BEST BARTENDER - 2005
Used to be that a good man was hard to find, and this year we were chagrined to see that old axiom spill into the bartending profession. Our exhaustive--and we mean exhaustive--survey of bars around the metro rarely turned up a drink slinger who even pretended to be cheered by our presence, let alone one who took a drink order promptly. What happened? This town used to be full of great, working-class characters who would just as likely join you on the other side of the bar when their shift was over. Luckily we've still got folks like Danny McDevitt, whose impossibly young-looking face should be familiar to any of the tourists or regular soaks who make up the clientele on the bar side of the New Delhi, a restaurant on Nicollet Avenue just east of Loring Park. (McDevitt has been seen tending bar at Ike's, the steakhouse on Sixth Street, as well.) Any customer who manages a "How ya doin'?" greeting gets McDevitt's scripted response, "Livin' the dream," a throwback to the old Irish barkeep tradition he comes from: one part bitters, two parts tonic, and several parts of whatever the hell you're drinking. Sure, he's quick with a joke, or a light for your smoke (pre-smoking ban), but he's just as adept with the bottle opener he carries on his belt and twirls six-shooter style. The 30-ish McDevitt is relatively young to display such classic skills, but let's hope he sticks around for a long while. McDevitt remembers your name and your drink, and doesn't act like he's one call away from Central Casting toward leaving you high and dry. The lushes in this town desperately need more like him.