Bernadette & the City Beaches
It has been 10 years since I started working at the now-closed City Beach in Fremont, California. I always say that 26 was my favorite year. I made so many new and long-lasting relationships, I had many successes there and the memories seem to never fade.
I was working at my first food service job at The Bridges Golf Course when I met the owner of City Beach at the bar., Michael. He was a soft spoken man and asked me to come meet his Bar Manager, Ramalah. When possible opportunities present themselves, see what they're all about. I met with Ram, the Restaurant Manager. He didn't seem too happy with his job or perhaps that was his personality of showing little emotion. I do remember him saying something along the lines of, 'well, I guess you've already been hired.' I then started as a Bartender. Ram left City Beach shortly after I came on and told me that I would do well there and that 'a smile goes a long way.' I hope he's doing well.
City Beach was a lot of fun. The staff had a great time and we had regulars that were awesome. A stuffy, older gentleman came in one night to observe the restaurant and how we worked. He just stood at the end of the bar watching with a sour look on his face. He was being considered as Ram's replacement. He just didn't come back one day.
Then Kristian, my current business partner, came in and took charge. He was fun, wanted to improve the restaurant and we became friends. The restaurant was improving. He eventually gave me the opportunity to be the Bar Manager. Though a certified bartender, I still had a lot to learn. I was ordering liquor and doing inventory for the first time and managing my bar and creating cocktails. I have definitely made my mistakes but I learned from them and I attempted to fix them. One mistake was being convinced to buy an obscene amount of cases of 10 Cane Rum because we were going to get a good price, promotional support, etc. At the end, we were just giving it away.
I also started accumulating email addresses for our monthly newsletters, tried to really turn it into a sports bar with scoreboards, sports facts and trivia. Kristian started having UFC pay-per-views there. We would have 300 people there and charging $20 per person. It was quite successful. I was in charge of marketing that, including getting up on a ladder and changing the letters of the sign in the parking lot.
Besides work, I met my Best Friend, who I still feel is the love of my life and of course Kristian, that now has given me my 6,200 square-foot baby, DW.
It's a funny story of how I met my Best Friend, Christy. I was hiring servers and I was chatting with someone on the deck where the bocce ball courts were when I saw that my next interview appointment had arrived and was waiting just inside the open doors. I asked whoever I was speaking with to direct Julia to me. I obviously hired her and she would have her friends come in. Then is when I met Christy and Dylan and all their mutual friends. They are originally from Union City and are long-time friends.
One night, they were all there and Julia asked if we were hiring. I needed a server. Christy was there and I said I would talk to her that night. We were both intoxicated and I interviewed her. I then hired her. She was a great server.
Dylan was part of that crew. I think the first time I saw him was when he had some spikey hair. He eventually shaved his head. I don't date my customers so I didn't give it a second thought.
I began to hang out more with Julia and Christy and I got to know their friends better including Dylan, Dustin, his girlfriend, Kenny, Alvin etc. So many good times. Dylan got hired to be our doorman during the UFC PPV events. That was totally Krisitian's idea! Dylan and I eventually began seeing eachother, moved in together and broke up, twice. Besides the death of my grandfather, he's the only man that has broken my heart. But today we remain friends. I invite him to all of my parties, I go to his birthday dinner every year and yes, spend time with his current girlfriend and sometimes we go grab a beer to catch up. He's my photographer and have even got damn near naked in his studio for a photo shoot with his current girlfriend there helping out. See! We're adults! Nothing to worry about. It's funny that I'm good friends with two of his ex-girlfriends. Dylan's wonderful. I do wish I could find me another Dylan someday. I wish him nothing but love, success and happiness.
Julia and I always had a love-hate friendship. I feel this is because we have similar strong personalities. Let's face it, I can be a bitch and two bitches are going to butt heads. If we were boyfriend-girlfriends, we broke up and got together at least three times. We currently are not friends and I'm not interested in doing that back and forth again. I don't have the energy for it. She is now a mother and living in the town where I was going to live out the domestic dream - being a wife and mom. Good for her! I wish her nothing but happiness as I wouldn't have gained so many wonderful people in my life had I not hired her.
Christy. Man, I love that girl. She's my rock. She has always been there for me, she was the first one I called when Dylan broke up with me, the one that wants to beat up anyone that hurts me, the one that I can trust with absolutely anything and everything. Not to mention, she has given me my beautiful nephew, Nate, and niece, Arya. There isn't anything in the world I wouldn't do for her. She deserves everything and more.
Brittany. My favorite Mormon. I didn't hire her. I remember one of our first conversations was about her fiancé and about a house in Phoenix, I believe. I love that girl. She and I would have the best time anywhere we went. I would be crying and my stomach would hurt from laughing so hard. She is now in Utah with her husband and taking care of my first Mormon niece, Thea. I have to schedule a time to go meet her.
MelaGirls. Angelica went by Mela when we met. I remember she came and sat next to me during a meeting at City Beach and that was our first real conversation. After that, we became good friends. She's a strong girl, has grown a lot and is now working with animals and has sights set on being an entrepreneur. She recently sent me a pic of a birthday card I sent her years ago and I like to write so every inch of the inside was filled up. She said it made her cry. Every thing I said back then, I mean today. We may not be as close but if there's anything that she would need, I would do all that I could.
Shoe!!! Christine Zapata was her name so we called her Shoe. I interviewed her and helped her with learning how to bartend and we had a blast. She is now a chiropractor, married and living in Seattle. She also was a Raider fan turned Seahawks fan but that's none of my business. Especially as a Niner fan. I've been up to visit her a couple of times and we even had a girls' trip up to Vancouver, Canada. So many inside jokes, laughs and good times. I am so proud of her.
Dustin, D-Man but I just call him D. He didn't work with me, just a guy part of the Christy and Dylan group as they all lived and grew up in the same park. Such a nice guy, a calm demeanor and has always had ambition. I respected that. He is now married to Devlyn, they have a baby girl, Haylee, and are now living in Colorado Springs. I'd say I would come up and visit but the elevation kicked my ass when I was there for my cousin's graduation. Whoo!
Then Ms. Sarah is about become Mrs. Ruiz. She had her bridal shower at DW and one of the City Beaches came too, Kayleen. I hired Sarah after we met at a Starbucks and am so glad we kept in touch. She is now working in the legal field and they just purchased a home. Good for them!
Why do we call ourselves The City Beaches? We used to go to this place in Fremont called The Mojo Lounge. There would be live bands and one night I believe we all got together for someone's birthday. The guy on the mic called "Bernadette and The City Beaches" to come up to the stage to sing happy birthday. And it just stuck.
Before City Beach closed, there was a reunion and I saw several people that aren't listed above but may be friends with on Facebook. Apparently it is being turned into a Bocce di Beppo. I love bocce! My Cugino and I got into it and are both really competitive with it while we on the Celebrity cruise ship, the Reflection while in Europe.
It's amazing how one decision can turn into something awesome. I love having these people part of my life and knowing them thru the past 10 years of their lives. Thanks, City Beach, for the memories and those not yet made.