Hilton Head’s best bartenders take a step out from behind the bar to tell us a little about themselves.
What was your first drink?
Just a beer, nothing too exciting.
What inspired you to bartend?
Really just to supplement income, that’s why I started in Chicago. I worked at the place I played music—a nightclub in Chicago.
I was playing every Wednesday at the bar, I became good friends with the owners, they needed help and I filled in one night. Next thing you know I’m working there two or three nights a week, more when I didn’t have shows.
What inspires you now?
Family. It’s a family business here and we all pitch in wherever we need to fill a spot. I bartend a couple days, I’ll manage a couple days. I play music here every Friday and Saturday. Your livelihood and your family’s livelihood is all in the place and together. So everybody is just doing everything it takes to succeed; everyone is doing their best just to make it as good as possible.
Favorite drink to make?
Right now the Lemon Basil Martini is really popular.
Would you say that’s the most popular drink?
That and the SS Refresh. The SS Refresh is cucumber vodka with some lime juice and fresh mint mixed with soda water.
And what’s the most challenging drink to make?
We get some older people that come in and throw some drink that you’ve never heard of, that aren’t even in the book. That’s challenging.
Favorite type of crowd?
Our regulars and the golfers. The golfers that come down here are probably some of the best customers. They’re just more laid back. They’ve been out on the course, they come here, they’ve already been having a good time and they want to continue their good time with good food and good drinks.
What’s your favorite part about being a bartender?
Just the conversations, the people you meet and the relationships you get with the regulars. You remember the faces, remember the names, the drinks, remember specifically how they like certain drinks, their meals. It’s remembering those little things, that’s what I like. When you put it in front of them without them asking, they enjoy it and it’s fun.
What has bartending taught you?
Keeping your cool under tough conditions, tough circumstances. Keep looking forward to get your job done.
Pay attention to details. Polish glasses. No fingerprints, no soap streaks. There’s nothing worse than serving somebody a lipstick stained glass.
Keep your cool and keep going.