Hey Bartender (2013) Movie Script

So, thanks for everything.
Alright, that's what's left in the kitchen.
We did a pretty good job,
you can see at the end of the night,
the last thing we did obviously was shots.
That was Bob, because it was
Rumple Minze.
That was me because it was
a vodka.
Stoli Ojranj was for Phil.
Stoli O was for Paulie.
Uhm, but uh yeah, I forgot
Paul was here.
Craft bar tending is back.
And I like that.
The cocktail revolution has been
going on for five or six years now.
But really ten or twelve years ago
it really started to come together.
A lot of these bartenders are
so influential now.
The New York Times writes
about them.
They get flown on trips
around the world.
We're right at this stepping
point at this movement now,
getting everyone around the
world excited about cocktails.
People want to know what Dale
DeGroff has to say.
They want to know what Jimmy
has to say.
You're just going, who are
these people?
They are awfully serious.
About some awfully
arcane things.
People are considering
ingredients and ice and
spirits and details.
Great bartenders they mix a
drink the way a scientist
would a Bunsen burner.
We look at our craft. Bring
it back to the beginning.
It's all just the way the alchemists,
that mad scientist idea that people have.
It's a show every night.
The lights go down.
The stage is set.
The bar is the biggest stage
in the world and
your audience changes
every night.
There should be a drink column
in every newspaper in America.
There should be shows on T.V.
Being a bartender. It's all
social. I mean, that's an art.
It's nice to see it sort-of growing
and getting a little bit bigger.
Because it has been sort-of
a little club.
Until cocktails become a
recognized culinary art
it will remain a sideshow.
To be a bartender at this
particular time...
is extremely exciting
and special.
My house here.
My home sweet home.
Yes, I'm officially
in the house.
I've got to open. It's a...
long elaborate process.
Starting with me. Ending with
a guy coming in at six.
Every now we close at four,
we have a...
We have a porter who comes
in, cleans up everything.
Then we have a second porter
that comes in and basically
re-stocks our bar. Re-stocks
everything we used.
Me, I'll be here all night.
And I probably won't be home
until about
I don't know, five thirty,
six o'clock.
So it's a pretty long shift
Hey, if you want to dance,
you gotta pay the band, right?
Well the things is that you
preferably using, uhm,
grunt work.
For... some quiet time.
Where you remember why you're
here for.
You kind-of plan out
your night.
You are not just opening doors and like,
let's see what happens.
You're setting yourself up to
be available.
Uh, there's a lot of
psychological and emotional
preparations that go into it.
You have to be in the right
state of mind, essentially.
To tend bar at the highest
level, is to serve people.
Once you're stuck behind the
bar you have to put aside
you know, the problems you're
having paying your rent.
to the fight you just got in
with your girlfriend
that you're going to continue at two
in the morning when you get done.
May favorite thing to do is
come in even earlier than I
need to.
Do all that stuff. Get all
that stuff out of the way.
And then take a nap.
If I can.
The first thing I like to do
What I like to call the
It's just set the bar up like the
way it looks when we're open.
When you step to your bench,
to your workstations
it's like a cockpit.
Where you have everything you
need right there.
You have the glass freezer
right behind you.
You have three grades of ice
in front of you.
You have your fruit chilled.
You have everything cut. Your
mint picked.
So that when it starts, when
you get into the rhythm.
It's just you and me, baby.
Let's rock n' roll.
First bucket of ice goin' in.
To set up the bar, this is
probably one of the easiest
bars in the world to set up
because we do most of our
work at night.
We bring up a cash drawer,
and for all intended purpose
if we get one bucket of ice,
we're ready to put a drink.
and if a customer comes in
while I'm setting up
they also know where the ice
machine is so
it wouldn't surprise me if
someone came in and
grabbed a bucket and brought up
the first bucket of ice for us.
We just started our twenty
seventh year here.
Uhm, I've been here twenty
two years,
actually a little bit more now.
And, you know, sixteen,
seventeen years as an owner.
This Bilco
door, believe it or not,
almost truly signifies the
opening of the day.
Because all our customers
driving by on the main road
right up there, as soon as
they see these Bilcos open
they know that there's
somebody here
and that the possibility of
getting a drink is pretty good.
I could come here on a Sunday
and take a look around see
how many cigarette butts
are down here and know if we
were busy or slow.
Our core group is definitely
people who
grew up in the area. And even
if they don'y live in Westport
and they're in the surrounding towns
or whatever, they still come here.
Uhm, around the holiday,
anyone who ever grew up here
if they're coming home to see
family and fancy stuff like that,
they will stop here, there's
no doubt about that.
This is our number one
selling cocktail, the Amelia.
There's people who bartend to pay rent,
and that's it, you know?
Which is fine. There's people
that call themselves uh...
What's that funny word?
The are geeks that usually use
the jiggers and stuff like that.
And they take forever to make
your drink when you need to
get these drinks out.
Then there's the bartender,
which we like to consider ourselves.
Where uhm...
Take the elements of mixologists
that know his recipes, that
knows his cocktails.
You add a little bit of the
sage, which is the wise man.
The one who uh... The one who
the boundaries. The one who
knows the situational.
Is aware of everything.
And then there's the rockstar.
The one who likes to have
good time.
And make sure everyone else
is having a good time.
Sometimes we feel we have got to help
people who are trying to create this world.
They're not happy with the
world we got.
They see some remanance of
the past
Seen through the prism of a
cocktail glass is like
Let's get that kind of place
Let's get that kind of drink
Let's get that kind of
bartender back.
And maybe we can, you know,
bring it all back to a uh...
a more convivial era,
that we lost somewhere along the way.
The... cocktail is...
Sort-of of America's gift to
the world of beverage alcohol,
where it is our cultural
The cocktail, as we know,
is a composite beverage
made of parts.
We as a people, in fact
are made up of
people that came from all
around the world.
And when they came here, they
brought with them
Whether it was grain
alcohols, or liqueurs, or beer
or whatever.
And those things all ended up
accumulating in one glass
and we called it the cocktail.
And by the eighteen eighties,
we have what we call
And it was that era, that we still look
back to, at the cocktail lounges of today.
America's relation to drinking
before prohibition was extensive,
it, you know, it went back to
the first colonial days.
It used to be that the bartender was
the royalty of the working class.
You know, he was the banker
and the judge, and you know
whatever you needed him. That
was the bartender.
He was the personal trust.
Bartenders were pretty much the
rockstars of their community.
They were the most important
people in the town.
Jerry Thomas is really
considered to be the
father of the American bar
tending profession.
Because he was the first guy
in 1862, who actually
wrote these recipes down.
And his book was published.
It was called "How To Mix
Drinks" or
"The Bon Vivant's Companion."
And it became an instant
classic. It was repeated in
edition, after edition,
after edition.
Starting in the Eighteen
Nineties, you really saw
change in the cocktail.
Bartenders suddenly had a new
part of their job.
Now they had to invent drinks.
When prohibition came,
it shut most of the creativity down.
And pet him so much booze, if he's
liable shall I down in a drunken stupor.
Higher for sire!
I would say the story of prohibition
is one of un-intended consequences.
When you look at it, it's an idea
that wash't as crazy as it might seem
when it started.
But everything went to hell really quickly.
When prohibition hit,
basically the best bartenders in cities
who wanted to continue on
with their trade, they went to
Cuba, they went to France,
they went to England.
They went to Tijuana. They
basically left America.
Prohibition really put a stop,
uhm, to any kind of drinking
culture that was public and
And that was when the craft of the
bartender, and the cocktail culture, died.
There was a wise man who told
me, uhm, when I was
buying this place.
He said, you know, Steve, all
rods lead to Dunville's.
You know, it's that old saying,
if you park yourself, you know,
in one place in Manhattan and
you sit there for a certain
period of time, eventually
everybody in the city is
going to pass you.
Uhm, that's kind-of like
Most of my friend are like
married, they have kids...
Families... and I'm
single still.
I feel like Dunville's is...
like a home away from home.
It's like family to me.
Go team.
It's the only bar that I'll
come to by myself.
How about a Heineken?
No charge.
We're out of Beck's.
- Out of Beck's?
- Yeah.
Thank you guys for coming in.
I appreciate it.
A great place to meet people.
The only place to meet people.
All the other places the people are boring.
You know, the places are boring.
What goes on is boring.
It's never boring in here.
The employees and the
customers all become friends.
They socialize together.
They go on vacations together.
The go skiing on
weekends together.
The connections through here...
Uhm... are amazing.
Hip, hip, hooray!
Restaurants and bars and the
"joints and neighborhood places.
Aren't just places to
eat and drink.
They've become cornerstones
of their community.
The clock stops ticking.
You're here to have fun.
You're here to enjoy
someone's conversation.
You're here to enjoy being with people.
You're here to maybe
watch the bartender, have
some food, or whatever it is,
but relish, you know, relish
in that moment.
I don't want my customers to
see cars going past them
and be reminded that they're in
the middle of New York City.
It's rainy out there, it's hot out there,
it's snowing out there.
In here it's nice.
By creating that kind-of sexy
mystique that the night is
young and so are we, but yet,
anything can happen.
Anything is possible.
Employees Only is the greatest
date bar in the world.
When I have friends
or family in town
I always take them to
Employees Only.
I- If it's like my mother,
I'll take her earlier in the day.
Employees Only is on of those
kind of bars where you think
but you can't. You'll end up
there three or four hours later
Yeah, you go into EO... you're
not getting out, you know.
With our partners we opened
Employees Only in 2004.
Uhm, since then we have
become the busiest cocktail
bar per square foot, in
the country.
This is considered to be one of
the first speak-easy style bars
and restaurants.
We consider our establishment
to be a
well class neighborhood joint.
I try to focus on the person
that I'm making the drink for.
I try to make this cocktail
be a bridge between us.
It is for me a creative process.
It's not just the measurements.
that goes into the cocktail,
that makes it divine.
For me, the favorite part
of the cocktail.
The whole cocktail building
process, the execution,
is the last drop.
That blends into the surface
and creates that ripple effect
in the glass.
and then the garnish
comes in and it's done.
It's like the last chord of
the song, you know.
The whole band just like
comes to this crescendo
and then the last chord
finishes it off.
I'm going to change into
something more comfortable.
Thank you.
And I put on a bar jacket,
a uniform.
So this is our office.
Here you can see the
Employees Only progression
from day one to now.
This is me when I was in a
rock band in the eighties.
I had never, ever imagined
myself to be in anyway
involved in the restaurant
It was-In my case,
it was just a necessity since immigrated
up to the United States from
Serbia, from Belgrade.
Back home at that time, you
know, times were pretty tough.
Civil war was going on.
Not the preferred
surroundings, you want to be.
I had a friend, uhm,
offer me a job
to become a car salesman.
And I sucked.
I sucked as a car salesman.
Then they fired me and that's
the biggest favor anybody
ever done to me professionally.
Dushan, at Employees Only,
was one of my first top bartenders.
Amazing success he has.
Dushan is probably one of the
most sincerest, hardest
workers ever in show
business. Period.
We met at Pravda in 1998.
Ad we uhm, noticed that the
time was right for us to
attempt to open something
by ourselves.
This photo was taken by me
when were mixing the cement
in the basement for employees
And, uh this is Igor, like...
Mixing the cement in the
basement with Igor and J.
Joking with them that this is the
last time that we're going to do it.
Because if we're successful,
next time somebody else is
going to mix the cement, I hope.
And if we're not successful, there's no
reason for us to go down this road, because...
obviously, life is trying to
tell us something.
This bar is very sexual.
People here do get, uh...
carried away.
The bathroom sometimes the
line is long because the
bathroom is too occupied for
too long of a time.
Along of young bartenders
look at Dushan as mentor
because he's got two
wildly successful bars and he
did something extraordinary.
with Employees Only.
Let's make a bar for
bartenders and chefs.
Let's make a bar
sort-of for us.
Before we had the vision of
the physical space, we had
the vision of an ethos.
Everybody sitting on any point
of this bar will see where
everybody else is sitting at
that same bar.
Yeah. In bars, people get laid.
At least in bars that we design.
And this is my favorite, uh,
Employees Only thing.
The credit card receipt,
where the woman wrote
"You guys make a girl wanna
take mer shirt off. Meow."
And then instead of tips she
said "Blowjobs".
Look at this. This is my bar
team. They belong to a tribe.
And you create this by having
mentorship programs.
By giving away your knowledge to them,
you know?
Coming down to their level in
the beginning and giving
what you have.
So that they can come up.
Yeah, that's what we did with
Uhm, well, here's my house.
Nothing really too exciting,
I don't like to collect a lot of
bottles of booze or anything
like that.
But uh, I'm just kidding.
As you can see, that's my face,
in red white and blue here.
I'm working on some orange
bitters, these are just some
ideas that I write down here.
You know, this is my, couple of
my EO family, you know.
These are the guys
with the tattoos.
Our Employees Only tattoos.
But uhm, you know, just kind
of like a yearbook.
Like a team yearbook photo here.
This is my new mallet.
It's very heavy, very
obnoxious. But hilarious.
This is my Thor hammer.
But uh, here's some of my old
Marine Corps awards.
Yup, way back when,
several years ago,
before I started bar tending.
While I started bar tending,
I was in the Marine Corp.
And uhm, it was my life.
Uhm, I loved it to death,
and uh...
Well, almost to death.
Come on, come on.
After 9/11 I decided to join
the United States Marines.
I just wanted to make a man
out of myself, ya know?
I graduated number one
in intelligence school.
Uh, top of my class.
I had a chance, to uh...
to pick Hawaii for three years or
to go to a airborne unit out of
Okinawa, Japan, that was
eventually going to go to
And I volunteered for that unit.
I thought what kind of leader
would I be if I went to Hawaii
while, while my guys
went out there and died.
I had everything going for me.
But one thing I didn't have was
just how to stay out of trouble.
Mind your own business.
I didn't have that.
Luckily, life goes on.
Uh, I got my bar job and...
I know this might sound,
weird or nostalgic or something.
I mean this is my uniform.
This is my...
My new platoon.
And I have a roll.
That's so cool for me.
I feel like I was-I feel like I'm home.
Here at Employees Only, the
tier system, if you will.
You start off as a stocker.
You're wearing a black
Essentially your'e the
barback's barback.
Then, uhm, you get your
apprentice jacket and...
That's at least two years
worth of service.
You're now the barback.
So this jacket means a lot to
me, it says apprentice but
I'd rather apprentice here than
bartend anywhere else on the planet.
So uh, in my room, home, I
have my military cammies.
This kind of reminds me of
that too.
Something to look forward to.
So uhm, they're hanging on my
wall and hopefully
You know, once I'm done with this jacket,
put that on my wall
and then, maybe someday, when
I have my own place
have my personal bartender
jacket along the wall.
Well, to be honest, I have
one goal only and that's
to become personal bartender
at Employees Only.
Peter, you still want a Bud?
Uh, why don't you do your
usual? Absolut, club soda
a little cranberry.
Reggie, he's not.
Artie, stop it.
No, he's not an asshole.
He's not an asshole.
He's not an asshole, Rob.
Rob... he's not an asshole.
Artie! Artie
That's it, yeah. We'll
all do shots, yeah.
He's not an asshole, Rob.
He's one of my friends.
Rob! I just said to you there
times, he's not an asshole.
If you're gonna act like an
Dude, do not fucking
yell at me because
we're going to have a whole
different problem.
You don't want any part of
that, Rob.
It's been fifteen years! Rob,
it's been fifteen-Rob.
It's been fifteen years since
you've been in here.
And you're causing a problem.
Don't do it, okay?
Don't do it, Rob.
Don't start!
Do not fucking do this
to me again!
Every time you come in here!
Get out! Right now!
Put your fucking shoes on
and get out!
The restaurant industry
is funny...
It'll give you the greatest
life you ever had,
but if you're not careful,
it'll take more than you give it.
I just don't know how much
longer I want to of it.
You know, it might be time
for me to start, you know,
a real or different life.
Just got done
cleaning the toilets.
Top to bottom, and that's the
end of my night.
So I'm gonna go home.
I'm still gonna smell
like bleach.
Even if I wear gloves, it's
gonna come through it.
I used to be a manager
of Citigroup.
Fo their commercial equipment
I used to work for these
great big people and
everything else
And I'm pretty sure they've
been in bed
for like nine hours.
They don't have all this.
In the fifties, after the GI
you've got Americans with college
educations for the first time.
And suddenly a job that you
didn't need a degree for
was a dead end job.
There were career bartenders,
but they forced into the career.
No one want dot stay
in bar tending.
In the 1960s, there was
nothing more uncool than
Drinking a martini, that was
like the antithesis of cool.
Cool was like, uh...
A twenty two year old girl,
bra-less, dropping acid.
That was hot.
You know, the other thing
was just like ugh,
old, old old.
- Hi Mom, hi, Dad.
- Hi, son.
Hi, Mr. Chapman,
Mrs. Chapman.
Like a martini, son?
Oh, no, thank you.
Not for me.
When I talk to people about
the three martini lunch
they all kind-of, they roll
their eyes and say how did we
What did we think we were doing?
It killed the afternoon.
Bars in the north,
in the 1970s, were music.
Were pick-up places.
It's where the singles bar
had gravitated from the 1960s.
Well, I mean the early
seventies was the
beginning of of clubs.
Of disco.
I think it was the first time
where you would leave your
neighborhood to go to a bar.
From there, we sort-of move
into that Haywood Gold era of
bottle flippers.
and the sort-of
sex on the beach.
People asking for
Red-headed Sluts.
And green sour Pucker
apple martinis.
Woo woo shots, Grape Crush
shots, toasted almonds.
were, you know, like
a big thing.
Long Island Ice Tea instead of
using Triple Sec Blue Curacao.
Topped with uh, Chambord,
instead of Coca-Cola.
So you can see the tie-die
come down.
Someone ordered that, I
wanted to punch him.
And everything has
been mechanized.
You can get, you know, your
soda out of a gun.
You know, you can get your
sour mix in a packet.
There's no fresh
ingredients available.
Downtown bars, in the
nineties, were DJ based.
A good bar had a good DJ.
It was more of a party culture,
more of a drug induced culture.
People would go out and just
drink to get drunk.
They would just drink a lot.
We want it fast.
We want it now.
We don't want to take our
time. We're not worried about
fresh squeezed juices.
It was just bad, I mean
I tasted it now and then
and I thought this is
drinking? These are cocktails?
I want nothing to do with them.
For a long time bar tending was
looked down as basically a uh
a lower skill, lower class job.
So nobody thought of it as a
craft profession anymore.
Nobody thought that's
where they'd like their son
or daughter to end up.
None of us started out
to be bartenders.
Not one person I know.
And also most of the people I
know were desperately trying
to get out of it.
As was I.
I started going to college and my
idea was that I wanted to do pre-med.
I wanted to make a difference
in people's lives.
I wen to architecture school.
English and religion.
I went to University of AME.
and I studied finance.
I went to the
University of Wisconsin
I have a masters of the electrical studies
from Harvard Divinity Schools, so...
Uh, I was an actor. I want
dot work twice a week and uh,
you know and make my rent.
Of course going to school for
theatre, being an actor
you can't help but people,
Oh you should get a job in the
service industry, that's just
what you do.
In the bar business we do get a lot of
"What are you gonna do when you grow up?"
You could be a doctor.
You could be a lawyer.
You could go to work for a
big insurance company.
Or I can be a bartender.
Yeah, it's hard, I mean how
do you tell your parents that
you're gonna be a bartender.
Forget about the degree that
you paid for.
I'm gonna stand behind the
bar and pour booze all night.
One of the great sayings
in the industry is
You don't find the industry,
the industry finds you".
I've always said that bartenders
are rockstars that couldn't be
bothered to learn instruments.
Yes, there's a great correlation
between being in show business
and being in the
restaurant business,
which obviously, over the
past thirty years
has become show business.
A wonderful bartender knows
what that person is coming
They figure it out. And you
provide it for them.
Alright, this guy might be
looking for a job.
This guy might be looking
to get laid.
This girl's looking to
meet her husband.
You know, you're putting all
these needs together.
Hey, Jeremy.
Uncle Phil, may man.
You pay me later, okay?
Depending on the night, I
come in at five or six.
I come set up. I come in with
my bow tie off. I tie it up.
I come and I shake hands with
everybody in the bar.
And then the night progresses.
It turns into a war zone by
about 630, 7o'clock.
You never know what's gonna happen
in the service industry, ya know?
The nights that you
expect to be busy
are generally not busy.
And then there's those slow
nights where you might have
gone out a little too much
the night before.
And you're just looking to
kinda get through the night
and those are the nights it
gets handed to you.
a five minute time to step behind
the bar with the bartender
you'll know what it means.
It is so intense.
There's just a crazy
adrenaline rush.
Of the dance, you know that
you do behind the bar
with other bartenders.
When it starts getting
really, really busy
and-and you get into the
weeds. I can totally
understand how athletes
talk about that zone.
There can be this almost,
kind-of euphoria.
Where you are in that rhythm
and everything is just-
and you can feel your barback
behind you and the other
Their body language changes, you see
them moving, dancing around each other.
Nobody's hitting anybody.
And at that point they might
have been on their feet for
like six hours.
Or seven hours already.
When you're working with your
teammates, it's kind-of almost
In the sense that everybody
is working towards a goal
Everything slows down and you
start moving in this
incredibly choreographed way.
It's multi-tasking and
trying to put on a show at
the same time.
And not look like you're having
a good time, even if you're
three deep and in the weeds.
Okay this is-I live here.
Starting in high school, this
is my best friend, Chris.
This is a little place that...
is very significant in my life.
That's where I had my
accident, my injury.
So uh, eight years ago,
this is it. This is the...
This is the alley where it
all went down,
where my military career was...
And uh, I got three plates
in my head.
I don't know if this place is
open anymore.
Started out here. And I ended
in that alley back there.
Uhm, I still-I still am
dying to know...
exactly what happened that
night, uhm.
I was involved in an
incident, uhm...
at a bar, believe it or not.
With uh, my brother, he uh...
He gotten into some sort of
fight and I was there.
Uhm, I just been home. I was
ready to go to Okinawa.
Shortly from there, we were
gonna go to Afghanistan.
I got a call from my brother
one night after partying.
At a bar in our hometown.
Kind-of a shittier area.
Shitty place where terrible
people hang out.
I uh, don't quite recall what
happened but I know it
revolves-I remember this much.
That is revolves around... uh.
Somebody hitting on someone's
I think it was my brother
hitting on someone's girlfriend.
Stupid stuff, you know?
Childish stuff.
some other guy shoving him
and me intervening.
I know I took a blow to the
head, I took a fall and a
blow to the head.
Several of them.
Whether it be in an alley or
outside the front of the place
but head on concrete.
Head on curb, just getting
stomped in.
I had most of the damage done
on the right side of
my head here.
About the temple.
Uhm, I had a crack in
my skull up top.
Basically they had to do
emergency surgery on me,
they told my parents that
it was over.
And to, to uhm, basically...
make plans for arrangements,
For my funeral.
I went through several years
of like, brain rehab.
I had cognitive problems.
Cognitive issues.
Memory loss was...
It's so... just knocks you right back down,
like here I was...
A hero.
Me thinking I'm a hero.
And all of a sudden to be below
the bottom of the barrel.
I literally was... I died in a
bar. And reborn in a bar.
Dushan almost gave me tickets
for tonight.
He was but I had to work,
you know.
We were once the "it".
I mean Friday nights, you
couldn't get into this place.
And I don't think it has
anything to do with
increased competition, I
think it has more to do with
just a changing of views,
where we used to strive
to be that person.
Who walked into a place and
everybody knew them and...
it changes on a dime.
It's almost impossible
to stay in business.
About the year or so ago, a
friend of mine had come in,
who works for a larger importer.
And had mentioned something
And he was kind-of concerned
about my business a little bit
saying he noticed that there was,
you know a little fall-off
in the bar business and since
he travels extensively and he's
He mentioned and he said you know,
have you considered cocktails?
And I said, you know, I
haven't given it much thought.
And he made a mention, he
said, you know there's this
annual event that takes place
in New Orleans called
"Tales Of The Cocktail".
He want dot know why we
didn't do cocktails, why we
didn't have a menu.
You know, and he figured
it'd be a good idea
for me to go down there and
check it out.
But I just don't see myself
planning a trip
and going down to New Orleans
to see
a seminar or a conference
on an industry that I think I
have a pretty good handle on.
Here at the Elms Mansion
and Gardens.
A beautiful property, right
on Saint Charles Avenue
in downtown New Orleans.
And we're here for the
Promenade Of Jubilations.
IT's the opening party for
Tales Of The Cocktail.
Perhaps the biggest cocktail
event in the world now,
is held in New Orleans.
Tales Of The Cocktail.
Tales Of the Cocktail is a five day
cocktail and culinary festival.
It's programmed for the craft
of the bartender and it is a
I love the fact that we're
finally celebrating cocktails.
And Tales Of The Cocktail
bring you like-minded,
passionate people, to my city.
The city of the cocktail.
It's just a great thing.
Gathering of hundreds, and
now thousands, of the world's
top bartenders.
Brand ambassadors,
spirits producers, cocktail
Tales of the cocktail is, for
certainly the biggest event
of the year.
And then on a serious note,
we have the Spirit Awards.
Uh, basically, the top
of the field, get uh.
They get recognized. So the
best bars, the best bartenders
Uhm, just as you hear on the
Oscars and the Golden Globes.
There's no greater honor than
being recognized by your peers.
As being somebody
who stands out.
Your attitude back there,
what you project to the guest
is all important.
I mean people see
confident movement
behind the bar.
And right away they're at ease.
Who you are back there
will define the space.
And it will also define whether
you have any people at the
bar or not.
You're in the action.
You're part of the action.
And I don't mean you
should be showing off.
It's not that at all.
You a hundred different things
to a hundred different people.
You have to be a
bit of an actor.
You have to be able to react
to what's in front of you.
And fulfill the needs
of that person.
You know, make them
comfortable in this space.
That's what you do.
I came to New York City in 1969.
I worked as a dish washer
at Howard Jones'
in Times Square.
No kidding.
I was luck. I caught the end
I say the end of an era
because, for example...
Swing Street...
52nd Street.
This was Swing Street because
Lined up all the way to 8th
Avenue were jazz clubs.
Part of that was America was
on top of the world then.
Yo came out of the war.
As the number one civil power.
In New York men had came in
in the morning, went to lunch
had three martinis, went back.
Slept with their secretary and
caught the 504 to Westport.
And we ruled the world then.
I mean it was just...
it made it all look so easy.
Well, I came to New York from
the university of Rhode Island,
where I was studying in the
theatre department.
Continued pursuing acting but always
working first as a dish washer
then as a waiter at a really
cool place called
Charley O's, which was a
Giovan restaurant.
My interest in the studying,
actually history of my profession,
which is bar tending.
Started with a genius named
Joseph Baum.
Joseph Baum very nearly
single handedly
changed the way that we
eat and drink in America.
He opened the first fine
dining restaurant
in the international airport,
called The Newarker.
A New York airport where people
took limousines from New York
to go dine at New York airport.
People said it couldn't be
done and Joe did it.
The Four Seasons is still
I had lunch there yesterday.
That's the guy who made
what I do important.
He's the guy who even tipped
me to what could be done.
I got a waiter's job at Charley
O's in the early seventies
in 1974.
They were looking for a
I lied and said I was one.
Went to work at Gracie
Mansion, doing parties
One day they manager came
running in and said
"Oh, my god, we're stuck!
We don't have a bar tender
for Gracie Mansion.
And it's a big party. It's an
important party."
"Does anybody tend bar?"
And I go-
So I went up to the bar and I
called Michael and I said
I got an index card, you know.
Put down like ten really
popular drinks for me.
Gin and Tonic, Whisky Sour,
So that was an education.
And I started to realize
I- I didn't know as much
as my customers did and I
was really embarrassed by that.
A guy wanted a fresh margarita.
This one wanted a malt scotch.
I didn't know what they were
talking about.
I was really embarrassed
by that.
I went to Hollywood, still
pursuing acting.
Within a week I had walked in.
One of the top ten hotels in
the world.
The hotel Bel Air in
Stone Canyon, Bel Air.
I walk in.
Where did you work?
Charley O's. He'd heard of it
because it was Joe Baum.
Okay, come behind
the bar. Pour me a shot.
Okay, come back tomorrow
morning, we'll give you a try
for a few days.
Stayed there for six years.
After a couple of years, the
piano player, Bud Herman,
who, by the way had played
with Benny Goodman.
which we did every night when
I finally got the night shift.
And he said...
"You know, Dale..."
I know how important that
acting thing is to you...
But I gotta tell ya...
You know, you're pretty good
at this bar tending stuff.
You know.
It's always a pleasure to
work with Dushan.
He uh... He's the one who... He
wrote the book.
On being the rock star.
The mixologist... and the sage.
He's got all three going.
And has been a
great mentor to me.
A lot of times I have great
ideas, but uh...
I'm always missing that one
ingredient. That one...
Dushan ingredient.
Emily, I wanted it
Employees Only on cordial.
She's leaving? Not yet?
I want her to be on cordial.
Absinthe.. Uhm...
I wan the new brown sugar syrup.
- So far.
- Okay. - Three ingredients.
I was thinking pineapple
maybe, the brown sugar syrup
with some pineapple.
Soak it in pineapples. Is
there a lot of season maybe?
Cucumbers and stuff like
that. And strawberries.
Let's make this drink to see how
it's going to taste by itself.
And then we can expand on it.
This will not, you know, this
by itself will not do.
- Of course not.
- This is, this is an accentuating flavor.
The brown sugar simple syrup.
The recipe's in the book, right?
- Dushan, thank you.
- You're welcome.
You know, nothing ever works
right the first try, I mean
there's always trial and
error. That's the way you make
cocktails, you know, you never
or punches or anything, you
know, you don't just stumble
stumble across greatness.
You know, some stuff works,
some stuff doesn't.
So I bought this in July of 2005,
when I was still married.
This is where, uh, my visions
of starting a family
uhm, were going to be.
And then that didn't work out
because Sherry lived here for
about four months and then
she moved out.
This is how many people have
come to look at the unit.
I woke up in the morning and
I was kind-of up the stairs
and I just saw, they had it in
that lawn area right over there.
And I was just like "God,
what the fuck is that?"
Well, I go out there and I look
at it and I'm like "Holy fuck!"
That's a big-ass sign. I
immediately fucking ripped it
out of the ground.
And it's been there ever since.
And I'm just waiting for the
guy to come by probably
and he'll put it back up.
I'm trying to remedy the
situation. I have until
December fifth to do it.
Otherwise, they're gonna auction it off.
How about that?
I tell all the people
that work for me.
I don't care what you do. I
don't care if you're the
bus boy, the waiter, the
bartender, the cook.
I don't care what it is you
do. The object
is to bring your job.
Whatever it is.
To the level of art.
You're really thirsty.
You had two margaritas today, yeah?
Very thirsty.
I know for sure, I mean not
only the other personal
bartenders, but Dushan, as well.
If I don't get better
at being a sage,
being able to put a barrier
between me and the guest
then uh, there's no way I'm
going to be getting my jacket.
It's only mental, you know?
I have to be able finish my
shift strong.
I have to mentally be
there every day
no matter what. Whether I'm
having rough day
outside of work, stuff like
I still got, maybe, I have a
little bit more growing to do
in that sense.
I know if I don't bring it every day,
if I can't stay consistent,
with my performance,
both mentally, physically,
inside, outside.
If I don't do it, I'm
never going to get it.
I think that if you ask
anybody here
what started the contemporary
cocktail movement in America
the answer is simple.
Two words...
Dale DeGroff, Dale DeGroff, Dale DeGroff,
Dale DeGroff, Dale DeGroff, Dale DeGroff
is "King Cocktail".
Everything you see today, in
the United States of America
and the world,
the reemergence of the cocktail culture...
is due to Dale's efforts.
When you talk about the
family tree of cocktails
you need to start talking
about Dale DeGroff.
He was a bartender at the
Rainbow Room in the eighties.
And he really was one of the
first ones to introduce the idea
of fresh juices...
You know, moving away from
the soda gun, moving away
from the artificial ingredients.
So you have Dale DeGroff, and
he's like the grandaddy
of everybody.
And then Dale DeGroff begat
Audrey Saunders,
who opened The Pegu Club.
My relationship to the
cocktail scene in New York
would be den mother.
Audrey, I'll take the wrap
for Audrey, because she took
my class in NYU.
Four hour class in mixology.
Audrey Saunders employed
all these bartenders.
And many of these bartenders
who were at The Pegu Club
left and opened their bars.
Meanwhile, I'm just bouncing around,
looking for a cool place to drink
Somebody says there's a
down at C3 lounge, in
a little hotel
on Washington Square Park.
So I walk in and there's
Julie, behind the bar.
When somebody orders a
cocktail, you want them
to feel like they're the only
person in the bar.
And that their drink is the
most important drink to you.
Cocktails are a journey.
You might be feeling sad one day
And another day you're having a
great day and you're drinking
a silly Tiki drink.
Three Dots and a Dash and it
makes you happy.
All cocktails should take you on a
journey and make you feel something.
That's usually what
I'm looking for
when I'm making people drinks.
In San Francisco fresh juice
was the norm
when I was out there. So when
I came to New York
I started doing, you know
seasonal menus and using
fresh juices and infusions.
What I did was infuse was,
you know, Granny Smith
green apples into vodka and
made this sort-of
maceration and then added
apple brandy cider to it.
And made something that
really tasted like you were
biting into an apple with a
An do somebody in The Times
offices had been in,
tried this cocktail and the next
thing I knew I like was on the
front page of the food
section of The New York Times.
Ands suddenly suddenly New
York magazine came in
and wanted to write about a
drink that I was doing.
And after that it was like a
few big publications that had
written about and photographed
some of my drinks.
Suddenly it was Julie Reiner,
cocktail expert.
And I was like, "Oh shit, I'm
not an expert".
So I started reading
everything I possibly could.
Then she gets fired because
the chef was pissed off that
she was getting more publicity than he was.
She is one of the women on
the vanguard of the new
cocktail movement.
When you do something great
in New York, it' global...
People, you know, the
bartenders here...
understand that.
People move here
because of that.
You know, I could of opened
Flatiron in Ohio and nobody
woulda cared, you know?
But because I opened it in the
Flatiron district of Manhattan...
it was written about in Japan
and London and...
it was written about all over
the world.
Did you see this?
Sweet, I just got a message from Dushan.
Tales... Tales nominations,
the final four are out.
- Oh yeah?
- Yeah, whoa.
He said we got nominated for
four, uh... four things,
Babo for two, so six overall.
Including best American bar
and world's best cocktail bar.
- Yeah.
- Wow.
World's best cocktail bar.
Imagine that shit.
Yeah right.
Like that's gonna happen...
Every time you make a drink,
it's an opportunity
not to mess it up.
Bar tending is not a skill
that stays with you.
It's not like riding bike.
Bar tending is hosting.
You know, it happens in a pub
that serves beer and wine,
just as much as a cocktail bar.
To stir a drink,
I doubt I could find any words that would
describe stirring better than a
picture of it.
You hear a lot of people
talking about bar tending as if
the bar is a stage.
And the bartender
is the star of the show.
I want my bartenders to be the
supporting actor in the movie
and the customer's the star.
By very definition, if you
can look at the side and say,
oh, the biters are that deep...
I dropped out of high school to
work as a barista and I had a
dream of opening my own cafe
And after about ten years I
had no money saved.
Nowhere near close to my goal.
And a friend of mine told me
about a barback job
at a bar across town, so I
figured I would
get a job at a bar,
make money faster,
save money faster,
and be able to open
my cafe sooner.
And throughout two years I
just all my money
I moved back with my mom
for a year.
I was stuck putting my
head down.
and sticking my man
to my mattress.
and One day I was read the
Village Voice
in the real estate section, I
saw commercial space for
eight hundred dollars.
It's an owner occupied co-op.
I promised them that they
would have no idea there
was a bar there whatsoever.
An hence the hidden entrance.
I really didn't know much
about classic cocktails
I really should have failed.
On numerous occasions. And I
got stupidly lucky.
So I opened a bar with no sign
in the middle of nowhere
and it happens to be that
the guy who lives across the
street was an old college
friend of Dale DeGroff's.
You know, so that's like the
sheer luck of that.
I think a visit one fateful
evening to Milk And Honey
by Dale.
Who gave Sasha, as the story
goes, a copy of Trader Vic's
bartender guide from 1947 I
guess it was.
It might have been a first
edition copy that he just had
I meet Sasha and he starts
peppering me with questions
He built the whole place himself and
he had no idea what he was doing.
He just was clever and just
did what he needed to do.
I remember ten years ago
and Milk And Honey opened.
In the lower east side of
And you know, it was
one of the-
you had to know the phone
number of the place.
it was really, really special.
He opened a bar that made no apologies
for the emphasis on the cocktail.
It wasn't about the music
It wasn't about people you
might meet.
It wasn't about the way you
were dressed, it was about
the cocktail had to be as
good as it possibly could.
And his stubbornness, if you
will, to make that the most
important thing, inspired us
to re-think about how good our
drinks actually should be.
No one wants to be the
regular out of place if they
don't get treated specially.
And it took me years
to realize this.
The regulars when I was bar
tending and these people
Like they saved my life and
they saved my good name.
I don't want to say that I'm
defined by Dunville's...
But I mean, people do know me
as, "Hey, there's Carp.
He's the owner of Dunville's.
You know.
Of if someone who's never met
me, introduce myself
Then I'll hear like a little whisper,
"Hey, he owns Dunville".
And I mean, that's kind-of
cool, you know, and I mean.
If I sold, I mean, am I going
to walk into place and they'll
be like "Yeah, there's Steve".
You know, flatline, ehhh,
you know.
How about that I
used to own Dunville's?
Or do I just all of
a sudden lose my-
That's it, you know. I'm just
simple Steve.
The goal with any cocktail
is to wow the person
who's ordered it.
I am a process oriented person.
When I'm bar tending, I'm
thinking about everything.
It would be a luxury to just
think about the daiquiri
you're making.
In reality, you have so many
different social interactions
going on.
You're thinking about the lights,
the temperature, the music.
There's always a hundred
things going on at once.
When I'm in the zone behind the bar,
I'm seeing all of them
at the same time and
I'm actively
pursuing getting to them.
As a bartender, you're an
entertainer and
a cocktail is not only meant
to stimulate your senses but
meant to amuse you.
When I was 18, as a freshman
at the University of Wisconsin
Madison I started
bouncing at a bar called
State Street Brats, that's
been there since the fifties.
Jim came to work for us, back
in the day, just like
a lot of college guys come in.
They're looking for just a job,
just for something to do and
to take them for here to there.
Get them a little beer money.
Work my way up from bouncer,
to cook, to barback
Jim was, uhm, pretty good at
his job.
A little bit hyper.
By twenty I was managing the
place and I've worked full time
at a bar for the last 15 years.
I watched people have kids, I
watched people have...
you know, go through
I've watched people go
through deaths.
Uhm, and as a bartender there
I really became
part of their lives.
My mother, growing up, was a
school teacher.
She was a Catholic school
teacher in Chicago.
She made about 20,000 dollars
a year with a
masters degree.
And when I graduated
from college
all my parents friends asked
me what I'm going to do.
"Are you going to be a
teacher?" And I said no.
I'm going to be a bartender.
And they sort of looked at me
like I was gonna take a career
But when I moved to New York,
a co-worker of mine
told me about Gramercy Tavern.
I went from the new guy to
quickly rising up. Taking
over the cocktail program.
The management team and I
really did not see eye to eye.
And I was terminated.
I was also, at the time, I
had started this
consulting project called PDT.
When PDT opened up you had to
find out a way
to get inside. To make
reservations you'd walk
to the phone booth.
It almost felt like it was a
a secret world. Like how do
you get involved in.
And that really kind-of fed
the intrigue and the mystery.
When PDT opened, we described
it as a
by the books hipster bar.
Which I cringe at to this day
because it's so much
more than that.
It just so immediately it became
You know, the number one
of everything.
Has won every award for top
cocktail bar in the world
at Tales In The Cocktail.
When I opened PD my goal was to still open a
bar in my neighborhood.
That I could come
any night of the week.
Have a table waiting for me.
And have great cocktails.
But it's bigger than,
it's bigger than any of the
people who work here now.
The James Beard awards are
the Oscars of the food world.
Just to be nominated really
is one of the highest honors
anyone working in the
industry can receive.
This year we were really proud
to introduce a new award for
uhm, the bar program.
Uhm, Jim Meehan from PDT, was
the first recipient.
It was huge for us but
I hope it was huge for
bartenders and bar owners,
People who work behind the bar.
When the James Beard
Foundation recognized
mixologists and bar programs
I think that
we were legitimizing a lot of
the hard work that has gone in
uhm, to learning about and
developing a unique
approach to making cocktails.
The tome had come.
Cocktails have had a renaissance
over the last few years
because people are just more
and more interested in what
they're putting into their body.
But what's really, really
important is the quality
of ingredients that people
are getting.
When they taste that drink,
it's the vibrance, it's the quality
of the ingredients.
Food-wise and flavor-wise.
When you're taking something
fresh from the ground.
From that area.
It can only be better than
something harvested
You want your bar to really
express how much you care
about ingredients.
How much you care about flavor.
I can think of so many places
in San Francisco and
New York that do it.
But I'm seeing it
all over the country.
It's a really amazing feeling...
to see what the people who
have come through my doors
have gone on to do.
You know, you can go and taste
all these different lineages.
And so you gout this kind of
pyramid effect and it just
spreads, spreads, spreads
like moss up on the ground.
I just like really think it's
the best time of the century
to be behind the stick working.
So it's incredible.
America's getting it's
palette back.
And there's just so
much opportunity.
There's kind-of a bigger,
broader industry now.
There's so much training going on.
There's competitions.
And everybody now gets the
ability to go and check out
what other people are doing.
What we're consciously doing in
these craft cocktail lounges
is serving spirits in such
a way that-that
it's the same sort-of flavor
experience that
a chef does when they're
cooking in their restaurant.
I think what we're doing,
uh, we're elevating
the image of the
professional bartender.
A mixologist is to a bartender
as a chef is to a cook.
This is something different.
It deserves a different name.
It's not considered like, you
know, a bartender "slash"
something else job.
It's considered a job, job.
A couple years ago,
this young man came up to me and said
you know, I've got a question
for you, but you know,
I'm from Boise and we've only
got two cocktail bars and
I said "Wait a minute".
You've got two cocktail bars
in Boise?
I mean, that's insane.
This is or field day celebration at KA.
Our prohibition party.
And it's essentially our
celebration for bartenders.
Fourth of July, you know? Our
Independence day.
Tonight is a very special
night for us.
We celebrate our anniversary.
Which coincides with our
repeal of the prohibition.
Every year we throw a little thank you
party for our regulars and customers.
This is more about, uhm, the
second coming of drinks.
It's really, this like the
industry's night.
This a bartender's night to
go out and have fun.
And just enjoy being part
of the community.
The idea behind, uhm,
doing the smoker...
I think getting perception
from people.
Driving by, we put the signs up.
We're running drink specials,
everything else like that.
We're trying to promote
something that we
normally don't do.
It's just another effort to
try and uhm...
retain the business
that we have.
And hopefully build,
you know, additional business
because it's just not
coming back.
We spent about eight hours
yesterday, uhm, injecting
this pork butt.
We're probably gonna have
over 300 pounds of meat.
So, uh, we better have a good
turn out, you know, uhm...
Otherwise it's another thing
that we'll have to write off
and chalk it up as a mistake,
but hopefully that's not going
to be the issue.
It should be on your left side.
This is how professional tie
ties. With the iPhone.
At Employees Only we have
this awesome postcard of
the five owners.
They're uh, like standing
all serious.
I kind-of want to make it
more personal, so uhm...
I was asked to come down
and help with the photo shoot.
I've always been a workaholic,
kind-of sheltered, kinda guy.
But I've sort-of gotten
out there.
We've got a young guy
behind the bar.
And you know, girls are
throwing themselves at you
And you start to buy into
this reality,
that this is real situation.
Your ego just want to believe
that that's true and that's
the known not wise.
To follow that urge.
Although he's quite a young
puppy, Steve has an
extremely bright future
in front of him.
The way that he works,
and the passion that he has
for his work, belies his past
as a U.S. marine.
He said to me once, you know,
"I bleed Employees Only".
And that degree of loyalty
and passion is rare.
There's nothing more dangerous
than Steve Schneider
very motivated.
Hello, America, greetings.
My name is Steve Schneider
from employees only.
Steve is, Steve is a
character you know?
He's a rock star bartender.
On thing about girls from
Trinidad, I never had the
opportunity to date one, but
I've dated a Puerto Rican
that I liked.
I uh, I had the world record.
For fastest throw.
We're taking a huge group
photo of some of the best
bartenders in the city, uhm
for Time Out New York's
cocktail issue.
The first of its kind.
It's not a job anymore,
it's a way of life.
It's something that we live.
You know, I stay out all night.
I sleep all day.
That's the life that...
I've chosen to do.
This year has been a huge
year for me as far as
videos an interviews and stuff like that,
yeah I've never done
anything like that.
Mainly because I was...
I never really got out there.
And now I'm becoming
friends with
more and more bartenders.
And more and more brand people.
And uh, sort-of taken
me to the next level.
Some of the younger
apprentices, by being written
up once or twice
begin to believe that they
already are there.
And they already have
nothing much to learn.
And I will advise strongly
against that.
There he is.
You are only as good
as your team.
You might have some personal
qualities that make you
different from the rest. And
accentuate you personally.
But it can never be on the
expense of the team.
You know, it is
before you are a rock star,
you are a member of the band.
Being a principle bartender
is something you earn.
It's not a right guaranteed
to everyone.
We're ready to
start shaking things up.
How are you guys doing?
We will toast to the success
of Tales Of The Cocktail,
enjoy this wonderful week.
I think this is going
to be the biggest
and best year, I have
to be honest.
When I went to Tales for the
first few years I actually
used to go the seminars.
That's supposed to be what
you're there to do.
It's fun, it's crazy, it's...
way too late.
Way too early,
way too much work.
If a bomb were to go off
in New Orleans, it would
probably be the end of the
cocktail world as we know it.
At a large scale event like this,
there's multiple seminars and
it's a little bit different in that
it's all based around drinking.
Uhm, so you have to
have a cocktail
with each seminar, since most
of them are about alcohol.
So... the people right here,
I think they're probably, I think
they're making right around
five or six thousand cocktails.
Give or take a hundred
here or there,
I just arrived here at
New Orleans.
There's so many events going
on I have no idea exactly
where I'm going. When I'm
going there. I'm just sort-of
playing it by ear.
I'm going to Tales because, one,
I've never been there before.
I've always wanted to go.
And I just think this year
is the right year for me.
This past year has been an
amazing ride for me.
We have a lot of people
coming down, there's,
there's Henry, Igor, Dushan,
J, me, Dev, Bratso, Milosht,
Danny, Ivonne, Marko.
We have about fourteen,
fifteen people
coming out.
We were nominated for
a lot of stuff this year.
You know, like world's greatest
cocktail bar, final four.
You know, w-we're humbled,
we're pretty shocked.
So we're doing that and I'm
also going to competing in a
speed competition called
Uh, "Re-match biatch".
It's a hundred dollars.
A hundred dollar bill.
Winner take all.
Twenty five bartenders.
Winning the award of the best
cocktail bar in the world
would mean...
a lot.
As if...
If we win this,
I'll know that a part,
a chapter of my life is
Like... closed.
We have done what we
said we will do.
This Thursday I'll be in New
Orleans attending an industry
function called
Tales Of The Cocktail.
And I hope down there I'll get
some words of encouragement.
I mean, I don't know, maybe something's
gonna change my life down there, you know.
Who knows? And unless you
try, you're not gonna know.
Just flew in from New York City
and we are in New Orleans.
And I'm trying to get
together my schedule.
So uh, hopefully over the next
three days we're gonna get
some insight as to what we've
done wrong and what we can
do right.
I understand this is your
first Tales Of The Cocktail.
Well, we're gonna make a
really big deal out of this,
we have a great ticketing
package for you.
- Okay.
- Now, you have to wear the Tales virgin pin.
And you're gonna love The
Carousel Bar,
so we're gonna go ahead
and give you that too.
- I should put these on now? So everyone knows?
- Yes, it's the best way to do it.
It's best way to do it.
- Alright.
- Alright? - Terrific.
- Thank you so much and enjoy.
- Thank you vey much.
I want to hear a full report
on how everything goes.
- I will see you every day, thanks.
- Alright, thank you.
Do you know the auto-correct on the
Blackberry for Danville's is "downfalls"?
Last week I sent someone a text that said
"Come meet me at Dunville's".
And I didn't realize that it was that
and someone said "Where is downfalls?"
Waking it up. Making it
smile. Making people smile.
Give it smoke.
is possibly the biggest shit
show that we have had yet.
Uh, it's a cocktail
competition called
"Re-match biatch".
This is like the anti-bartending
competition, competition.
sort-of like a law-less,
wild west competition.
I will be competing.
And I will be dropping the
hammer on people.
One hundred dollar bill
is right over here.
Winner take all.
New York fuckin' City!
Employees Only,
show how we do it!
Three, two, one... Go!
Like I... the banana chip.
That's for garnish, right?
This is probably the first
thing that I've tasted here
that I think I can sell
to my customers.
This is my new purchase
here in New Orleans.
I think this hat is going to
help me think more clearly.
I figure that uh, a lot of
the bartenders here
have been wearing these.
They act like bartenders,
they look like bartenders
and they feel like bartenders,
so while I'm here, I might as
well see if this changes me
around a little bit.
Hopefully this will give me
the clarity that I need.
Maybe it's psychosomatic and
stuff like that, but I feel much
different wearing this, so...
We'll see how it goes.
In your G and T, your tonic
is only good as your gin.
In often times I've worked at
a lot of bars where the bar is
the last thing that anyone
thinks about but it's your
biggest revenue maker.
- It's the heartbeat.
- Yeah exactly, but
often times, you know,
they'll spend a lot of time putting the
best kitchen in the back room,
making sure all stainless steel
But this is an opportunity that
you have to make a lot more
money and make a big impact.
As somebody who's
been through that,
- Yeah.
- Like, don't lose the hospitality.
- Don't lose the hospitality.
- That's the only thing that matters.
Hey, Dushan. Hi, I'm Steve
Carpenteri, how are you?
I really enjoyed the seminar,
uhm, thanks very much.
I'm down here, I own a bar
restaurant in Connecticut.
I'm down here trying to get
some ideas. Pick some brains.
Experiment on variety of
different things.
You know, I think I need to
deconstruct and reconstruct.
I actually own a restaurant
in Connecticut.
And uh, I'm trying to get the clientele
to order a little bit better.
Prepare cocktails on
a better level.
Well you need to get a guy behind
the bar who's passionate and can
sell it for you.
So it's contagious?
It was at my bar.
Thank you very much. Pleasure
to meet you.
Alright, Steve. Now, you're
in Bridgeport, right?
- I'm actually in Westport.
- Westport, nice town.
It's a nice area.
- Let me give you my card.
- I'm sorry, I wish I had one with me.
That's my museum card but
it's got my information on it.
Okay, thank you for your time.
Pleasure to meet you.
We're up for winning the
final four of uh,
several different categories
this year, uh our mentor,
you know, Dushan and J, they
got nominated for their book,
"Speak Easy".
We're up for world's best
cocktail bar.
Yep, tonight is the culmination of uh,
just the past year of hard work.
We hope uh...
We hope we can represent our
city, our craft and our bar.
So, we'll do our best.
Welcome to the 5th annual
spirt awards.
How's everybody doing out there?
Tonight we're giving away
twenty two awards.
And we're just going to have
a fabulous night.
And the winner of best American
brand ambassador is...
The international bartender
of the year...
For guiding the future of
our craft...
The nominees are...
Audrey Saunders.
Steve Olsen.
Dushan Zaric.
And we have a winner.
Come on up, Audrey.
Audrey Saunders.
I'd like to announce the nominees
for world's best drink selection.
Best bartenders in America.
The winner is Punch, by David.
I'm honored to present the final award of
the evening for world's best cocktail bar.
The finalists represent the epitome
of what our industry has to offer.
They are...
69 Colebrooke Row, in London.
Dry Martini, in Barcelona.
Employees Only, in New York.
And Bar High Five, in Tokyo.
And the winner is...
Employees Only.
It's a team effort.
It starts with ownership.
And it uh, ends with uh...
someone like me, who's just a piece of the
puzzle and just uh, a member of the team.
Listen, we just won best
cocktail bar in the world.
Buy everyone in the bar a drink.
Okay, Chico, I love you, baby...
I had to tell you, Mom...
Mom, I had to tell you.
They don't force a great team.
They hand-picked their people.
And to be on stage here.
With, what I consider the best
bartenders in the world...
This is what I do it for.
This is my life. This is my crew.
Almost brings me to tears.
This closing of The Tales Of
The Cocktail here
with the Spirited Awards, was
beyond my wildest dreams.
It was like being in Hollywood.
and the fact that there's an
awards ceremony,
I had no idea whatsoever.
My eyes should have been
opened a long, long time ago.
Had I known that this kind of
stuff had existed.
I think I might have taken
things a little more seriously,
and not that our little place
would ever be considered
uhm, you know, the best
cocktail bar
in the world or anything. I
mean, we gotta
start with baby steps.
As The Tales Of The Cocktails
to an end or whatever.
The gears are grindin'.
Uhm, I have lots of notes.
It's gonna take me a week or two
to process all this stuff but
I definitely feel rejuvenated.
And the one thing I did find
about myself,
while I was down here
Was that I uh, you know,
I-I think I have the talent and
capability to-n to be like them.
This is uhm, a new culture.
And I'd like to be on board.
Ladies and gentlemen,
here we are.
It's that time of the night
It's just you.
The bartender.
And you're sharing
one last cocktail.
Closing down the bar...
one more time.
Guys, big fan. Big fan of all
y'alls. Cheers.
Employees Only, we give
people chicken soup.
AT 3:30, whoever survived,
they get a complimentary
cup of chicken soup.
Which hopefully it
should be a sign of thank you
and have a good night.
Got it.
There's great feeling when
you finish a shift.
I love when I get out of
work because I've been
just working all night
and it's hot.
And you've been sweaty.
And you had, maybe a
stressful night.
And you just, you take, you
finish your shift,
you have a cold beer, maybe a little
rum or a little whiskey with it.
And you step outside and
you get this brisk breeze
that hits you.
It brings you back down.
But that feeling when you
walk out of the bar...
at 5am, in January, when it's
freezing outside
is one of my favorite feelings.
Because I know that part of
my night is done
and I have this like release.
You're tired but usually also
You still got the remnants of
the adrenaline
coursing through your system.
It's completely quiet.
It's like being the only
person on Earth.
Hasn't everybody had their own
version of the bartenders breakfast?
When you go out for this huge
meal after a long night.
Bartenders are some of the only
people who get to experience...
I always like to walk home.
Because it was like having
the city to yourself.
There is a certain... peace
uh, to walking out at that hour,
and you just kind-of felt like...
this is my city.
Alright, everybody, whoever is
here is here. Lock the door.
Let's get going. Thanks for
coming. Bar meeting.
Uh, we have lots of
things to cover.
First of all, excellent job
on the new year's eve.
Whoever worked that night,
excellent job.
Excellent job in general in
the last few months.
Steve Schneider, it has come,
the time
uh, for you to uhm,
face the music, my brother.
You've been with us for a
while now, and you
uh, have
successfully applied
your knowledge and your dedication here
for the last few years, and for this
we salute you.
You have been really,
really great.
You have learned all
there is to do.
So uhm, you still have to
learn what not to do.
And uhm, this is a process
that will take time.
Uhm, you know...
You will be in charge of people
who are coming underneath you.
Always keep in mind that you
are leading by example.
Always keep in mind what the
situation is calling for.
Always ask yourself what does
this person have
or need to hear right now.
I spoke to Igor and both of us
agree that the time is right
of you to uh,
finally make the step.
Thank you for so much you
have done here
and please come behind the
bar, I have...
the pleasure to hand you
your principle bartender jacket.
Congratulations, man.
All the best.
Oh, my god. I wasn't
Oh, my god. This is great.
I'm feeling a lot of things
right now, I mean I just...
I just got promoted, this is...
This is a pretty fancy
new jacket.
This is everything I've worked so
hard for in the past two years.
If you walk in as a patron,
this is just a title.
But to us this means a hell
of a lot more. This means
generations of lineage, others,
people who have learned
from this person and that
person and
to be able to pass on what
has happened, uhm
It's why we do this.
It's why I do this.
This, this jacket is, you
know, universally known, uhm
and to have one of my own...
I mean I'm...
I don't really know what's
next now but I...
I assume I'm probably
gonna call...
I'm probably gonna call
my parents.
I talked to Audrey Saunders
the other day and
she was talking to Dale
DeGroff, her mentor
I'm now a grandmother and you're
a great grandfather because
now there's a fourth
generation of bars".
So somebody's going and
it's sustained.
I'm going to bars that I love
and loving it so much that
I wanted to know the names of the
people that made this experience.
It's just being a part of
something, I guess.
A bar is a place
where people brewed.
Where they dreamed.
Where they... fantasized.
And they do it either in a group
or they do it by themselves.
These are people who looked at cubicle
work and said this is not satisfying.
I don't want to do this.
I want to do something that
makes a difference.
Something with my hands,
something with a craft.
Something where I feel human
at the end of the day.
I've sent my return from
Tales. I did realize that.
I have created something
special here.
All my time and efforts
was worth while.
Uhm, there's a couple ingredients in there.
It's all fresh.
- Oh, I like it.
- You like it?
I totally do.
Sometimes you choose your life and
sometimes your life chooses you.
And I find myself in a place
I saw an opportunity to
make a difference
in the world, as a bartender.
Whether you're in a cocktail bar,
or you're just in the corner pub,
it's the same interaction,
you know?
It's the bartender
to the customer
trying to just
make their day better.
People go out for this
special feeling
they get when they walk into
an establishment
where the light is right,
the music is right
totally aligns with their
This is exciting, because
we feel at that moment
a little bit more alive.
When we feel alive...
We're happy.