There’s a reason they call it the hospitality industry. At its best, it’s not just about providing food, drink and other creature comforts to guests, but also real life comfort. The latter is what bartender Alex Homans (a veteran of Russell House Tavern, Temple Bar and Backbar, among others) needs after suffering a serious bicycle accident in late October that will keep him out of work for an extended period. Like most members of the service profession, being unable to stand on your feet means being unable to pay your bills. To alleviate the hardship, Homans’ industry friends have come together to help him get through the tough stretch with a series of fundraiser events and drink specials.
Homans was biking to work at Brookline’s Fairstead Kitchen when he was struck by a vehicle, he explains, causing him to fracture a vertebra and separate his shoulder. The driver was cited on the scene by a police officer, he says, so he will likely be able to recoup his expenses from the driver’s insurance, but that could take a long time.
In the meantime, bars like Backbar ran some benefits this past weekend, for which bartenders throughout the area donated their time behind the bar mixing up a blue daiquiri special, the proceeds of which are being donated to Homans. (While working at Backbar, Homans had been running Blue Monday specials, featuring cocktails made with blue curacao, in order to help break the stigma attached to the ingredient.) Other bars running specials include Central Square's Brick and Mortar and Arlington's Flora, his very first place of employment.
At his new home, they’re running a housemade aperitif cocktail called Vin L’Orange, made with wine, brandy, oranges, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Profits from its sales will benefit Homans. Industry blog Server Not Servant is compiling a list of similar offerings.
“I was blown away,” Homans. “I love what I do, I love the people that work alongside me, all the bars and restaurants. I never thought that they’d all get together and do something like that for me. It was completely humbling; I feel so grateful to work in the business and work with people that care about each other, and care about the health of their community and not just themselves. It's been incredibly heartening. I don’t know if I’ll ever really be able to express my appreciation the way I want to, but once I’m able, I’ll be donating as much as of my time and effort to them as I can.”
One of the bartenders who chipped in at Backbar is Daren Swisher of jm Curley. “I have no doubt he’d be the first person to try to do something to help any of us if we were in a similar situation,” says Swisher, who says they're on pace to raise around $4,000.
“I wouldn't be able to do it without this money,” Homans says. “It's an enormous weight off my back. It's hard enough to deal with what's going on without worrying about how you're going to pay your pay your bills. These guys stepped up in an amazing way.”