HENDERSON, NEVADA — “Nobody knows what the fuck is going on,” he told us before we could start the recorder. “So I’m jumping ship. Let’s see what the world of… what was it.. Clinical Psychology? Sociology? Hell, I can’t remember. As long as it’s more secure than Mixology.”
Liam O’Neil has been working the hospitality industry in town for over three and a half decades. “The first 6 or 7 of them I don’t really remember,” he often jests.
“I took a summer break from college in, oh, 1983? Ended up serving at a restaurant on campus. I fell hard into the party crowd. The money was good. I eventually picked up bartending,” he said, with a twinkle of nostalgia in his eye. “Ah, bartending in the 80s. It was a dynamic time for everyone. It was scandalous. I did people wrong. People did me wrong. We grew. I spent a few years in management in the 90s before voluntarily stepping into a server role. Here I am today, still riding that sweet fine dining gravy train.”
He tells us he had plans for retirement in the works.
“I started putting money aside in the 90s. I don’t have quite enough to retire on, but I have enough to buy into the restaurant. We all know what happens when you make plans though — a crippling global pandemic. I have no idea what the future of this industry holds; it’s time to pull the parachute.”
“What do I have to lose? The last few years of my life? At my age, those aren’t guaranteed if I stay.”