Behind the Bar

Drink Up and Rock Out

On buying talent and pouring strong drinks


What is your history with The Met?
I started working for Lupo’s and The Met Café in 1998 while I was still in high school. They were in the same building on Westminster and Union Streets back then. The Met Café closed when Lupo’s moved to its new location on Washington Street in 2003. We reopened here last September and rebranded ourselves as The Met. Now, we’re a club in a mill building in the middle of a neighborhood. It’s safe. We try to have live music seven nights a week. There’s no genre that we won’t do.

What is your role here?
Talent buyer first, bartender second. I still book bands at Lupo’s and other venues in Providence and Boston.

What is your signature cocktail?
I don’t pretend to be a mixologist. I fancy Guinness and tequila. When a customer asks for a drink here, they say they want something strong, but they don’t want to taste it. I’m an expert at throwing flavored vodkas in with other stuff and making it drinkable.

Have you noticed the art of bartending change over the years?
Mai Tai has never been able to get stuck in my head; I just can’t remember how to make it. Now, I can get out my iPhone and look it up in seconds. It’s a very different world from when I first started – I didn’t even have a cell phone then.

Do you think there is a certain drink live music venues should never ever serve?
Any time anyone asks for a Long Island Iced Tea, I have to double check that they’re wearing a wristband. Long Islands are bohemian for “I am underage and want to get obliterated.” It’s a tell tale sign that you are not looking for actual enjoyment, just oblivion. Order that or a Grateful Dead and I know there’s a good chance you are not 21.

What do you do when you’re not bartending or mixing drinks?
I try to spend as much time with my amazing 9-year-old son as I can; he’s great. We play baseball, laser tag and run around. I love baseball and football. I met Theo Epstein, former general manager of the Boston Red Sox, backstage at a charity event. Deer Tick played the event and I went backstage with them more or less so I could get a photo with Epstein. I also got to have a beer with him and talk baseball backstage at a rock club. It was cool. He’s a very down to earth guy.

What is the craziest item you’ve seen on a rider?
Drugs are on there a lot of the time. It will never happen and it’s pretty obnoxious. I had a famous rapper request a DVD player and four family friendly DVDs because he was touring with his son. Also, a request for saber tooth tigers; they try to be cute. At this point, I don’t even read them anymore. I just write "per budget." If they come in and ask where their saber tooth tiger is, I just say, “It was per budget.”

Most memorable music moment?
The first night of Deer Tick’s Divine Providence tour. That day, they were in NYC for a David Letterman show taping. They left the studio, hopped the Acela to Providence and came here to play. We interrupted their set to project the Letterman show on a huge sheet we had set up. It was fun to watch them watching themselves play on Letterman – wearing the same clothes they filmed in earlier that day. I’ve been working with Deer Tick from the very beginning.

Dos and don’ts of picking up women?
Do buy drinks. Don’t offer drinks and then not buy them. That happened last night and the girl was very miffed. However, I do enjoy watching girls brush off guys at the bar.

Any upcoming shows our readers should check out?
Bad Larry, a local ska band we’ve been working with for five years, on February 17. It’s a great, fun crowd.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you behind the bar?
On a full moon night, crazy is normal. During a full moon, I had a customer throw a heavy pitcher at me while I was mixing drinks. It hit me, but didn’t shatter. I chased after him and asked why he did that. His reason? Because his woman was taking to another man. Was I the other man? No.