Meet The Bartenders

MEET THE BARTENDERS

Michael O'Toole
THE SPOT BAR
859 RANDOLPH AVENUE, ST. PAUL 651.224.7433

How many years he's been running this place:Too long.

Favorite drink to make for himself:The last one I pour every day.

Favorite drink to make for customers:A Bloody Mary. I give 'em a vodka tomato juice with all the fixings on the side. That way, as Oliver North would say, I maintain plausible deniability.

Is he the best bartender in town?The best bartender in town is always the one who's waiting on me right now.

Favorite joke:What's the difference between a bartender and a proctologist? A proctologist only has to deal with one asshole at a time.

Is there a list of people who have been thrown out of this bar? Yeah, it's right here. [He holds up the St. Paul phone book]

His version of respect:We don't call people "old farts" here. That's Mr. Fart to you.

Why he has so few female patrons:Women do come in here. They just don't come back.

How you can tell that he truly understands his customers:We used to have a comic about a guy at a job interview, and he was saying something like, "Experience? I have lots of experience. I've had 12 jobs in the last year!" We put it up on the wall and wrote [Spot Bar regular] Steve's name on it. The whole bar was laughing when he came in and saw it. He said, "That's nothing. When I woke up this morning, my wife had that taped to the fridge."

Why do his customers drink?To hide the pain.

The Spot Bar's motto:There are no strangers here, only assholes who haven't harassed us yet.

--Melissa Maerz

 

Ann Marie Scanlon, Darren Konsor, and Denis Scanlon
DUBLINER PUB
2162 UNIVERSITY AVENUE WEST, ST. PAUL 651.646.5551

Konsor's signature drink: A Jäger shake. I can't tell you what's in it, but it tastes like root beer.

Denis on the Dubliner's history:During prohibition times, this place was a cop shop. Much later they had strippers in here, and all of the windows were blacked out. People used to say this was a rough bar before my dad took over in the '80s, but it wasn't a rough bar--it was a workingman's bar.

Ann Marie's favorite customer:Newcastle Dave is one of our regulars. We call him that because he's from Newcastle. He's a good, friendly guy. Or at least we think he's a good guy--with that accent, we can't understand a word he says.

Ann Marie's most confused customer:These Irish people came in once saying they were all excited to meet me because they just talked to my grandmother back in Ireland. I thought, that's funny, my grandmother's dead.

Konsor on why the live bands at the Dubliner don't like to play "Danny Boy":It's more of an American song than a real Irish song, and I think an Englishman wrote it. But there's an old story about "Danny Boy": A guy walks into the bar and says, "Paddy, will you play that song?" and Paddy says, "No, I won't ever play that song." The next guy comes over and says, "Paddy will you play that song for $400?" and Paddy says, "Let me just tune up first."

Does he speak from experience?None of the bartenders here are musicians. But when it's 4:00 in the morning and we've had too many pints of Guinness, we all think we're singers.

--Melissa Maerz

 

Anita Stinson
UPTOWN BAR AND CAFÉ
3018 HENNEPIN AVENUE SOUTH, MINNEAPOLIS 612.823.4719

Favorite drink: Years ago, my favorite drink would have been anything I couldn't chew. But I haven't had a drink in 15 years. Sometimes I think I'd like to try one of those chocolate martinis--when I was drinking, there was no such thing as a chocolate martini or an apple martini or any of that, only gin--but I won't. Fifteen years is a long time, and I'm not going to ruin it now.

How has the bar changed in the 30 years she's been working there? Not much.

How has the music changed in the 30 years she's been working there?Not at all.

The only bad customer she remembers from those three decades: This man who had already drank too much came in, and as soon as he got inside, I told him to leave. He said, "Are you serious? I just got here!" and I said, "I can see that. I saw you fall out of the cab on the way in."

Why she's never had to physically unseat a customer: I think it has a lot to do with the age group I'm in. People look at me and say, "My mom's back there. If she tells me to get out of the bar, I'd better get out of the bar."

Favorite memory of working at the Uptown:The first night the Replacements played at the Uptown. I was under the impression that my sons [guitarist Bob Stinson and bassist Tommy] just played in a little band that practiced in the basement. But that night, it was so busy that they had to stick me in the back door to make sure no one else was coming in, and I just thought, "Oh my god. I had no idea." Daisies were Bobby's favorite flower, and he brought me a big bunch of them. That was the first time that I knew they'd made it.

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