Chapter: San Francisco
Number of Years in the Industry: 7 years and counting
Where did you grow up, and what was it like there?
I got my start working around the casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey waiting tables at 16. Since then I have spent time in Chicago studying music, in Vermont teaching snowboarding and working as a youth mentor, and in a few other states making ends meet. After moving to the Bay Area in 2009, I found my way behind a bar and never looked back.
Favorite childhood memory?
I remember fishing in the park, playing in inclusive sporting leagues (pairing kids with disabilities and those without) with my brother. I remember sitting in on my father's college classes and creating websites with his students.
Where do you work and what do you do there?
I am the bar manager at Blind Tiger in Uptown Oakland.
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
I am really thankful for the personal growth I have seen in myself over the years, and the discipline that comes with being responsible for a business and for the livelihood of its employees. Bartending and managing are worlds apart, and I've been incredibly lucky to work under some amazing people who have really showed me what it means to be thankful, humble and diligent.
What is your favorite bartending moment?
I love when the bar gets slammed and everything is just clicking. Both hands moving independently, tickets flying out of the machine, a guest watching it all and wanting to wait to give you their 5 friends drink order while you insist its no hassle. Jumping in and out of the conversation struck up between the regular and the newcomer at the end of the bar. You kind of hover above it all for a moment..then snap back to it and realize your hands just made two Sazeracs and a Pegu Club while you were cheesing at the scene. That's a normal amount of thoughts to have in a moment, right?
What do you do to relax outside of work?
I love cooking meals with friends, escaping to the woods to shoot some arrows, or pretend I know how to forage. I actually love going to the movies solo. Why is this frowned upon?! Other than that I enjoy playing music, organizing junk drawers, talking with random people, etc..
Tell us about your dream vacation:
I would love to take a very long motorcycle trip in the near future. Either from Alaska down to Panama, or start in Vietnam and make my way through Thailand and up into Myanmar. The idea of a lone-wolf vacation where I plan nothing but my first night's accommodations is definitely on the docket.
Everything in moderation, including moderation - Mark Twain
Advice you could offer to others:
Work hard, save money, actively appreciate the people around you.
Who do you look up to?
My mother has been my rock. In the industry, there are so many people that helped me get to where I am: Joe Delgado, Eric Grenier, Kim Rosselle, Todd McKean, Alex Conde, Eric Adkins, Matty McGee, Tamir Ben-shalom, Ali Tahsini, and so many more awesome people that I am constantly inspired by.
Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself that we might not know.
I am real good with a bow and arrow and I am a classically trained flute player/guitarist.
What does the future hold for you?
Lots of good company, good food, belly laughs, and love. One day at a time.