March 28th, 2012 — 10:00am
One of my favorite nights ever was having the absolutely amazing Victor (Seven Grand bartender) cover a busy weekend shift last year at the Golden Gopher. He learned to bartend at our whiskey bar, Seven Grand. With that said, he’s been trained on whiskey knowledge, classic cocktails and tradition. I’ve watched him at Seven Grand. He’s fast, knowledgeable and a really funny guy.
On the night he was at the Gopher, all of us forgot that Seven grand doesn’t make things like AMF’s, pink drinks, Chocolate Cake shots, and Apple Martini’s. We happened to have a pretty big party of young college girls celebrating a birthday party. Needless to say, we made a lot of collegiate “girly” type drinks, L.A. Waters, AMF’s, Lemon Drops, Cosmo’s, Midori & Amaretto Sours, and the ever so popular bartenders choice after the customer says they don’t like the taste of alcohol & could we make something super sweet and preferably pink.
All night, Vic kept getting orders for these types of drinks. The look of disgust would overtake his face, he’d ask us “really?” like he honestly didn’t believe us, and then he would do his best to convince the customer to order something else, and telling them that he could make them a “better” drink. We kept hearing “sweetie, do you know what kind of crap is in that drink you just ordered?!? Let me make you something better! PLEASE!” The girls all laughed and 50% of the time let him, and they ALL loved him. Whiskey Sours and some honey whiskey drink he was making was ordered a lot. He definitely converted a few, and educated many.
March 27th, 2012 — 10:00am
Recently I went into a bar at a time when it was just picking up momentum for the evening, and the bartender was getting a little bit slammed. Even though she was handling it well, when she got around to me I just ordered a beer. Truthfully I was more in a mood for cocktail, but I had some time on my hands, and so I decided to wait until she had little more time and then order one. She smiled gratefully and got me a pilsner, only to turn around to another customer that had just sat down and already had an air of impatience about him. When she asked what she could do for him, he insisted on having her go down the list of every rye and bourbon she had, visibly scoffing at most of them, and then offhandedly asked for a cocktail that I had never heard of. Apparently neither had she, and so when she asked him about it and started to look it up, he recoiled in his chair in horror– completely flummoxed how someone couldn’t possibly know said cocktail and be in the bartending world. When I asked him about the drink, he said that he “had recently had it at a new bar on the east coast that was their own creation and it was wonderful and it was blogged about on the premier cocktail site and blah blah blah…” *commence eye rolling*
There are literally hundreds upon thousands of cocktail recipes, variations, nicknames, mutations & calls in the world of spirits, and as a bartender it can sometimes be quite a daunting task to rifle through your mental rolodex at a moments notice to bring up that obscure drink that no one in North America has ordered since 1948, or one that someone thinks everyone should know about because it is simply “divine!” and therefore deserves to be everywhere. I am not saying that bartenders should not be up on their craft– they should be, just like anyone providing a service. But sometimes it is a little much to expect every ‘tender of every bar to immediately know what you are talking about. If the bartender doesn’t know offhand, have a little patience and wait until he or she can look it up–which shouldn’t be too hard in this age of instant gratification via iphones and such–or better yet, know what you’re in the mood for and give the bartender some perimeters…more than likely you will be pleasantly surprised with what they lay in front of you.
March 26th, 2012 — 5:09pm
LA’s indie-driven rock band, Downtown/Union, has been a regular fixture in local music scene since 2006. Although the band has been through many incarnations, from a stripped down two-piece to a bombastic seven member rock n’ roll gang, principle song writers, B. Bory and Jeff Electric, have always managed to consistently churn out catchy, high powered, heartfelt songs. This time around, the band has solidified its ranks by adding new permanent members, bass guitarist, Andy Bartlett, and veteran guitar wielder, John Klein, to the lineup, giving them a renewed sense of purpose, energy, and focus; not to mention a whole new batch of tunes.
With the recent release of their new EP, Deal Gone Wrong, Downtown/Union once again show their uncanny ability to craft smart, memorable songs, complete with bouncy, melodic bass lines, tasteful guitar licks, and group sing-a-long choruses.
For fans of rock n’ roll with a lot of heart and little pretense, Downtown/Union will fill the bill like black coffee and a hot piece of pie.
You can catch them every Friday at Casey’s in Downtown LA in April.
Listen to their music at: