with one left on the clock, my last call is coming up quickly. Someone else’s photo will start running in this space, someone else’s exploits and observations.

That someone could be you.

We’re looking for a writer who — above all else — is dependable and who can consistently file good copy on time. We want someone who is brimming with good ideas, someone who will put in the time to build relationships in the local booze industry, and someone who understands that we’re here primarily as a service to our readers and not to the establishments and people we cover.

Being the Barstool columnist is an excellent gig. Chances are it won’t come open again soon. I conceived of the idea with our top dog, Brian Clarey, and I’ve held onto it fiercely ever since. I can’t imagine many assignments that would be more enjoyable.

I’ve taken this column all sorts of places, from a dive bar associated with Hell’s Angels to recounting a puke-filled New Year’s Day story. I broke word of new breweries opening, covered the launch of the area’s first distilleries, profiled sommeliers, compiled beer issues, reported on state liquor law changes, went behind the scenes at the ABC board and retold some of our bartenders’ weirdest stories.

You will take it somewhere else.

I won’t be going far — my food writing will still be on the page immediately to the left, and I’ll be editing the new Barstool columnist, maintaining a close hand in the process. But it still feels appropriate to pause and thank you, dear readers. You made it all worthwhile, and you gave it meaning. Without you I’d just be a tipsy blogger, grabbing a stranger at the bar and hoping they’d listen.

As part of the hiring team, I’ll make sure to leave this column in capable hands, and I’m excited for the new perspective the hire will bring. It’s not last call for this column, so be sure to stick around. And if you feel so compelled, apply.

Email [email protected] to apply to be TCB’s new Barstool columnist. Include a sample 500-word booze column. The sooner the better.