Last call (9:59 p.m.)

Published 9:37 pm Tuesday, February 24, 2009

As the University of North Carolina’s Wayne Ellington slams an ally-oop dunk on one big screen, Lebron James is shown scoring his 11,000th point on another.

Some people cheer following the dunk, while others simply dine on their 40-cent wings.

Tuesday nights always have their fair share of people wanting to watch a ball game and others who simply want some wings.

And it’s that mix of people that bartender Jeff Jennings said makes his job all worth it.

Jennings, 42, has been working in the bartending industry since he was 21 years old, working at places like Overtures at The Wynfrey Hotel and Jitterbugs before coming to the Buffalo Wild Wings Alabaster location when it opened up two and a half years ago.

Jennings said besides the obvious — tips, it’s the people that have kept him in the industry for 21 years.

“I get to see people from a different side from what most people see them as. Here, you get to see them relaxed. You get to see them in a different light,” Jennings said. “You’ve got a lot of people that come in and want to just sit back, relax, kick back and have a beer. They’re always more than willing to talk to you and open up to you.”

Although alcohol does make people open up more, not all people are as friendly as others.

Because of the laws and regulations put forth by the Alabama Beverage Control, some customers are unhappy when things do not go their way.

“There’s a lot of restrictions on bartenders, especially with the ABC Board. You have to do certain things a certain way and abide by certain laws,” Jennings said. “And sometimes people don’t understand that, so they tend to get a little angry with you when you cut them off if they’ve had too much or you won’t serve them because they don’t have their ID.”

But in the end, Jennings said, most people understand that bartenders and servers must abide by the law.

During the week, people are also more understanding than they are on Fridays and Saturdays when karaoke and college football takes place.

“Friday and Saturday with the karaoke and football is insane,” Jennings said. “It gets packed out, and it’s non-stop. It’s kind of relentless. You can easily get stressed out.”

Jennings, who grew up in Alabaster and graduated from Thompson High in 1985, has become a familiar face to those who frequent BWW, and it’s that relationship with his customers that make the stressful times not seem as bad.

Paige Powell of Alabaster has gotten to know Jennings over the years, and he’s just another reason she comes back to BWW.

“They’re like family in here,” said Powell.